Divorce American Style: U.S. Splits Up

The 21st century will witness a dissolution of the current United States into a number of new national territories, joined together in a confederation that I call the American Community. Simultaneously, there will be a strengthening of international institutions, such as the United Nations and the IMF. This does not mean that the resulting American Community will consist of entirely independent nation states. It is far more likely, and certainly advantageous, for the new states to enter into arrangements for common governance on a number of fronts. There are many possible configurations of individual states within the new American community. These could consist of relatively large territories encompassing a number of the current states (the Pacific Northwest is one possibility), existing states that wish to stand on their own (Texas, for example), states that are subdivisions of older units (Southern California), even city-states (New York City).

In a fashion, this process will be something of the reverse that has occurred with the European states that have joined together in the European Community. If anything, Americans may avoid many of the obstacles to political and economic union that exist among the EC countries. Not only is the United States relatively more homogenous culturally than the European countries, but the American Community would be developed against a background of strong central rule, thereby making loss of individual autonomy among the components easier to accomplish on a range of issues that are transnational in nature. Furthermore, there is the lengthy tradition of an American common market, which to some extent already has been extended across international lines to include Mexico and Canada under the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

As the new nations of the American Community come into existence, they likely will resist maintaining extensive defense establishments. Nations with far more modest military establishments than the present United States appear increasingly to have the advantage in world politics. One of the palpable ironies of the century is that the two countries most soundly defeated in the major wars--Germany and Japan--have emerged at the end of the period as greater economic powers than most of the victors. By relying on their former adversaries in war for protection, both have been able to concentrate their productive capacities toward economic development, with spectacular results. In the 21st century, the new American Community will seize upon the economic advantages of demilitarization.--Law Professor Stewart Jay

Petrified by Changing Demographics?

The most significant change will be the changing demographics of American society in general and the Pacific Northwest in particular. If current trends continue, this nation will look much more differently than it does today, with higher numbers of people of color. The European stock will probably be a distinct minority. Are we going to be petrified or hysterical about this inevitability, or do what this region uniquely has the capacity to do, that is, hammer out the contours of a genuinely pluralistic society? I think the jury is still out on this.--Public Affairs Professor Hubert Locke

Women the World Over Gain Economic Independence

In 2088, the campaign for "Women's rights are human rights" has succeeded in making violence against women within the family illegal. Women the world over have gained enough economic independence to leave abusive relations--whether at work or at home. The "Children's rights are human rights" campaign has succeeded in making children's physical, emotional and cognitive development a cornerstone of all laws, policy and budgetary decisions. Every person--woman, man and child--has access to the latest communication tools: computerized phone/mail/video that fit in the palm of the hand and that give access to education, work and friends/family.--Women Studies Professor Angela Ginorio

The U District: People Will Still Need a Place to Interact

Certainly a lot of the existing buildings will be replaced with more substantial structures. The area will have increased density. Hopefully we will have a much better rapid transit system coming through the area. I don't think any of the same stores will be here except possibly the book store and maybe Bartell Drugs. But that is hard to tell. There will be the same types of stores probably to a certain degree but not the same stores.

Hopefully the University will be thriving, will continue to be a great university and the business community and residential community around it will continue to be a desirable place to live and work and shop and dine and go to the movies and all those sorts of things. Even with all the technological advances, people are still going to want to interact with other people and the public places will still certainly play an important part in the future.--Scott Soules, a third-generation Ave. property owner

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