The December 27, 1950 Robesonian (Lumberton, NC) ran an Associated Press article titled, “How Experts Think We’ll Live in 2000 A.D.” The article covered the future of movies, commercial flight, space travel, medicine and women, among many other topics.
Can you believe that by the year 2000 a woman may be president of the United States? Apparently not. The entire piece has been transcribed below, via Paleo-Future.
The last half of the 20th Century dawns with fantastic promises shining through dark clouds.
Amid war and rumors of war, new terrors grip the world, but hopes and dreams of the future prevail.
The year 2000 looms nearer in the accelerating pace of modern life than 1950 ever could have seemed at the beginning of this century.
If the past fortells the future and the present trends point the way, many millions of persons alive today will live to see peace, prosperity, health, longer life, more leisure and greater luxuries than ever were known.
A woman may be President!
These are some of the rewards envisaged for the year 2000 by Associated Press experts looking ahead.
Here is how they size up prospects:
WORLD AFFAIRS: Price of Peace
Students of history in the year 2000 will probably look back on the 20th century as the era of blood and money.
Blood because the earth will still be reeking from the third world war.
Money, representing the material resources of the western world, because it will have outweighed the unfulfilled promises of Russian imperialistic Communism in unifying the world, or at least will be on the way to that end.
More importanly, but bearing on both, will be the recognition that a new world unifying power – the United States – will have taken it splace in the center of international affairs: forging a new “empire,” different from Britain’s, different from Rome’s, indeed not an empire at all in the old sense, but [nevertheless] a new core, a new catalytic force.
This central position of the United States will grow out of its already-demonstrated willingness to base its relations with other nations on a community of interest; out of its capabilities for lending aid to the underdeveloped out of its refusal to divide the world after World War II, into spheres of influence for the benefit of the great powers.
The Third World War – barring such a miracle as has never yet occurred in relations between countries so greatly at odds – will grow out of Russia’s exactly opposite attempts to unify the world by force.
By the year 2000 some sort of world federation idea should have taken real form, with the United States, because of its commercial interest in the development of other lands, because of the blood it will have shed in their behalf, holding a lot of votes.
SCIENCE: A Man-Made Planet
The first man-made star will be circling around the earth by the year 2000.
This star’s light will be like that of the moon, reflected sunshine. It will be visible before sunrise and after sunset. It will circle 400 to 500 miles away from earth, or possibly farther.
This little planet is likely to be the first of the space ships, because there are a lot of practical reasons for building it, regardless of the future of interplanetary travel. It will be the nose of a step-rocket, one which fires in sections, each part dropping off to fall back to earth, until the final piece attains the speed of seven miles a second. At that velocity the end piece will not fall back, but will become a satellite of earth.
Practical uses are numerous. One is a radar beacon. Another to reflect radio signals, for scientific study. Three of these small ships, high enough and evenly spaced around the earth might become relays to serve the entire world with television.
The first ship is unlikely to be manned. But it may get power enough from the sun’s heat to drive electronic equipment indefinitely.
In 2000 we shall be able to fly around the world in a day. We shall be neighbors of everyone else on earth, to whom we wish to be neighborly.
The atomic age should be getting under way. Atomic power will become useful in those areas where coal and oil are expensive and where water power is not available.
ECONOMICS: New Living Standards
The nation’s industrial and agricultural plant will be able to support 300 million persons 50 years from now – twice the present population. Land now unproductive will be made to yield. Science will steadily increase crop production per acre. Technological, industrial and economic advances will give the American people living standards eight times as high as now.
Dr. Harold G. Moulton, president of the Brookings Institution, in his book, “Controlling Factors in Economic Development,” predicts that in the next century the nation’s expenditure for food will be eight times what it is now.
The total expended each year for housing will be 16 times the present outlay; for apparel 20 times more; for health and education 30 times more, and for recreation and travel 33 times more.
Technical advances will be well distributed throughout the economy. For example, a housewife may use an electronic stove and prepare roast beef in less time than it takes to set the table.
Other economists agree with Dr. Moulton. The Twentieth Century Fund, looking ahead only 10 years, forsees an American population of 155 million (a conservative estimate) who, as consumers, will be spending 159 billion dollars annually into additional capital goods, for further expansion of the industrial plant.
WOMEN: For President!
The woman of the year 2000 will be an outsize Diana, anthropologists and beauty experts predict. She will be more than six feet tall, wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler and muscles like a truck driver.
Chances are she will be doing a man’s job, and for this reason will dress to fit her role. Her hair will be cropped short, so as not to get in the way. She probably will wear the most functional clothes in the daytime, go frilly only after dark.
Slacks probably will be her usual workaday costume. These will be of synthetic fiber, treated to keep her warm in winter and cool in summer, admit the beneficial ultra-violet rays and keep out the burning ones. They will be light weight and equipped with pockets for food capsules, which she will eat instead of meat and potatoes.
Her proportions will be perfect, though Amazonian, because science will have perfected a balanced ration of vitamins, proteins and minerals that will produce the maximum bodily efficiency, the minimum of fat.
She will go in for all kinds of sports – probably will compete with men athletes in football, baseball, prizefighting and wrestling.
She’ll be in on all the high-level groups of finance, business and government.
She may even be president.
POPULATION: Growth Will Slow
The population of the United States, which rose from 76,000,000 in 1900 to 130,500,000 in 1950, may not double again in the next half century. U.S. Census Bureau experts doubt that it will reach 300,000,000 by the year 2000, but they are not hazarding predictions that far ahead.
Population may reach 200,000,000 before the end of the century and will keep on increasing well into the 21st century.
While population doubled in the last half century, it more than tripled in the previous 50 years between 1850 and 1900. Between 1800 and 1850, it had more than quadrupled.
Three shifts in U.S. population that have been tremendous in the past 10 years are expected to keep going strong. These are:
Movement of people from farms to town, migration from the center of the country to the border states, particularly the Pacific coast and the South, and the movement of city dwellers to the suburbs. These trends will be further stimulated by industrial production needed for the new, long-range defense program and by farm mechanization.