Orwell said that his vision of the future was not prophecy, but an extrapolation of trends he already saw existing in his time. Reading his essays, like Shooting an Elephant and others, I got the impression he was a kind hearted, very perceptive person. And no one has written a book like 1984, so rich in detail, so bleak in its vision, and yet true to the last drop.
But he did get one thing wrong. He thought the world would be divided into three spheres of influence, constantly at war with each other. We have the constant wars, but not the three spheres of influence. How did he get everything else right and this one aspect wrong?
I think the answer is this. Orwell knew the human heart, knew the realities of his time, but did not know economics. He was a Socialist, which to any Austrian Economist means he had no clue. Thus he did not realize that the world he had constructed contained an internal economic contradiction.
Socialism basically means taking peoples money and spending it. Orwell correctly understood that the money taken would be spent on wars. He did not realize, however, that such a scheme cannot last forever. A Socialist country will run itself into the ground economically, and if it has large scale wars that will happen all the quicker.
Every country in the world after he wrote the book turned Socialist to a large extent. Welfare, unions, regulations, nationalizations of industries, govt meddling, large govt payrolls, all the promises of Socialism which are exactly what impoverishes a country, took root very deeply. The most extreme case was of course Russia, then China.
To make a long story short, they all ran out of money and thus could not afford wars and empires. All but the good ole USA, which retained economic freedom the longest. Thus it had the money to wage constant wars and have an empire, something we have with us to this very day.
So instead of the three superpowers constantly at war which Orwell foresaw, we have one.
What can we take away from all this? I'm pointing out a reason for optimism. The govt has us in constant warfare, and is running a police state that is more repressive daily. It gets worse and worse with no end in sight. All resistance so far has been futile.
But there is a silver lining here. Not content to be a banana republic with a small time dictator who crushes merely his own people, the US govt has as its goal to conquer the world. And that will be their downfall. They have bitten off more than they can chew. There isn't enough money to finance such a scheme, and their economic dictatorship is hastening our bankruptcy.
So that's our hope. Maybe they will steal all our money before they can impose a total Soviet style police state, meaning they won't be able to finance their police state.