Fast Forward

Full Program Description

Fast Forward
New technologies connect the world -- while age-old rivalries threaten the New World Order
Original broadcast: Monday, July 5, 1999 at 9pm
(check local listings for re-broadcast dates)

"The whole world -- it's just shrunk into a very small globe. You can just communicate with anybody around the world."
-- Peter Morris, medical technician and computer transcriber, India

As communication and business cross national boundaries as never before, global politics are increasingly driven by global economics, and the power of free markets and new technologies are transforming people's lives the world over. But the aggressive reach of global capitalism has created new tensions and uncertainties. Who will be the winners and losers in the New World Order? Will the popular advances of this most turbulent century be swept away in the next? Can the world's new democracies and "people power" survive?

Those born today inherit a world which has been fundamentally transformed. Millions can now attain a level of affluence once reserved for the privileged few, and their futures will depend less on gender or class or race and more on individual effort and creativity. The achievements of the "people's" century bequeath to the next generation boundless opportunity, but also foreshadow the limits we are bound to encounter as the scale of human civilization weighs more heavily on our small, blue planet.

As the century ends, the challenges of the next are already hovering on the horizon. With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, former Communist countries became eager to embrace the sense of identity and nationhood that had been suppressed for so long. Over twenty countries have since gained their independence, ushering in a new nationalism that, while admirable, has proven itself to be a significant source of instability and local conflict in the last decade -- and a wellspring of unrest for decades to come.

The people remember: End of the Cold War, arms reduction, global economy, foreign competition, rise of nationalism, reopening of Shanghai Stock Market, civil war in Bosnia, Los Angeles riots (1992), gated communities, computers and the Internet.

Fast Forward is produced and directed by Bill Treharne Jones. Series senior producer is David Espar. Series executive producer for WGBH Boston is Zvi Dor-Ner; Peter Pagnamenta is executive producer for the BBC.

Alfre Woodard narrates.

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