Scientific and Technical Progress in the New Millennium
New millennium, slipped from second to third millennium of the Christian era has resulted reflections and effects on the collective psychology in many countries. However, the arrival of a "new millennium" is not just a chronological convention own calendar of Western culture. It has to do with the so-called Christian era, which starts from the year in which it is assumed that Jesus Christ was born. Other cultures, like Islam, establish a different year for the start of his era and, therefore, according to their calendar are not on the threshold of a new millennium. The beginning of the century, and therefore the third millennium, will take place in a world that is experiencing a rapid transformation in all areas. The changes affect the entire world and brought to a future increasingly prosperous and interconnected, but also threatened by significant challenges and serious problems.
The scientific and technical progress
The progress of science and technology has remained, since the second half of the twentieth century, a phenomenal pace. The results of scientific research and technology have become standard elements in everyday life, to the point that half of the products commonly used by humanity were unknown at the end of World War II in 1945. This process, which some experts have described as scientific and technological revolution has not just begun, and if no important developments will remain a feature of the civilization of the new millennium. There are many areas where progress can be focused to provide: the science of new materials, robotics or food technology may be some of the key. But there are three areas of research that should be highlighted as lines of unstoppable progress of a future: electronics, space exploration and genetic engineering.
Today, computers are involved in a true "information revolution" that affects decisively a society increasingly digitalised. This allows, and will increasingly, a genuine transformation of all aspects of daily life and economy of both the productive and the services. Aerospace research is becoming a reality ever closer conquest of space. It is expected to be established stations inhabited by humans permanently in space. Since announcing tours to outer space and it seems that in less than a century, traveling to the Moon will be within reach of many citizens.
In the field of biological research, the discovery of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in the middle of the twentieth century and the subsequent development of genetic engineering will call in the coming decades, spectacular advances. Many diseases can reach an explanation in the genetic structure of humans and this will facilitate their recovery, will allow the establishment and modification of new organisms by appropriate genetic alteration, which will be a revolution in agriculture and livestock. The new genetics involves undoubtedly unquestionable advantages, but is subject to limits of ethical responsibility in their development.
The communications revolution
The extraordinary progress in communication techniques and information can be compared to the birth of writing or printing. As in these two events, the communications revolution leads to the formation of a particular culture that has, on this occasion, a universal character that will become a sign of the new millennium. The communications revolution makes it possible to see in real time, wars, sports and cultural events, and all kinds of events. Millions of people living in places far apart, can hear a song and a conference simultaneously. Access to information makes it through the Internet or other computer networks, it is possible to quickly obtain more information from any field of science or culture that until a few years ago would have been impossible to imagine. The improvement of these planetary networks, fruit of the so-called information revolution, in a few years will be available in every home access to the major film archives, libraries, newspaper and even retail outlets.
The progress of communications and the rise of information society has led to unprecedented technological race, motivated by the desire to dominate the world of communication. The winner of this race is still America, but all developed countries are investing huge sums in this field.
A Global World
In the last years of the twentieth century has been a number of phenomena in nature "global" that would have been unthinkable a few decades earlier. A set of behaviors, tastes and values are now shared by millions of people belonging to different cultures. The media have reduced the physical distances and different times have made be lived together before the television screens or to a particular consumer product. Globalization is a relatively recent phenomenon and is difficult to estimate its impact on the XXI century. However, there are three areas where their influence is enhanced significantly: the economy, politics and culture. Globalization has its precise scope in the world economy, especially in commercial levels, financial and organizational, where it functions as an efficient way. Economic globalization is an absolute freedom of trade. With it, the production of goods is limited only by physical or geographical advantages, firms are organized in a very flexible way to have better access to global markets while the financial market is decentralized, has a instant escape the influence of governments.
In the field of politics, globalization affects the structure of government and policy decisions. In a global world, the sovereignty of states seems to be fading, they create multiple centers of power and international organizations are significantly increased their importance.
The culture is affected in many ways by the process of globalization. The creation of large symbols are global. There is a tendency to cultural diversity and the triumph of a cosmopolitanism that goes beyond the states themselves. The information has not only locally and is broadcast in a very fast worldwide. Leisure and tourism grow to unimagined levels. The instruments of globalization and cultural connection, such as the Internet (one of the most significant phenomena of the late twentieth century), multiply and forced to devise new ways of learning. Globalization is a new phenomenon, which affects the structure of corporations, governments and cultural formations: it is full of interesting questions and answers are still uncertain. The new millennium will be shaping the new global workplace and perceive.
The problems of the new millennium
However, in this new world with more technologically developed and per capita production capacity of which existed at any other time in history, mankind has to face serious problems, the most prominent of which are as follows. The existence of a dual world: first, the gap between rich and poor, on the other, inequality of wealth within societies of rich countries. Over three quarters of humanity live in countries that have not reached a sufficient level of development and most of its inhabitants can barely survive. These countries are in South America, Asia and Africa. Among them there are great differences: some are in developing countries, but others live in poverty. Hunger, disease and illiteracy are serious social problems affecting most of the inhabitants of these countries. In the world immediately before the start of the third millennium, more than 800 million people go hungry and feed 500 million inadequately. The degenerative diseases caused by malnutrition, continue to rage. In the poorest countries on Earth, is illiterate, on average, 60% of the population. This means that most human beings are deprived of education.
The societies of rich countries are emerging within it a set of serious problems among which social exclusion. In developed societies poverty mainly affects long-term unemployed who no longer collect unemployment insurance. Next to these immigrants (especially those from Third World countries) and women are the protagonists of poverty at the turn of the century. There a more tragic poverty, the poorest of the poor people homeless, marginalized by the drug and many foreign immigrants, the cities of the industrial world are constantly increasing the number of these people.
Paradoxically, a high number of migrants flocking to the borders of rich countries in search of better living conditions. The rise of intolerance and racism in developed countries makes many foreigners who come from countries get poor and marginalized groups, sometimes persecuted.
The collapse in 1991 of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the governments of the countries of the orbit of this has been a new challenge for the XXI century. The former communist countries have seen their economic systems and fall face difficult transitions to different forms of economic and political management. This transformation entails serious social problems that add to the misery to many of its inhabitants.
The serious problem of consumption and drug trafficking is reaching unimaginable heights among younger segments of many developed countries. Along with this there is the fear of new infectious diseases such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which affects so brutal to poor countries, but not only them. These new outbreaks are in addition to other traditional ones such as malaria, which still produces nearly three million deaths each year in African populations, Asian and South American.
The danger of unchecked industrial development, which has already caused serious ecological problems, remains in this new century is a risk that threatens irreparable degradation of the environment. The conflicts are still a common experience in certain parts of the world. Wars between countries or civil wars that may be considered cause suffering and death of many thousands. Among the areas of conflict are ongoing Middle East, the Balkan peninsula and many African countries.
Finally, although democracy has come to be regarded as the "least bad" of political systems, countries that enjoy it are far from meeting the aspirations of its citizens. The criticism that this raises, performed largely by prominent representatives of politics and for many of the militants in the new social movements are based on a desire to redefine the principles of political participation, management of the affairs of State and build more just societies.
No wonder that the new millennium generate sometimes a pessimistic view about the future. However, there is the presence of some reasons for hope: the technological development has allowed the improvement of living conditions of millions of men and women, while democratic rights are spreading and allowing higher levels of equality and freedom in many nations.
But above all, include the gradual increase of human solidarity that arises spontaneously and is necessary in the presence of serious problems affecting the contemporary world. Will the combination of a genuine spirit of solidarity and equal and constant criticism to any excess of power and to the injustice that allow to build a better century. And in this task are determined, fortunately, millions of men and women, many of them activists of so-called NGOs.
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