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Synopsis

History of the Future presents a set of ideas about where we are in history. It focuses on the great majority of people in each society, and shows that life in the modern world will be almost completely different from all previous human experience. The present time is best understood as a period of transition during which one country after another is following along parallel paths from traditional to modern. The process of becoming modern is so powerful that it will have similar effects on all countries. Therefore one can predict the future of countries still undergoing this change by looking at the history of countries which have already completed their transition.

Singer asserts that a "war system" has long existed in which the central concern of nations has been to protect their security by military forces and alliances. He makes the dramatic claim that, because of the inherent nature of modern countries, there will be no war system in any region populated solely by modern countries-as illustrated by the current situation in Western Europe-even though human character will not have improved. However, despite the fact that poverty, tyranny, and war will be largely eliminated, the modern world may be worse for people than the traditional world because most of the things that shaped human character will be obsolete.

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