How has the world changed since 1946? in what ways was Animal Farm prophetic?
One of the most prophetic elements of Orwell's work would have to be how he described the media. The depiction of Squealer and the state controlled media was something shown to be extremely powerful, and something to be extremely feared. In this light, Orwell was ahead of his time in showing what happens to any social or political order when there is not a freedom of the press. Squealer's ability to convince people of Napoleon's authenticity and legitimacy as a leader is one of the most dominant elements in the consolidation of his own power. Without this, there is a greater chance that dissent and greater scrutiny of his power would be present. Yet, Orwell was able to show how the media can play a vital role in the perception of government. Since its publication, we have been able to assess in a more critical way the most effective relationship between government and the media. It is something with which we still struggle today in terms of assessing if coverage of a government is biased or "fair."
In terms of things that are relevant to this book, I think that the major change is that communism is essentially dead. The book is a story about the Russian Revolution and about how the leaders of that revolution (in Orwell's mind) betrayed the principles of their revolution. Since it is about communism and the way the communists lost their way, the death of communism is an important change.
To me, the most prophetic thing about the book is its prediction that the communist leaders (the pigs) would come to be no different than the capitalists (the people). I think that this happened to some extent in the Soviet Union and I see it happening in a much more obvious way in China. China's rulers have completely abandoned communism (as an economic system) and are now essentially an authoritarian government with very little in the way of communist ideals. (I'm not saying this is a bad thing or a good thing...)
I find it interesting that Orwell suggested that this new leader (Napoleon) would bring about the downfall of his government. He created a race of animals that thought they were better than everyone else and they received the best treatment. This symbolizes the upper eschelon of the Communists. Eventually in 1989 Communism in Russia ultimately collapsed.
Since 1946, a much greater awareness of human rights, particularly labor rights has swept much of the world. That's not to say that you won't find sweat shops still, you will. But, in a society today, it is much more difficult for a dictatorial leader to treat people inhumanely. In addition to the United States, the global community is putting pressure on governments to treat people with respect. Certainly, you will find this to be much more prevalent in civilized countries.
George Orwell's "Animal Farm" is a harsh satire on Communist Russia. The Communists had promised the gullible poor people that their form of government would be egalitarian and democratic and that wealth and power would be shared equally by all the citizens! But man is inherently greedy, selfish and power hungry and very soon the ruling elite of Communist Russia proved to be no better than their previous rulers. This is the prophetic note on which the novel ends in Chapter 10:
The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
Similarly, all the commandments have vanished and only on remains:
ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS
This statement in Ch.10 has proved to be prophetic in all forms of government in all the nations of the world today. It is always the corrupt, power hungry and avaricious ruling elite which controls the lives and destinies of its citizens