Do we need to be a bit more Victorian?

victorian1I know life wasn’t great for everyone in the Victorian age.  There was gross poverty, exploitation of children and many other things that we’ve striven hard to put right over the last hundred years or so.  But what they did have, or at least some of them did, was the ultimate ‘can do’ attitude.  In fact I think if they could imagine it they would have a go at making it reality.  These days I’m amazed we get anything done.  In the UK now we agonise over any new big project be it HS2, Cross rail, New airports, Windfarms, etc. etc.  I’m not commenting on the rights or wrongs of these and I know people need a say, evidence has to be weighed.  But we do seem to prevaricate forever.  Then if the decision goes against one group or other it starts again, because ‘the decision is wrong’.  It seems to me that any decision is only the starting point for more discussion.  Apart from anything else I wonder what all this costs?

A few weeks ago I speculated that for us to save the planet we humans needed to leave.  Not so much that if we left in sufficient numbers, we might impact our overburdening population, but more that if we left we might appreciate what we had.   However if that is ever going to happen I think something has to change.  We need more of that Victorian outlook.  I know that with all the issues the world faces there are any number of possible projects here on earth that need funding.  But I would argue both can happen.

Over the last decades more and more wealth is in the hands of fewer and fewer.  Perhaps those people could take a leaf out of some of those Victorian capitalists and look to leave a legacy in the form of helping fund those big projects.  I know Bill and Melinda Gates (and others) have invested something like $50 billion in their foundation aimed making an impact on malaria and other diseases that affect the Developing World.  So what’s stopping other multibillionaires putting their wealth behind those grand projects?  As a species we have always been at our best when pushing boundaries, trying to achieve the seemingly impossible.

As for those Victorians, no-one told them, or the people that backed them, they couldn’t do something .  They seemed to have endless vision.  I wonder if Brunnell, Stevenson or one of the other revolutionary engineers of their day had access to today’s technology what they might achieve.  I’m certain if they were alive now, and that Victorian attitude prevailed, that we would have manned space bases on the Moon and Mars.  Also, those industrialists would be reaping the rewards of the resources that are out there waiting for us.

As always please have your say.

Ian Martyn

Author: Ian Martyn

Science Fiction Writer

3 thoughts on “Do we need to be a bit more Victorian?”

  1. I guess that’s why steampunk is invariably in a Victorian setting – it relies on that age of innovation and lack of restriction in ambition and vision for its inventiveness.

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