While procrastinating earlier (yes, I admit it), I came across a question from LearnLiberty:

If you could change the outcome of one major world event, what would it be and why?

I had just been thinking about this in light of twentieth-century warfare. Here was my answer:

I was just thinking about this. Someone informs Franz Ferdinand’s driver of the change in plans, so he doesn’t make a wrong turn. Therefore, he doesn’t get shot. Therefore, there’s no World War I. Therefore, there’s no “Economic Consequences of the Peace” creating a void for the Nazis to fill.

Of course, there might have been some equally-unfortunate event that would’ve touched off the whole thing. What would Hari Seldon say?

Indeed, what would Hari Seldon say? Would the twentieth century have been radically different had Franz Ferdinand not been shot, or were there much larger forces at work?

For a neat discussion of psychohistory and Isaac Asimov, here’s a great post by co-blogger Alberto Mingardi.

Usual Disclosure: I’ve been paid to be in LearnLiberty programs, not for blogging about them.