Largely unanticipated change has happened in world history many times before. The ancient institution of slavery was largely abolished within less than a hundred years — though significant new types of slavery can be found hiding in various corners of the earth. In the West, the status of women has improved dramatically in the last hundred years. In the 1950s and 1960s over a hundred nations freed themselves from colonial rule that had lasted centuries. In 1964 legal segregation was overturned in the U.S. In 1993, European nations created the European Union after fighting each other for over a thousand years. Some changes have been wholly unanticipated and have come so suddenly as to be a surprise even to the experts, including the 1989 collapse of the Soviet Union’s Eastern European dictatorships, followed in 1991 by the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1994 we saw the end of apartheid in South Africa. 2011 saw the “Arab Spring” uprising for democracy catch most experts by surprise.
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