Analyse and comment on the ideas expressed by Bertrand Russel in his essay "The Future of Mankind."This is very interesting question because the essay has valuable information about man but I don't...

Analyse and comment on the ideas expressed by Bertrand Russel in his essay "The Future of Mankind."

This is very interesting question because the essay has valuable information about man but I don't fully understand it. Please give more detail while answering the question.

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In "The Future of Mankind," Russell contemplates the future with respect to two developments: the rise of technology and its role in the future of warfare. Russell proposes that one of three scenarios may occur: 1) The end of human life and perhaps all life on the planet, 2) A reversion to barbarism after a dramatic decrease in the world's population, and 3) The unification of the world under a single government. 

Russell writes the essay in the early stages of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race. He suppose, as many did and still do, that the use of nuclear weapons in a world war (perhaps instigated by a war between Russia and the United States, then the two most powerful countries in the world) could lead to any of the three scenarios he listed. And while each is not desirable, Russell proposes that a unified state, preferably under the guidance of the United States, could be the most propitious option and might avoid another world war. At least with a unification, peace could be enforced by law and if necessary by armed force. What Russell seems to be arguing for here is a more powerful and efficient United Nations type of institution. He asks for "effective laws to control international relations." He believes this is the best way to avoid future "great" wars. 

This essay sparks a lot of controversy because the very idea of a large world state seems too powerful and too oppressive. However, Russell prefers this to allowing wars to continue, thinking that a unified world state is simply in a better position to encourage and, if necessary, to enforce peaceful relations. He believes the main goal of this world state will be to repress war. And with war not being a threat, humans will be more able to focus on solving other problems such as ending poverty. 

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