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Reason Once Tried To Predict the Future. How Did We Do?: New at Reason

Reason's 25th anniversary issue came out in a time of justifiable optimism. Today, prospects look darker.

jamielawton/iStockjamielawton/iStockIt was May 1993. Barely two years earlier, a failed coup attempt had marked the last gasp of Soviet Communism. The Cold War was over. Germany was reunified. The Baltic countries were independent. In the former Yugoslavia, Sarajevo was under siege.

Bill Clinton, a New Democrat who spoke the wonky language of neo-classical economics, was in his first months as president. Ross Perot's upstart candidacy had made the budget deficit a high-profile issue. A free trade treaty with Mexico and Canada was awaiting ratification. The European Union would be born in November.

Later that year, I'd visit Silicon Valley and ask computer whiz Mark S. Miller how Reason should "get on the internet," as our techie friends kept telling us to do. I had a Compu-Serve account. Should we start a Reason bulletin board? Wait, he counseled: "There's this thing called the World Wide Web, and it's going to be big."

A month after Reason's 25th anniversary issue hit newsstands, Marc Andreessen released Mosaic, the first graphical browser. The next year he started Netscape, whose commercial Navigator browser made the web widely accessible. The internet age had arrived, writes Virginia Postrel.

Photo Credit: jamielawton/iStock

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