There are worrying signs we're in a slow slide back to some flavor of feudalism, since some kind of oligarchy has been the default mode of society for most of recorded history. It's only recently we've obtained and continue to seek a thriving middle class. And I have serious concerns that we're blithely slipping past ominous warnings of systemic instability (regulatory capture, dangerously unregulated banks, flash crashes, state-sponsored "cyberwar", etc.) and existential risks (nuclear weapons, CO2 emissions, runaway AI, etc.) for the last few generations we've constantly been on the edge of unprecedented, amazing, rapid change.
So while the events like the Arab Spring haven't exactly brought out ticker-tape parades full of puppies and rainbows, I'm hopeful vast amounts of sunshine, cheap ubiquitous computing power, an end to the war on science, and the instantaneous free flow of new ideas might save us from ourselves...</rambling>
David Brin writes about these issues better than I can: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/