An older optimism about progress gives way the urge to predict the future, and both share a common trait—the refusal to accept responsibility for time. One mode of accepting responsibility for time and resisting the lure of both “Progress” and prediction is promise.
Thought provoking as always! My sense of the march of Modernity to where we are today is that Modernism was an intellectual and artistic movement that was stealthily co-opted by business and political interests to further their own ends. (What David Simpson is pointing out below). The World Fair still exists, but it has (d)evolved into the Consumer Electronics Show. This has changed the definition of futurism from a collective humanistic endeavor into a multitude of private for profit endeavors. Predictive technologies have nothing to offer the people, but are strictly commercial and political plays, so they are corporate futurism, a pseudo construct that is only a pale imitation of real futurism from, say, the Bauhaus or Buckminster Fuller.
The silver lining of the Pandemic is that we are able to see the ourselves and the stars while the lights are metaphorically out. As Leonard Cohen sang, 'there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.' Humanity is not the Economy, and we are present with potential for change.
I haven’t finished your piece, but started watching the New York 1939 clip, and felt almost physically sick. It threw light for me on what CS Lewis was writing so passionately against in That Hideous Strength - the triumph of money, materialism, and the worship of technology and humanity’s “achievements”. And as fascist as anything that came out of Germany and Italy ( or to be fair, the Soviet Union)