7 Jul 2017
Is The World Moving Forward?
The notion of progress is an invention of the Modern Times. In the Ancient World, time was viewed as a cycle and the Middle Ages represented a drop into darkness. Innovation was still thought to be evil in the XVIIth century. The huge progressive wave which was born during the Age of the Enlightenment, far from breaking, continues to promote the development of sciences and techniques and to deeply change the ways of life and modes of production. However, in this age of digital revolution, the Promethean hope has given way to distrust, and even to irrational fears. Prudence very often prevails. Must we fear for our jobs? Are GDP or productivity growth sufficient criteria? Progress in which area, for whom, for what? The exponential onward march of progress is reaching the limitations of nature. Is progress not about saving the planet? How are the gains borne from progress shared? The increasing disparities within some countries are occasionally accompanied by social and political regression. Is men’s and women’s emancipation continuing everywhere? Are the opening of the world and the decrease in inequalities between countries not following the “course of history”? However, even though the cult of progress may be alienating, it would be disastrous to return to a world of darkness.
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