BOSTON SKYLINE, 2014
After the second Bush administration’s ongoing regime-change operations in Syria, Iran, Sudan and Libya, grass-roots peace movements swept Islamic countries from Niger to Indonesia. Partly in response to widespread proselytizing by Christian missionaries bearing messages of peace and love, and a consequent 300 million conversions (100 million in 2007 alone), Sunni and Shi’ite clerics ecumenically fused their factions into a global unity movement, and issued a pan-Islamic proclamation of Islam’s unswerving adherence to peace, love, religious tolerance, women’s rights, democracy, and coexistence in the brotherhood of man. Weary of strife, the Islamic world rejoiced.
An unregenerate Osama Bin Laden’s followers deserted en masse, and his chief lieutenant turned him in at CIA’s Beirut bureau for the posted reward of twenty-five billion dollars and a new identity in Montana.
The world immediately fell into a deep peace, and runaway technological development: the Second Pax Americana.
The effect on the Islamic world’s economy was an astonishing seventeen percent annual GDP growth rate, fueled by a freewheeling liberalization of markets and trade policies, and exemplified by an Iraqi consortium’s friendly takeover of General Motors. Meanwhile, Pakistan launched a commercial space shuttle service for the nascent space tourism industry run by the Saudi royal family from exile in Monte Carlo
Overall global GDP growth for 2009 was a record ten percent. Poverty, AIDS and genocide were on the run in Africa, pursued by charitable contributions from all corners of the globe. Mexico and Puerto Rico joined the Union, for a total of 67 states.
The second Clinton administration, awash in budget surpluses, introduced universal health care, cradle to grave, and a generous retirement plan to replace the insolvent social security system. Existing universities thrived, and new ones sprang up to train a new generation of savvy managers.
In Boston, computer, biotech and space industries spurred rapid growth in banking, real estate and insurance, leading to a second major skyline expansion and planning for a decent subway system. Height restrictions were lifted, as sale of air rights by small, old buildings served simultaneously both preservation and development, while the BRA maintained its wise stewardship of the development process, simultaneously serving the public, the Treasury and the aspirations of elected officials. The population of Boston’s urban core grew by nearly half.
Here is a photo of the resultant skyline in 2014:
Just look at that antique cruise ship. It’s the latest thing. They make you wear a tux to dinner.