H.G Wells foresaw the world government and scientific control


weaver of the unseen
Aug 21, 2007
In 1901, when Herbert George Wells was around 35 years old, he wrote a book titled Anticipations: Of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human life and Thought. This work contains many of the same themes as his later 1928 book The Open Conspiracy, as he details the rise of the "New Republic", a system of world governance and scientific control.

Anticipations is a no holds barred explanation of Wells' vision of the New Republic. A watered down version of these ideas can be found in The Open Conspiracy, but it is my opinion that Anticipations will give us a much clearer and honest view into what Wells truly foresaw.

When reading Anticipations, it is difficult not to be reminded of later works such as Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. A scientific, ruthless elite gains effective control of society - in the case of H.G. Wells New Republic by proclaiming altruistic motives to the general population - and directs the affairs of mankind. ...

informationliberation - Anticipations of The New Republic: The Vision of H.G. Wells

The question is, can any scifi writer do the same that Wells and Orwell achieved, or do they have to be extraordinary special?
Science fiction is not about prediction. However, Wells was part-futurist, so he can be said to have tried to predict the future. Orwell certainly was no futurist. 1984 is a cautionary fable, not an attempt to describe what Orwell expected life to be like in that year.

Having said that, where's this "scientific, ruthless elite" which has gained "effective control of society"?
Some people says that the current Western governments hold that position. Some people have even said that British isles are closing to become that state Orwell wrote in 1984, (yesterday one geezer asked from me when UK is going to be named as Airstrip One).
There's nothing scientific about the governments of Western nations. And few of them can agree on anything, anyway. As for the UK becoming like 1984... hardly. We've a long way to go before we're a police state. And nuch as I think the US has abused its "special relationship" with the UK, we've hardly mindlessly obeyed them. There have been cases of MI6 refusing to share intelligence with the CIA because they knew the CIA would use it to commit abuses of human rights...
I agree about Wells and the world goverment. He might not have predict it as he thought it but we are seeing something very close to the world goverment and it might become a fact in the near future.

I liked reading Wells and how he saw the future.
Yes 1984 was actually about the Soviet Union circa 1948. Wells actually wrote frequently about a utopian future, and cautioned the dangers this could create if achieved.

It is true in his treatment for "Shape Of Things To Come" Scientist do rally what is left of the world, but it is made clear this is a transistional form, and anti technology elements come into play late in the story.

Many make claims to Wells motives. The reality is, he continued to explore over and over through a variety of themes, Man and the impact of technology on him. Some stories examimed the positve impact, many others argued the pitfalls we could fall into if we allowed technology to dominate man rather than the other way around.

Generally Wells was optimistic about Mans future, he thought some how the human spirt would get through, however he did have his momments, like the 1948 forward to War In The Air
Parts of 1984 were inspired by the Soviet Union, but the nove lwas more about totalitarianism than any specific instance of it.

Wasn't it aviators who rule the world in the The Shape of Things to Come? Admittedly, I've only seen the film...
Looking around, I no more see Wells' "Men like gods" than Verne's "Robur the conqueror"
Nor do I see Huxley's "Brave new world", despite advances in biology, or Orwell's eternal warfare, nor Fahrenheit 451; in fact, the closest I can find of the classics is "Gladiator at law" (Pohl/Kornbluth). (maybe marching morons?)

Predicting the future through SF is recognising someone from a newspaper caricature; the author never builds a complete, balanced society but exaggerates the elements which fit his message.
The other thing to consider is that this particular thread is being conducted over three continents (so far) and everything is being freely discussed. If the web ever goes down for extended periods for suspicious reasons, then it's time to be wary. I don't believe Wells (or anyone from earlier eras for that matter) foresaw this type of free information exchange with this many separate governments on the planet.
I think that depends on who's doing the governing, and how!
I, for one, do not welcome lizard overlords.

I'd like to see regions working first! ASEAN, Non-Arab/non-Toureg Africa, South America, Central America, North America, Europe, Russia and Asian former USSR, Arab North Africa / Turkey / Middle East /Gulf.

I'm currently editing a novel, "The Solar Alliance" which has shadowy "New World Order" types try to leverage viable fusion power, Earth's newly developed starships and some xenophobia all set in play by the inept Alien "first contact" in "The Apprentice's Talent". A sort of Clive Cussler + Alex Rider + Alien First Contact + Le Carré combined I hope. Given the sorts of politicians that put themselves in power and the idiots that democracies elect, I don't want a World Government any time soon. The UN is often worse when it does something "effective". Let's have it mainly as a talking shop for a while longer.
Parts of 1984 were inspired by the Soviet Union, but the nove lwas more about totalitarianism than any specific instance of it.

Wasn't it aviators who rule the world in the The Shape of Things to Come? Admittedly, I've only seen the film...

in that film the aviators were referred to as Wings over the World .:)
I, for one, do not welcome lizard overlords.

I don't want a World Government any time soon. The UN is often worse when it does something "effective". Let's have it mainly as a talking shop for a while longer.

We don't know how to create competent local governments. We will have to see what results from the global civilization crash.

The Gutenberg link sould not have a slash at the end.
The Project Gutenberg eBook of Anticipations, by H. G. Wells.

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Interesting discussion but I don't see us being ruled by a scientific elite. If anything, I see the world moving away from a technocracy, and a "fear" of science among a population who are much less educated in science.

No one has mentioned his other books - "The Time Machine" does make predictions - a world war occurs while the traveller is making his journey so that hardly bodes well for a future world government. "The Sleeper Awakes" - it has been a long time since I read that but I think in the world he woke up in, power was still in the hands of those who held property - something that has been waning for the last few hundred years. Land and property still equal wealth, but land or wealth no longer automatically equals political power.

Ask the man on the London Omnibus what end-of-the-world scenario worries him today and he is less likely to say the Soviet Union or even ISIS, but more likely "Frankenstein" GM crops, disasters at Nuclear power plants, loss of species and soils, global warming - and other things, either that result from a misunderstanding of science, or that actually have environmental technological solutions to them.
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We need a more scientifically rational populace. But it is certainly curious that most people who say they like the SFF genre don't really seem to be science enthusiasts. The real scientists have to decide how to cope with the "dummies". The politicians can do things like cut off funding to thorium research and we don't find out until decades later.


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