THE 21ST CENTURY
As the 21st century rolled in, the old school world was clearly gone for good. Today, the United States is the senior modern democratic government in the world and the newest source of social innovation. In a sense, the U.S. is the U.N.; most of the nations of the world are represented in its population.
If the world can ever find a way to live together, the way to do so would have to start in the United States of America. During the early years of the 21st century, the U.S. has moved closer to fulfilling the democratic dream of its founders as minorities and women are increasingly freer to express themselves and leadership looks more like the pluralistic society it represents. In 2008, the United States elected Barack Obama, the first black president to ever run a majority white nation. He was reelected in 2012.
Business changes with society
At the time of the Revolution in the 1700s, most people lived on farms and produced what they needed in isolation, except for a Sunday trip to church and maybe a little salt, sugar, and coffee from the country store. In the 1800s, canals and railroads stitched the states together. Buying or selling over distances as great as several hundred miles suddenly became possible. People got to know a wider world and formed associations that eventually changed women's rights, slavery, and government.
Large stores like Sears started out sending orders through the mail. With the growth of cities in the 1900s, stores built big buildings. As airplanes and telephones brought the world together, international trade made products cheaper, and world travel allowed people to appreciate both what was different and what was comfortably human about foreign lands.
In the early 2000s, the Internet (2000) brought general store sites like Amazon and the ability to trade pictures and text instantly anywhere in the world. Second-generation sites like Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Facebook allowed direct links to people, products, and ideas that the searcher may not have known even existed before. To the democracy of politics was added the democracy of culture and communication.
Today, because people can download any music for free (legally or otherwise), the economics of the recording industry has changed dramatically. Movies have to go to immediate release before they can be copied and passed around. People longing to communicate churn out even more writing, music, and videos. Computer games allow people to play with folks they've never met. Music players let everybody travel to her own soundtrack.