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How good were Charles Pearson’s predictions
送交者: jingchen 2019年08月17日22:09:43 于 [史地人物] 发送悄悄话

How good were Charles Pearson’s predictions?


In 1893, Charles Pearson published a book that shocked the Western world. It predicted the decline of white race and the rise of colored people, especially Chinese. How precise were his predictions?


In the introduction of his book, he made three specific predictions.


Two centuries hence it may be matter of serious concern to the world if Russia has been displaced by China on the Amoor, if France has not been able to colonise North Africa, or if England is not holding India. (P. 14)


More than a century has passed since he made the above predictions. For the third prediction, England has lost India long ago. Nowadays, people from India subcontinent are largely holding England. For the second prediction, France has not been able to colonize North Africa. North Africa has been able to colonize France. Only the first prediction has not been realized. Why China has done so poorly in the last several decades?






Charles Pearson made great observations about the future. The following are some quotes from his book.


National life and character: A forecast 


Charles Pearson



It will be observed that the most conspicuous instances of strikingly false prophecies are taken from the utterances of statesmen of the highest rank ; while those predictions that have been verified belong as often as not to publicists, or to statesmen, like De Tocqueville, whose philosophy to some extent disqualified them for active politics. The reason, however, is probably not to be sought in any special fitness of abstract politicians for making forecasts of the future but in the fact that statesmen are constantly tempted to make predictions of immediate interest, whereas the power of divination among men seems rather to concern itself with general laws. (P. 7)


Two centuries hence it may be matter of serious concern to the world if Russia has been displaced by China on the Amoor, if France has not been able to colonise North Africa, or if England is not holding India. (P. 14)


Comment: Of the three predictions, two have been fulfilled, far ahead of time. The third one, however, is not fulfilled. This is a measure how well people in different places are doing. 


the English theory of government : to circumscribe the action of the State as much as possible ; to free commerce and production from all legal restrictions ; and to leave every man to shift for himself, with the faintest possible regard for those who fell by the way. (P. 18)


The State employees are an important element of the population ; the State builds railways, founds and maintains schools, tries to regulate the wages and hours of labour, protects native industry, settles the population on the land, and is beginning to organise systems of State insurance. (P. 18)

If towns are to predominate over the country ; if the State is largely to supplant the churches in the direction of life, and parents in the bringing up of the family ; if the new conditions of intellectual work are unfavourable to originality ; if, in a word, the man seems to dwindle as the union of men grows in strength and importance, the result cannot be without interest for those who are on the brink of this future. (p. 26)


What is assumed also is that the gradual decay of faith, the diminished importance of family life, and the loss of original power, as genius is deprived of its noblest fields, will be serious offsets to the material development of life ; (p. 28)


There is another way in which we are the blind instruments of fate for multiplying the races that are now our subjects, and will one day be our rivals. We carry the sanitary science and the engineering skill of Europe into the East. (P 88)


The Englishman is changing faith in private enterprise to faith in State organization. The change is likely to affect the character of the race for vigorous originality. We see the beginning of decadence in the decline of speculative thought, We find a decay of mechanical invention, and even more, that a less hearty welcome is given to it.  With impaired faith in himself, the Englishman will trust more and more to the State, and to State Socialism, which

is likely to be accompanied with a change to the stationary order, population and wealth ceasing to increase. (p. 91)


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