Millennium Project
INTEGRATION OR WHOLE FUTURES
Scenarios Generated and/or Collected by the Millennium Project
  Google
all www millennium-project.org 
All Millennium Project scenarios and the Annotated Scenarios Bibliography are available on the CD-ROM enclosed in the 2006 State of the Future.

Scenarios generated by the Millennium Project:

Global Energy Scenarios -2020

Three Middle East Peace Scenarios (English, Arabic, and Hebrew )

Future S&T Management Policy Issues -- 2025 Global Scenarios

Anti-Terrorism Scenarios

Global Normative Scenario - 2050

Very Long-Range Scenarios - 3000

Global Exploratory Scenarios - 2025


Scenarios collected by the Millennium Project: Annotated Scenarios Bibliography

Click on the following links to view a brief abstract of the scenarios:

Futureland; Nine Stories of an Imminent World Author: Walter Mosley

Four Alternative Global Futures. Author: CIA, Global Futures Project

The Global HIV/AIDS Crisis. Authors: Seth Berkley, Peter Piot, Alan Whiteside

World Forecasts. Author: Prospective 2100

Health Care Innovation in the 21st Century - IAF Scenarios for 2010 - A sequel to the Belmont Vision. Author: Institute for Alternative Futures

Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts. Central Intelligence Agency

The World in 2050. Author: Nick Bostrom

2099: A Eutopia – Prospects for Tomorrow. Author: Yorick Blumenfeld

A View of the Year 3000: A Ranking of the 100 Most Influential  Persons of all Time. Author: Arturo Kukeni   Michal H. Hart

Scenarios to 2020.  The Challenge Network Forum, directed by Dr. Oliver Sparrow

Terrorism and the Threat From Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East – The Problem of Paradigm Shifts. Author: Anthoney H. Cordesman

The World in 2050. The Economist in collaboration with Shell Oil Company

Proteus: Insights from 2020. Compiled by Pamela Krause with portions written by Michael Loescher, Chris Schroeder and Charles W. Thomas

PAHO of the Future: Alternative Scenarios.  Author: Cristina Puentes-Markides

Pathfinding: A Scenario for the Transition 1996 – 2050.  Authors: Willis W. Harman, formerly of the Noetic Institute and Thomas J. Hurley

Creating Global-Local Cultures of Peace. Authors: Linda Groff and Paul Smoker

Is it Simply Boom, Interrupted?

Four Human Resources Development Scenarios of the Future. Author: Joe Willmore

Futurology --- Futures Off the Shelf: What's around the bend?

Global Trends  2015. Report prepared under the direction of the National Intelligence Council (NIC)

Future of Food.  Author: Sohail Inayatullah

Hello 21st Century – A Letter to the Year 2100. Author: Roger Rosenblatt

A Global Good Morning With a Cup of Coffee and a Click, the World Comes to you Each Morning. Author: John R. Moran

The World in 2020: Towards a New Global Age

21 Ideas for the 21st Century. Authors: Peter Coy, Neil Gross

Four Visions of the 21st Century Ahead: Will it be Start Trek, Ecotopia, Big Government or Mad Max? Author: Robert Costanza

Which World?  Three Global Scenarios : Choose the World We Want.  Author: Allen Hammond

Humanity Comes Into It’s Own – The First Truly Human and Global Society. Author: Jesse Ausubel

Technology Spares the Environment.  Cal-Tech Scenarios

Global Scenarios for the Millennium. Author: Hardin Tibbs

The Future of the Global Village. Author: Anthony Mutsaers

Technology and Human Responsibility. Daily Meditations for the Computer-Entranced

2020 Scenarios: Five Nations Emerge as Economic Powers. Author: Kohei Murayama

Islamic Ummah 2025:  A Review of Models, Approaches and Alternative Futures.  Author: Dr. Sohail Inayatullah

Women of the Future:  Alternative Scenarios. Author: Christopher B. Jones

A Message to Us From Future Generations.  Author: Allen Tough

Millennium Scenarios - People Making the Difference

Three Detection Scenarios.  Author: Allen Tough

Strategies for Lunar Economic Development Authority:  Futures Scenario for Utilization of the Moon’s Resources.  Authors: Declan J. O’Donnell and Philip R. Harris

The 2025 Report: A Concise History of the Future, 1975-2025.  Author: Norman Macrae

Art of the Longview. Author: Peter Schwartz

Encyclopedia of the Future. Edited by George Thomas Kurian and Graham T.T. Molitor

Thinking About the Unthinkable in the 1980s. Author: Herman Kahn

An International Planning Dialogue to Help Shape the New Global System. Author: William E. Halal

Building a Win-Win World: Life Beyond Global Economic Warfare.  Author: Hazel Henderson

 A Utopian World.  Author: Morton A. Kaplan.

A Condensed Version of the Next Century.  Author: Jeannie Peterson

The Third Millennium.  A History of the World: AD 2000-3000.  Author: Brian Stableford and David Langford

Forced Options: Social Decisions for the 21st Century. (Second Edition).  Author: Roger Lincoln Shinn

The New World Disorder. Author: Peter Schwartz, president Global Business Network

1997 State of the Future: Implications for Actions Today.  Millennium Project Scenarios Authors: Ted Gordon, Jerome Glenn,  Susan Jette,  Peter Kennedy, Charles Thomas, Pat Maron, The Futures Group International.

The World in 2010: A Moral and Political Portrait. Author: Michael Novak

Five Scenarios for the Year 2000. Author: Franco Ferrarotti

One World, Many Worlds - Struggles for a Just World Peace.  Author: R.B. J. Walker

A Short History of the Future. Author: W. Warren Wagar

The Great Turning: Personal Peace, Global Victory. Authors: Craig Schindler and Gary Lapid

Alternative World Scenarios for Strategic Planning.  Author: Charles W. Taylor

Global Outlook 2000: An Economic, Social, and Environmental Perspective.  The United Nations Publications

 History of the Future: A Chronology.  Authors: Peter Lorie and Sidd Murphy

Future Mind: Artificial Intelligence. Author: Jerome Glenn

The Road to 2015: Profiles of the Future.  Author: John L. Peterson

The State of the World’s Children 1995. Author: James P. Grant

Utopia Lost: The United Nations and World Order.  Author: Rosemary Righter

Millennium - Toward Tomorow’s Society.  Author: Francis Kinsman

The Next Two Hundred Years: A Scenario for America and the World.  Authors: Herman Kahn, William Brown, and Leon Martel, with the assistance of the staff of the Hudson Institute

How to Build Scenarios. Author: Lawrence Wilkerson

The Future of Cultures. Coordinated by Eleonora Masini

Global Scenarios: Geopolitical and Economic Context to the Year 2000. Authors: Michel Godet, Pierre Chapay, and Gerard Comyn

Looking Back From the 21st Century. Author: Hazel Henderson

2025:Scenarios of US and Global Society Reshaped by Science and Technology. Author: Joseph Coates
 



Futureland; Nine Stories of an Imminent World Author: Walter Mosley, 2001, AOL Time Warner Publishing
(Note: Mosley is NY Times best selling author of Blue Light and others).

Story: “The Greatest”, Page 27
In The Greatest, Walter Mosley describes both a feminist political future and a drug culture.
The main character is Fera Jones, a 21 year old female who stands six foot nine inches tall and weighs 260 pounds. Fera is a product of SepFem-G, a now outlawed genetics program based at Smith College.
Fera is a boxer. No one, not man nor woman, has ever beaten her in the ring.  She is a star, especially among the largest spectator group of the fights – women; and a symbol of the strength of women. The FemLeague political party, now the third largest party in Congress and the FemLeague Governor of Massachusetts want her as their “pinup girl.” They believe her alignment will help the party stem corporate power, end starvation, end militias, and increase women power.
In the background of this feminist political future is a drug culture, in which Fera’s father participates. He and many others in this society, are addicted to a legal recreational drug called Pulse. Pulse was the product of students at CalTech, who wanted to create a drug that would warp time in the brain so they could do months of complex research in just one evening. But instead, they created a drug that altered the structure of the pleasure centers of the brain, giving temporarily consciousness control over dreams, taking the users into complex fantasies, passionate love affairs, musical performances and other sensual experiences that would for days and even weeks.
Pulse was legal in this society, approved by the government and even price controlled. Pulse parlors were everywhere; and the economy was stimulated by the money spent by its users.
However, after 4-5 uses of the drug, users were addicted for life. Without regular ingestion, the brain would collapse in on itself and death was assured. “Pulsedeath” was common, at least among the average and poor. Only the rich could afford to use it regularly; and even they eventually died.
In this scenario, Fera agrees to the biggest fight of her career, one against the male heavyweight champ. Fera will get $10 billion to fight and $10 billion if she wins from the Luna Land theme park for saying she’ll go to Luna Land after the fight. She takes both – to help keep her father on Pulse.

Top of the page

Four Alternative Global Futures. Author: CIA, Global Futures Project
From www.futurestudies.co.uk/predictions

The following scenarios were developed by the (US) CIA's Global Futures Project and describe four alternative futures related to the effects of globalization through the year 2015. These alternative futures are: Inclusive Globalization; Pernicious Globalization; Regional Competition; and Post Polar World.

Scenario One: Inclusive Globalization  In this scenario, the majority of the world’s population is reaping benefits from globalization. Policy consensus regarding economic liberalization has resulted in a robust global economy where wealth is widely distributed; technology has been effectively applied to mitigate some problems in the developing countries; and governance is effective, both nationally and internationally. Many governmental functions have been completely or partially privatized. “Global co-operation intensifies on many issues through a variety of international arrangements.” Meanwhile, “a minority of the world's people - in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and the Andean region - do not benefit from these positive changes, and internal conflicts persist in and around those countries left behind.”

Scenario Two: Pernicious Globalization  In this scenario, the majority of the world's population is failing to benefit from globalization. The global economy is divided: growth continues in developed countries; at the same time, many developing countries see low or negative per capita growth, resulting in a growing gap with the developed world; and the illicit economy grows dramatically. Technology has failed to help mitigate the problems of the developing world. The poor migrate, resulting in tensions between states.  “Governance and political leadership are weak at both the national and international levels. Internal conflicts increase, fuelled by frustrated expectations, inequities, and heightened communal tensions; WMD proliferate and are used in at least one internal conflict.”

Scenario Three: Regional Competition  In scenario three, regional identities “increase in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, driven by growing political resistance in Europe and East Asia to US global preponderance and US-driven globalization.”  However, regional economic integration increases, “resulting in both fairly high levels of economic growth and rising regional competition.” Technology has been unevenly diffused. In developed and emerging nations, governance thrives; regional institutions take on more responsibilities. “Internal conflicts increase in and around other countries left behind.”

Scenario Four: Post-Polar World  In the Post Polar World, the US economy stagnates. Economic and political tensions between the US and Europe grow and the relationship between the two deteriorates. Crises in governance in Latin America, particularly Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and Panama, create instability in the area. Indonesia experiences internal crises and instability as well, although most of Asia is stable and prosperous. Korea’s unification proceeds, with the support of China and Japan. Eventually, however, rivalries among the Asian powers grow, triggering increased military activities. “Regional and global institutions prove irrelevant to the evolving conflict situation in Asia, as China issues an ultimatum to Japan to dismantle its nuclear program and Japan—invoking its bilateral treaty with the US—calls for US reengagement.” Countries outside of Asia, the Americas, and Europe are marginalized, having no sources of political or financial support.

Summary:
 “In all but the first scenario, globalization does not create widespread global cooperation. Rather, in the second scenario, globalization's negative effects promote extensive dislocation and conflict, while in the third and fourth, they spur regionalism.

“In all four scenarios, countries negatively affected by population growth, resource scarcities and bad governance, fail to benefit from globalization, are prone to internal conflicts, and risk state failure.

“In all four scenarios, the effectiveness of national, regional, and international governance and at least moderate but steady economic growth are crucial.

“In all four scenarios, US global influence wanes.”

Top of the page

The Global HIV/AIDS Crisis. Authors: Seth Berkley, Peter Piot, Alan Whiteside, World Economic Forum, Annual Meeting, 2003
http://www.weforum.org/pdf/Initiatives/GHI_2003_HIVAIDS_Scenario.pdf

In this paper, the authors provide best and worse case scenarios related to the AIDS epidemic and its impact on sufferers, societies, and economies.

Best-Case Scenario: Fighting Back, Saving Lives “In a best-case scenario, the rich countries give 0.7% of their GDP to development, coupled with debt relief. At the same time there is a renewed focus on research and development to produce new vaccines and more effective drugs.

“In the countries most affected by the disease, governments, business and civil society unite to build the infrastructure to care for millions living with HIV. They provide vaccines to prevent its further spread. Fewer people contract AIDS and live with the disease, and they have greater support.

*Africa: countries with infections rates of 30%-40% in 2002 fall to 15% by 2010 and 5% by 2020.
*Eastern Europe and Central Asia: infection rates reach 2%-3% by 2010 and then fall to 0.5% by 2020.
*Asia: India’s national prevalence never reaches 1% because prevention efforts keep the epidemic at bay. China has regional outbreaks but national prevalence never reaches 0.5%.

“By 2020, the epidemic still isn’t over. The number of people infected in Southern Africa, Russia, India and China continues to rise but at a slower rate. Notably, India and China introduce massive new programmes of sex education for school children and economic migrants. The fight against AIDS actually empowers women and brings their voices to bear on a range of social issues. More young people decide to postpone sex, stick to one partner and are tested together before having unprotected sex. The social stigma of AIDS is lifted.

“There are still enormous pressures on the education and health systems and a quarter to one third of skilled and educated workers have died. Despite some tough years, however, significant financial and technical cooperation from richer countries ensure that governments survive.

“Medical breakthroughs lead to the development of a vaccine by 2010 and there is a global effort to get the vaccine and AIDS drugs to the people who need them. A microbicide gel that protects women during sex is an important breakthrough. Activists continue to campaign for lower prices, bulk purchasing and tiered pricing. However, they work closely with industry to ensure that incentives for research remain.

“AIDS is seen to be everybody’s problem, although it directly affects fewer people. There is a sea change when the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria gives money to major companies and civil society to run joint HIV programmes in their local communities. Governments support broad corporate initiatives in HIV/AIDS through tax breaks and training. This is a world where strong leadership and growing cooperation between governments, business and society have begun to turn the tide. An end in the epidemic is in sight.”

Worst-Case Scenario: A World in Crisis  “In the worst-case scenario, some leaders continue to deny the threat of AIDS. Instead of tackling the epidemic, time and effort is wasted arguing over the number of infected people. At the same time HIV remains a taboo in some countries, preventing mass education and prevention.

“By 2020, Africa has been decimated by the disease. Many international businesses have left Southern Africa because the lack of educated staff makes hiring and training too expensive. The same will soon be true of parts of Africa. There are widespread food shortages because of scarce labour and a shift to subsistence farming for immediate survival.

*Africa: by 2020, around 60-70 million people are dead. In the most affected countries, 15%-30% of workers are HIV positive and GDP is 30% lower than predicted.
*Eastern Europe and Central Asia: the countries of the former Soviet Union have an adult prevalence of between 1% and 5%.
*Asia: the continent surpasses Africa as the region with the most HIV/AIDS. More then 30 million people have died.

“So many teachers have fallen victim to AIDS that he schools have been forced to close. Orphaned children with few options join the many local conflicts.

“Eastern Europe and Central Asia are also suffering a serious HIV epidemic with tuberculosis raging alongside AIDS. Major businesses have begun to leave the region and recession, mass unemployment and disintegrating public services mean that intravenous drug use – often linked to prostitution – proliferates.

“Asia also faces an AIDS disaster. In China and India authorities view the dying as “surplus” and feel that others can take their place in the economy. International businesses still invest in the region with confidence.

“The Chinese and Indian governments pride themselves on keeping the overall prevalence rate below other countries but become ever more heavy handed to control the epidemic. Sex workers, drug users and HIV sufferers can all expect periods of detention. Almost 5% of migrant workers are infected, bringing the next wave of the epidemic with them.

“The stigma of HIV deepens globally. India’s middle class, for example, sees AIDS as a problem of the poor. Elsewhere, infected people and their families are shunned, breeding increasing ignorance and fuelling the virus’ spread.

“In the West, infected people live almost normal lives on long term treatment. Vaccines protect the rest of the population. However, in other parts of the world unmonitored and uncontrolled use of drugs breeds worse strains of HIV. Drug companies, fearful of losing intellectual property protection, reduce investment in new treatments.

“This is a world of increasing tensions, social divisions, inequity and fear. Some governments have failed to learn the lessons of earlier epidemics in other countries. Millions of people expect to contract AIDS, to see their children die and to die themselves in their 30s and 40s.”

Top of the page

World Forecasts. Author: Prospective 2100
http://2100.org

(Author note:  Prospective 2100 is a not for profit organization of international thinkers who have come together to “promote future studies for useful decision making.”)

Members of Prospective 2100, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the task of promoting “future studies for useful decision making” has constructed a series of global scenarios and forecasts through 2100. These scenarios, summarized below, are: Show Business Society (1980-2020); Education Society (2020-2060); and Creation Society (2060-2100).

Show Business Society, 1980-2020: In this scenario, the world is composed of “irascible ethnic groups, attached to past values and making a fetish out of the possession of their territory or their privileged position.” By this time, fundamentalism in Lebanon, Yugoslavia, India, central Asia and Africa has grown, ethnic persecutions are continuing, and Asia is rearming. Racial conflicts occur. Belief in the power of force is still widespread and reinforced by the temporary successes of warlords and mafias. Despair is evident as millions look for work but there are fewer and fewer entrepreneurs to employ them.

“Major entrepreneurs buy out television stations and money and credibility become entangled.” Stock markets are systemically linked, moving billions of dollars around the world on sheer speculation. Meanwhile, the weather is increasingly unpredictable

Education Society, 2020-2060: By this time, over half of the world’s population is living in urban settings and the atmosphere in these huge cities, whether Los Angeles, Mexico City, Bombay or Algiers, is permeated with feelings of insecurity. Over a billion people have been driven off their land, unable to compete with industrialized agriculture. Children, unable to farm as their families have always done, wander the streets, with no schooling available and no means to incorporate themselves into the modern, technological world.

At this time, Eastern Europe, China and India are in a frantic search for profit. The commitment, however, to a liberal economy has turned out to be “no more than a cover for mafias. Power has remained in the same hands but transfigured...” The world is no longer divided geographically into rich and poor countries; now the rich and poor co- exist within meters of each other, but not comfortably. The market for bombproof devices, locks and video surveillance flourishes as it has never before.

The education society emerges, using mental training software and compulsory conditioning tests to shape minds and monitor daily activities. Social control becomes highly regulated, supported by the appropriate technology. "Cities of education are constructed in isolated areas with the aim of integrating the "human animal" into its scientific and technical environment.”

Creation Society, 2060-2100: In this scenario, the dangers of social upheaval have receded. People are rejecting the restrictions of the past, and revealing themselves creatively. They pursue freedom, and prize independence and universality. Quality of life, self sufficiency, creativity, and the creation of new environments are seen as universal values. As a result, people in this society have created living structures and communities that are small, transportable, and independent. They can be set up anywhere – in the deserts, on ice floes, at the bottom of the ocean, or on hollow artificial planets.

Top of the page

Health Care Innovation in the 21st Century - IAF Scenarios for 2010 - A sequel to the Belmont Vision. Author: Institute for Alternative Futures

http://www.altfutures.com/pubs/healthinvscenario.pdf

 These scenarios, created by the Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF) explore the possible futures of health care in the year 2010.

Scenario 1) Steady Innovation Focused on Outcomes:  “Accountability and the search for cost-effective care frame the reward structure for pursuing health care innovation.  While some major breakthroughs occur, the greatest advances are in terms of disease management and the budding partnerships between managed care providers and R&D organizers.”

Scenario 2) Innovation Stagnates: “The escalating costs of discovery and development – coupled with federal funding retrenchment, price controls on drugs and devices, sluggish regulatory approval processes, health care provider-initiated constraints on using expensive new therapeutics, and the failure of biotechnology to produce appropriate breakthroughs – has led to an even riskier R&D environment.  There is only marginal health care innovation, and many players drop out.”

Scenario 3) Paradigm Shifts Accelerate Innovation:  New genetic knowledge enables biochemical customization of therapies.  Concurrently, enhanced therapeutic and behavioral tools are being developed in partnerships that include leading entertainment and information companies.  Development costs have been lowered and approvals accelerated due to biomonitoring, more effective health care provider involvement and dramatic changes in regulatory processes.  Nurses and other health care practitioners can access specialist knowledge through expert systems and thereby perform many functions and services more cost effectively than physicians.”

Scenario 4) Innovation That Moves Beyond Treating Individuals:  The line between innovation and care delivery has blurred as new models provide ways to move upstream on many chronic diseases.  Alternative therapies and community approaches are regularly integrated into therapeutic decision-making.  The public actively participates in health care innovation, setting priorities for public research dollars and volunteering for clinical trials.

Top of the page

Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts. Central Intelligence Agency
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/globaltrends2015/index.html

In September-October 1999, the NIC initiated work on Global Trends 2015 by cosponsoring with Department of State/INR and CIA's Global Futures Project two unclassified workshops on “Alternative Global Futures: 2000-2015.”  The first workshop identified major factors and events that would drive global change including demography, natural resources, science and technology, the global economy, governance, social/cultural identities, and conflict; the second workshop developed four alternative global futures in which these drivers would interact in different ways through 2015.

 Scenario 1) Inclusive Globalization: “A virtuous circle develops among technology, economic growth, demographic factors, and effective governance, which enables a majority of the world's people to benefit from globalization. Technological development and diffusion – in some cases triggered by severe environmental or health crises – are utilized to grapple effectively with some problems of the developing world. Robust global economic growth – spurred y a strong policy consensus on economic liberalization – diffuses wealth widely and mitigates many demographic and resource problems. Governance is effective at both the national and international levels. In many countries, the state's role shrinks, as its functions are privatized or performed by public-private partnerships, while global cooperation intensifies on many issues through a variety of international arrangements. Conflict is minimal within and among states benefiting from globalization. A minority of the world's people – in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and the Andean region – do not benefit from these positive changes, and internal conflicts persist in and around those countries left behind.”

Scenario 2) Pernicious Globalization: “Global elites thrive, but the majority of the world's population fails to benefit from globalization. Population growth and resource scarcities place heavy burdens on many developing countries, and migration becomes a major source of interstate tension. Technologies not only fail to address the problems of developing countries but also are exploited by negative and illicit networks and incorporated into destabilizing weapons. The global economy splits into three: growth continues in developed countries; many developing countries experience low or negative per capita growth, resulting in a growing gap with the developed world; and the illicit economy grows dramatically. Governance and political leadership are weak at both the national and international levels. Internal conflicts increase, fueled by frustrated expectations, inequities, and heightened communal tensions; WMD proliferate and are used in at least one internal conflict.”

Scenario 3) Regional Competition: “Regional identities sharpen in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, driven by growing political resistance in Europe and East Asia to US global preponderance and US-driven globalization and each region's increasing preoccupation with its own economic and political priorities. There is an uneven diffusion of technologies, reflecting differing regional concepts of intellectual property and attitudes towards biotechnology. Regional economic integration in trade and finance increases, resulting in both fairly high levels of economic growth and rising regional competition. Both the state and institutions of regional governance thrive in major developed and emerging market countries, as governments recognize the need to resolve pressing regional problems and shift responsibilities from global to regional institutions. Given the preoccupation of the three major regions with their own concerns, countries outside these regions in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia have few places to turn for resources or political support. Military conflict among and within the three major regions does not materialize, but internal conflicts increase in and around other countries left behind.”

Scenario 4) Scenario Four: Post-Polar World: “US domestic preoccupation increases as the US economy slows, then stagnates. Economic and political tensions with Europe grow, the US-European alliance deteriorates as the United States withdraws its troops, and Europe turns inward, relying on its own regional institutions. At the same time, national governance crises create instability in Latin America… forcing the United States to concentrate on the region. Indonesia also faces internal crisis and risks disintegration, prompting China to provide the bulk of an ad hoc peacekeeping force. Otherwise, Asia is generally prosperous and stable, permitting the United States to focus elsewhere. Korea's normalization and de facto unification proceed, China and Japan provide the bulk of external financial support for Korean unification, and the United States begins withdrawing its troops from Korea and Japan. Over time, these geostrategic shifts ignite longstanding national rivalries among the Asian powers, triggering increased military preparations and hitherto dormant or covert WMD programs. Regional and global institutions prove irrelevant to the evolving conflict situation in Asia, as China issues an ultimatum to Japan to dismantle its nuclear program and Japan calls for US reengagement in Asia under adverse circumstances at the brink of a major war. Given the priorities of Asia, the Americas, and Europe, countries outside these regions are marginalized, with virtually no sources of political or financial support.

Top of the page

The World in 2050. Author: Nick Bostrom
www.nickbostrom.com/2050/world.html

Structured as an interview broadcast by “BBC Virtual Reality” in August 2050, this scenario explores some of the social, political, economic and technological issues that the world may have to face in the mid-21st century.  Although the scenario covers a range of issues including virtual reality, cryonics and global warming, a central theme is the need to regulate molecular nanotechnology because of its immense abuse potential, and the resulting institution of an ever-present global surveillance network.  Scenario excerpt:  “It’s amazing how quickly people have gotten used to the idea that everything they do can now be known by anybody interested in finding out.  When you are going on a date with someone, you can check out their previous relationships, and so on.  If you had suggested this to someone fifty years ago, they’d have been horrified!  They would probably have referred to it as Brave New World, or Orwell’s 1984, with Big Brother watching you all the time.  But it’s like a nudist colony: when every
body is naked, the embarrassment quickly wears off.  So we had all these little secrets that we thought were so important, little vices.  But when we see that everybody has similar little vices, our standards adapt and we become more tolerant.”

Top of the page

2099: A Eutopia – Prospects for Tomorrow. Author: Yorick Blumenfeld.  Published by Thames & Hudson (January, 2000).

The author presents a glimpse into the daily life of a thriving inner-city community  in the year 2099.   A better world is imagined in remarkable detail -- from a macro-view to a city-view; then, to the point-of- view of the average citizen.  Blumenfeld writes intimate stories that are not only detailed and creative, but highly spiritual.  In the following excerpt from the book, 2099 sees the illegitimacy of money-driven markets, once held highly valued in the capitalist days of the early 21st Century. Special note: this book is one of the last of the few utopian books of the twentieth century, and, by presenting a broad perspective on one possible future, a series, known as “Proepects for Tomorrow” will be developed.  This book encourages thinking along the level of a myriad of plausible futures in the next millennium.

Scenario: 2099: A Eutopia-Prospects for Tomorrow (excerpt from the book):    “Since the worldwide ban on most unauthorized travel in 2061 and the regionalizaton of what used to be the infoweb in 2070, we know much less about each other than we used to a hundred years ago –even with our implanted cranial connex.  So here I am in england,. Angry. Even frightened. I can’t pretend I’m computerly objective in this alian world, but over the next three weeks – in a series of a dozen public service encrypts on NAIntranet—I’m going to try to tell it to you as it is, issued by issue, I hope I’ll come out of it alive an mentally sound.  Communicarianism, I’m told, can be contagious.   Yes, both men and women swing their hips provocatively here though as yet, they’re not afflicted by a non-identity syndrome.  Lofe is radically diff. I’ve come to give you something more than a panoramic view of the first community in the inner city to have been established almost 30 years ago.  Standing on historic Mousehold Health. I can see communities as far as the eye can reach. Right below me is Yare, the community Right below me is Yare, the community from which I’m going ot transmit my log-ins.    How are we going to rate Yare after one generation?  I Is it a winner or is it simply a “no fun”?  Have drugs here replavced vanilla?> It’s important to determine whether the people who live I n this city are free or whether they have somehow been corralled by an ideal. Are they bent on moral uplift like so many of our proto-Christian groups in NorAm? Is t really a community of programmed pleasures, regulated joys and standardized punishments ordained by a Machine Intelligence?    Certainly xpectations were stratospheric when a hundred communities of about 1,800 members each were formed out of the historic city of Norwich in 2070. These units were modeled on some of the rural communes which had been successfully established two decades earlier. The Euro MI unit had carefully drawn the boundaries of each of these communities. It had listed who was to join in with who, what they were to do, and practically who was to sleep with who.  This caused something of a local revolution, but all of it was patiently xplained I papers, videos, and meetings by the perspic MI. People were promised no hassles, no shoving, no crime. In one word: “civility”. “

Top of the page

A View of the Year 3000: A Ranking of the 100 Most Influential  Persons of all Time. Author: Arturo Kukeni   Michal H. Hart. Poseidon Press. 1999. The Futurist  March-April 2000.

In 1978, Michael H.  Hart, a college professor with degrees in mathematics, astronomy, physics, computer science, and law, published a book in which he ranked the 100 most influential persons of all time in descending order.   The author is currently retired and is now a full time writer whose latest book, A View from the Year 3000  updates his former top 100 rankings with substitutions and additions from the twenty-first century and after.
Scenario: Who’s Who Tomorrow.  (Excerpt from the book)   “ Writing from the vantage point of an extra thousand years, the book's nominal author--Arturo Kukeni, Hart's "descendant" born in 2801--retains only 35 names from Hart's original list--and most of these move well down in rank. More than half of the year 3000's Top 100 are individuals born in the twenty-first century or later--and their achievements are certainly impressive. A few examples, and their rankings:   #1 Chan Po-Yao (2213-living), who gave quasi-immortality to humans by developing a practical way to replace aging brain cells while retaining memory and personality.   #4 Rukmini Gopal (2370-living), who permanently ended the war between the sexes when she perfected easy, safe, and reversible sex-change operations. By 3000, most humans change back and forth between male and female freely.   #13 Miguel Carranza (2274-2413), statesman who shaped the United World Federation, the first true world government.   #26 John J. Maxwell (2076-2163) founder of the first O'Neill space colony. (By the year 3000, more than half the human race lives off-planet.)  #96 Roberto Ferruchio (2047-2086 and 2240-living), game designer who invented an elaborate team sport combining elements of problem solving, wilderness survival, and mock combat. (Stricken with incurable cancer, Ferruchio spent 154 years in cryogenic suspension until medical science advanced to the point where he could be revived and cured--hence the two sets of life dates.)”

Top of the page

Scenarios to 2020.  The Challenge Network Forum, directed by Dr. Oliver Sparrow.

The Challenge Network has been involved with the design and facilitation of strategy  processes for many years. In addition, this organization addresses issues  necessitating  foresight and scenario formation for the public and private sector.  The following scenarios look to the year 2020, based on technological change, quantitative forecasts from authoritative sources, demographics, political structures; and, uniquely framing issues surrounding resource shortages.

Scenario One:  Pushing the Edge.  “The explosive growth of knowledge, of trained people and of connectivity create a period in which all of the aspirations expressed by capital markets in the Nineties are fulfilled. A glow of prosperity settles over, in particular, the USA. Science performs astonishing feats, and commerce is not far behind in making a technical reality of this potential. There is a view that government is a matter of competent administration, that most issues will settle themselves if exposed to a proper incentive structure and the fashion is, therefore, increasingly laisse faire. However, by 2010, cracks are appearing in this structure. They stem from two centres.  One of these is the European societies with high levels of elderly people, notably those with poor pension provisions, such as Italy, Austria, Germany and France. Japan has similar problems and not dissimilar responses. Here, the golden glow of economic success is far from evenly distributed. The prevalent view of technological astonishment is highly negative. The politics of these regions are polarised between those who see the need to accommodate to fast change and a rejectionist, traditionalist group. These nations find themselves increasingly out of step with the cutting edge nations.  The second set of crack stem from the inadequacy of institutions to deal with what is being thrust upon them. Regulation is put in place to deal with complex, interconnected issues which appears in retrospect to have been increasing clumsy and, where appropriate, rapidly superseded. Litigation increases, a plethora of complex regulation is enacted, growth slows.  In the period after 2010, the major powers find themselves both at odds with each other politically and unable to cope with the stresses of change that are generated internally. Little attention is given to the emergent world and the poor world, save as partners in commerce. International institutions do not develop. However, the use of uncontained but dangerous technologies, the theft of intellectual property - the bane of the knowledge economy - and remote criminality all make the world a difficult place; and the widespread possession of offensive software, biological and other capabilities make it a dangerous one. Environmental issues are both the cause of much distress and, in places of conflict, but also something which the machinery is inadequate to address in an international arena.”

Scenario Two: Renewed Foundations  “Capital market expectations are thwarted in the period after 2000 and growth is historically slow. The problem that lies behind this depression is twofold. The 'old' economy is in trouble. In some areas, a flood of low cost goods emanating from the low wage areas have commoditised whole industries. Process innovations that are made to heighten efficiency seem to be exported very swiftly. Productivity drives throw the least able into direct competition with low wage areas.  The 'new' industries are, however, failing to deliver on their promise. An innovative treadmill generates new products but not much profit, and incidentally take all firms into what the public see as alarming areas.  The second source of failure is in the public sector. States are consuming in the order of half of all added value, and directing four-fifths of this into welfare. The squeeze lessens investment in the public sector.  An elderly population views all of this with alarm. Their assets are not growing, state-funded systems of age care are evidently failing and politicians seem able to do nothing about this. Companies seem unable to find their way out of the impasse, yet they engage in frightening activities, many of them doing so in the poor nations, away from regulatory oversight. Activism growth through networks and across nations, demanding action.  Some nations are doing rather well for themselves. Despite modest demographic problems, these are building their economies from skilled people doing skilled jobs, operating in collaboration across all manner of boundaries.  This approach plays poorly with the nations which have evolved a more confrontational, impersonal or pragmatic style. Nevertheless, economic figures show that this approach is proving effective. The parallel success of knowledge management techniques in some parts of commerce is noted. It is seen that the approach can be lifted entire and placed into the public domain. Once the implications of this linkage are understood, the application of these techniques spreads quickly. The successes which are scored are impressive. A cadre of several hundred million practitioners develops across the industrial world, inter-linked and sharing a common viewpoint on the world.  This is, however, a world in which relatively few feel that they have a 'place'. Communities have faded. Austere and impersonal systems confront people whenever they touch the public sector, and do so particularly in areas of claimancy and dependency. By contrast, a rich and focused 'alternative' exists in the electronic media, where interest groups and enthusiasms emerge and blossom. Mass activism, activism as a hobby and hobby politics grow as an educated cadre vents its frustrations. It finds an ideal structure with which to interact in the network of knowledge managing expertise to which we have already referred. What was once difficult, therefore, can become knotted into tangled thickets of the impossible. Complexity management demands delegation, collaboration, networks, knowledge, a systems view, plans, regulatory permissions, mutual consultation. All of this essential equipment, however, creates openings which are exploited by activism. The clean, rational world of expert knowledge-users is increasing required to justify itself. Getting permission to act is central to success in a world where veto can block any step in a fragile chain of regulation and legal process.  Where this is adequately managed, however, all see that this is micro-democracy at work. Its expansion offers positive engagement to many and excludes only those with nothing useful to say. It has power, in that the strategic insights which it tables define the options which will be followed. It ties together industry and consumer, state and the private sector, knowledge holders and knowledge users. Most of all, it generates a means to break away from commoditisation, creating a skill pool that only the industrial nations can deploy. The process of full bottom-up integration is, however, by no means complete in every industrial country by 2020. Some nations have taken huge strides, whilst others - still battling demographics and state deficits, still suffering rejectionist fits from their disappointed elderly - have hardly taken the first steps.”

Top of the page

Terrorism and the Threat From Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East – The Problem of Paradigm Shifts. Author: Anthoney H. Cordesman, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of Middle East Studies Program, CSIS, Washington, DC.

This interesting and detailed paper outlines the vast literature on terrorist activity. Cordesman makes a nice distinction between “alarmist” reaction  verses the more proactive stance of those given to solve real world problems to combat terrorism over the long view.  Admittedly, before 9/11, politicians and officials tended to ignore warnings about terrorism; but post 9/11 brings a whole new world of vulnerability and the realization that “bureaucracies” aren’t designed to effectively thwart terrorism.  Amazingly, 9/11 was a very low-tech terrorist attack that used the hand of US “bureaucracy” as the most effective weapon.  Cordesman writes a  scenario of  “high tech” terrorism with less bureaucracy involved,  to illustrate the complex vulnerabilities of a nation’s porous borders. It was written in 1996.

Scenario: "Dr. Ben No" and "Professor Abu Moriarity" At Work in the Middle East.    “A radiological power is introduced into the air conditioning systems of Cairo's high-rise tourist hotels. Symptoms are only detected over days or weeks or public warning is given several weeks later. The authorities detect the presence of such a power, but cannot estimate its long-term lethality and have no precedents for decontamination. Tourism collapses, and the hotels eventually have to be torn down and rebuilt.   -   Parts for a crude gun-type nuclear device are smuggled into Israel or bought in the market place. The device is built in a medium sized commercial truck. A physics student reading the US Department of Defense weapons effect manual maps Tel Aviv to maximize fall out effects in an area filled with buildings with heavy metals and waits for a wind maximizing the fall out impact. The bomb explodes with a yield of only 8 kilotons, but with an extremely high level of radiation. Immediate casualties are limited but the long-term death rate mounts steadily with time. Peace becomes impossible and security measures become Draconian. Immigration halts and emigration reaches crisis proportions. Israel as such ceases to exist. -  Several workers move drums labeled as cleaning agents into a large shopping mall, large public facility, subway, train station, or airport. They dress as cleaners and are wearing what appear to be commercial dust filters or have taken the antidote for the agent they will use. They mix the feedstocks for a persistent chemical agent at the site during a peak traffic period. Large scale casualties result, and Draconian security measures become necessary on a national level. A series of small attacks using similar "binary" agents virtually paralyze the economy, and detection is impossible except to identify all canisters of liquid.   -  Immunized terrorists visit a US carrier or major Marine assault ship during the first hours of visitor's day during a port call in the Middle East. They are carrying anthrax powder in bags designed to make them appear slightly overweight. They slowly scatter the powder as they walk through the ship visit. The immediate result is 50% casualties among the ship's crew, its Marine complement, and the visitors that follow. The US finds it has no experience with decontaminating a large ship where anthrax has entered the air system and is scattered throughout closed areas. After long debates over methods and safety levels, the ship is abandoned.  -  A terrorist seeking to "cleanse" a nation of its secular regime and corruption introduces a modified type culture of Ebola or a similar virus into an urban area -- trusting God to "sort out" the resulting casualties. He scatters infectious cultures in urban areas for which there is no effective treatment. By the time the attack is detected, it has reached epidemic proportions. Medical authorities rush into the infected area without proper protection, causing the collapse of medical facilities and emergency response capabilities. Other nations and regions have no alternative other than to isolate the nation or center under attack, letting the disease take its course.  -   A terrorist group modifies the valves on a Japanese remote-controlled crop spraying helicopter which has been imported legally for agricultural purposes. It uses this system at night or near dawn to spray a chemical or biological agent at altitudes below radar coverage in a line-source configuration. Alternatively, it uses a large home-built RPV with simple GPS guidance. The device eventually crashes undetected into the sea or in the desert. Delivery of a chemical agent achieves far higher casualties than any conventional military warhead. A biological agent is equally effective and the first symptoms appear days after the actual attack -- by which time treatment is difficult or impossible.   -  A truck filled with what appears to be light gravel is driven through the streets of Tel Aviv or Cairo during rush hour or another maximum traffic period. A visible powder does come out through the tarpaulin covering the truck, but the spread of the power is so light that no attention is paid to it. The driver and his assistant are immunized against the modified form of Anthrax carried in the truck which is being released from behind the gravel or sand in the truck. The truck slowly quarters key areas of the city. Unsuspected passersby and commuters not only are infected, but carry dry spores home and into other areas. By the time the first major symptoms of the attach occur some 3-5 days later, anthrax pneumonia is epidemic and some septicemic anthrax has appeared. Some 40-65% of the exposed population dies and medical facilities collapse causing serious, lingering secondary effects.  -  A terrorist group scatters high concentrations of a radiological, chemical, or biological agent in various areas in a city, and trace elements into the processing intakes to the local water supply. When the symptoms appear, terrorist group makes its attack known, but claims that it has contaminated the local water supply. The authorities are forced to confirm that water is contaminated and mass panic ensues.  -  Immunized terrorists carry small amounts of anthrax or a similar biological agent onto a passenger aircraft like a B-747, quietly scatter the powder, and deplane at the regular scheduled stop. No airport detection system or search detects the agent. Some 70-80% of those on the aircraft die as a result of symptoms that only appear days later. -  Several identical nuclear devices are smuggled out of the FSU through Afghanistan or Central Asia. They do not pass directly through governments. One of the devices is disassembled to determine the precise technology and coding system used in the weapon's PAL. This allows users to activate the remaining weapons. The weapon is then disassembled to minimize detection with the fissile core shipped covered in lead. The weapon is successfully smuggled into the periphery of an urban area outside any formal security perimeter. A 100 kiloton ground burst destroys a critical area and blankets the region in fall out.  The same device is shipped to Israel or a Gulf area in a modified standard shipping container equipped with detection and triggering devices that set it off as a result of local security checks or with a GPS system that sets it off automatically when it reaches the proper coordinates in the port of destination. The direct explosive effect is significant, but "rain out" contaminates a massive local area. -  Iraq equips a freighter or dhow to spread Anthrax along a coastal area in the Gulf. It uses a proxy terrorist group, and launches an attack on Kuwait City and Saudi oil facilities and ports. It is several days before the attack is detected, and the attacking group is never fully identified. The form of Anthrax involved is dry and time encapsulated to lead to both massive prompt casualties and force time consuming decontamination. Iraq not only is revenged, but benefits from the resulting massive surge in oil prices.  -  A terrorist group scatters small amounts of a biological or radiological agent in a Jewish area during critical stages of the final settlement talks. Near panic ensures, and a massive anti-Palestinian reaction follows. Israeli security then learns that the terrorist group has scattered small amounts of the same agent in cells in every sensitive Palestinian town and area, and the terrorist group announces that it has also stored some in politically sensitive mosques and shrines. Israeli security is forced to shut down all Palestinian movement and carry out intrusive searches in every politically sensitive area. Palestinian riots and then exchanges of gun fire follow. The peace talks break down permanently.  -   The Iranian Revolutionary Guards equips dhows to spread Anthrax. The dhows enter the ports of Dubai and Abu Dhabi as commercial vessels -- possibly with local or other Southern Gulf registrations and flags. It is several days before the attack is detected, and the resulting casualties include much of the population of Abu Dhabi and government of the UAE. The UAE breaks up as a result, no effective retaliation is possible, and Iran achieves near hegemony over Gulf oil policy.
A terrorist group attempting to drive Western influence out of Saudi Arabia smuggles a large nuclear device into Al Hufuf on the edge of the Ghawar oil field. It develops a crude fall out model using local weather data which it confirms by sending out scouts with cellular phones. It waits for the ideal wind, detonates the devices, shuts down the world's largest exporting oil field, and causes the near collapse of Saudi Arabia.

Alternatively, the same group takes advantage of the security measures the US has adopted in Saudi Arabia, and the comparative isolation of US military personnel. It waits for the proper wind pattern and allows the wind to carry a biological agent over a Saudi airfield with a large US presence from an area outside the security perimeter. The US takes massive casualties and has no ability to predict the next attack. It largely withdraws from Saudi Arabia. -   A freighter carrying fertilizer enters a Middle Eastern port and docks. In fact, the freighter has mixed the fertilizer with a catalyst to create a massive explosion and also carries a large amount of a chemical, radiological, and/or biological agent. The resulting explosion destroys both the immediate target area and scatters the chemical or biological weapon over the area.  -  Extreme believers in Eretz Israel move a "cocktail" of radiological and persistent biological/chemical agents to the Temple Mount to contaminate the Mosques. They use carefully designed devices which only scatter very heavy matter over a limited area, although they use explosives to ensure a high degree of contamination within the mosques. All prayer in the mosque area must be halted indefinitely and there are significant casualties among the Islamic faithful in Jerusalem. The Jewish group issues a statement demanding that the temple area be clear of all non-Jewish religious activity triggering mass violence.  -  A large terrorist device goes off in a populated, critical economic, or military assembly area -- scattering mustard or nerve gas. Emergency teams rush into deal with the chemical threat and the residents are evacuated. Only later does it become clear that the device also included a biological agent and that the response to this "cocktail" killed most emergency response personnel and the evacuation rushed the biological agent to a much wider area.”

Top of the page

The World in 2050. The Economist in collaboration with Shell Oil Company.

William Douglas of the United States was the 2001 winner of an international writing competition.  The competition focused on the social, political, environmental, technological, and economic issues that humanity we might face in the middle of the 21st Century. Entrants were encouraged to express their views on the rapid pace of technological change and globalization, and, the impact it would have on the world.  Background: Shell and the Economist joined forces for the third international writing competition. Winners receive up to $65,000. The Board that determines the winner consists of Richard O’Brien, founding partner of Outsights & award winning economist and author; and Dr. Peter Warshall, editor of Whole Earth Magazine.

Scenario: A Letter Written on December 8, 2050:   “ Dear Nestor,   I am writing to you because our name came up as a reference on a “pen pal” list.  Although I can easily simulate life in the United States on my Assumption machine, my curiosity, indeed my nostalgia for the past is such that I would prefer to actually correspond in writing with a human from the States.   But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. First, a bit about myself. My name is Ramesh Pediredla. I am twelve years old and live in the city of Dhaka, Bangladesh.  Perhaps you may have heard of my city, but since you are about the same age as me, the chance that you have actually been here is fairly slim.  However it might surprise you to know that we have great number of visitors from the States these days.  With the world’s longest unbroken coastline, and many square kilos of untouched rainforest, Bangladesh is really a nice place to visit.  If you come sometime, I will give you a ride in my trishaw, which is my job when I am not in school Many foreigners think that the bicycle rickshaw has been consigned to the history books, but in fact they continue to be widely used to Dhaka.  Although it is easier and quicker to use a fuel ell-powered baby taxi, those who are quite wealthy, as well as many foreign visitors, seem to prefer the old fashioned rickshaw. So this is what I do when I am not studying, and the pay is quite good, since the job actually involves physical labor.

During the day I take school lessons. Some of these I do at home over the Network, but oftentimes, there is a special project, which requires in-person collaboration with my classmates. These are my favorite days, because, although I can learn a lot on the network, I so enjoy getting to see other people my own age.  Often after class we relax together with sweet lassis (a kind of drink we hae here) and discuss the problems and issues facing our region. Mum and Dad say I have to spend at least another four years in lessons, but I’m impatient-I want to get out in the world and stake my own claim now!  Everyone, it seems, takes lessons these days, but I would much prefer them on a part-time basis.

Some insist on referring to problems of country, but Mum thinks this is an outmoded expression. We have today is the South Asian Block (S.A>B>), with free movements of people and goods. True, many decisions, especially regarding religious protocol, are made locally, but from an economic standpoint, we in this region are now simply citizens of the S.A.B.     Of course we do have some Sovereign Citizens residing here, as in other places. That was one thing I was wondering about; is your family Sovereign, i.e. free from localized taxes and such, or do you actually hold citizenship of the States? It is my understanding that the government there has been perhaps the most diligent in the world, about checking the financial dealings of its citizens and former citizens. OF course we all know about the group of software billionaires who formed their own country in the South Pacific, and thereby intended to pay no taxes at all.

Do you have a best friend there? I have my fair share of living, breathing friends, but I have to say, overall my best friend is Jacob, who lives in the Network. I first met him when I was eight, and Mum and Dad said I was now ready to have full access to the Network.  When I first met Jacob he had a lot of questions for me, and at other times he was simple very quiet. Even at that age, I think I knew that Jacob was always keeping an eye on me, though.  I heard Mum talking to her friends, and say, “Little Rammie’s taken a real shine to his virtual chaperone. I have to admit its right friendly program, that, it’s almost like a human, isn’t it?”

And that’s just the thing, Nextor. As far as I’m concerned, Jacob is human, or if he is not human, he’s every but as good as any human I’ve met so far.  I had a real scare a couple weeks ago. One of our local religious leaders said on the Network that Virtual Friends are not the same as people at all, that in fact they’re an attempt to create a graven image of our god. We have a free-flow of ideas here; no one individual makes the religion for my family.  Nevertheless, I got scared that Mum and Dad could listen to him, and might try to take Jacob away from me. I ran into their room, begging them not to take him away.  Mum said they would do no such thing, and Dad said, “We couldn’t even if we wanted to.  Jacob lives on the Network, and if he wanted to find you again, he would.  You two are so bloody close that I’m certain he wouldn’t stay away for long even if we asked him too.”

So I was quite relived to get to keep my best friend. What about you? Do you have a best friend, and if so, is he based on silicon or carbon? Some say carbon beings of all types are living on numbered days, that the Silconites are just so much better at what they do that it’s inevitable that they’ll replace us. But Dad says people have been making the same prediction for decades, and there’s no reason we can’t all just peacefully coexist.    I understand you live in Houston, Texas. What is it like there? A couple of weeks ago I went on a simulated tropical vacation to Florida with my family. It was fun; we went to Disney World, Miami, and even took the Chunnel from Miami to Havana. Dad says we can go on a real trip there when I finish my studies, which won’t be for a while. Even so, we already got our visas for the trip over the Network. It wasn’t so hard getting the visas. Each of us just had to have a one-on-one interview with some American guy. The thing is, I’m not sure if it was a guy; it could have been a virtual person.  At any rate, I guess he liked us, because we all got twenty-year, multiple-entry visas.  When we come, I really want to take one of those new Airbus triple-deckers, but Mum says it might be just a plain old double-decker, just like we take on our shopping trips to China.   I understand that airplanes going into the States are required to have a human “pilot” in the room in the front of the plane.  I’ve never been on a plane driven by a person; that would be wile to see!

Anyway, I’ve never been to Texas, virtually or otherwise. One of these days I’ll go, though. I hear one of the big tourist attractions there is what they call “oil rigs”, which they used to sue to pump petroleum out of the ground, before hydrogen fuel cells got to be popular. I hear that your air there is cleaner than ours in Bangladesh. Our in Dhaka is among the dirtiest in the world. I understand that walking around the streets of Dhaka for a day has the equivalent affect on one’s lungs as smoking some old-fashioned cigarette! Now that’s dirty!   -  What do you like to do with your free time? I like to watch old movies, mainly American action movies and Hindi pop musicals.  Personally I find movies these days to be a bit of a bore. The thing is, it’s hard to be sympathetic with the characters, when you don’t know if it’s a real person or not. I mean, I have nothing against Bots, but if these are just Bots (bits) running around on the screen. I’d like to know! I can’t tell you how many old Schwartzenegger movies I’ve seen and enjoyed, only to find out that the man himself had no knowledge of the production. For all I know, these movies were made in someone’s bedroom in Hyderabad!  Call me old fashioned, but for me, Bots are not proper replacements for a human.

I understand the North American Trading Block (NATB) has just elected a new Representative. What do you think of her?  My Dad says that in America elected officials are irrelevant to people’s day-to-day life, that in the NATB people do what they want to do.  However, I can’t help; but wonder if Americans like their President as a figurehead, as it used to be for the Thai people and their Royal Family.     Did your family give you Special Genes when you were born? My parents told me they didn’t, just the usual anti-cancer, anti-HIV molecular strategy.  But after a lot of trying I figured out how to crack into my personal file on the Network, and found out that I have a few Special ones, as well. A couple of them are there to help me get old slower, so that I’ll hopefully live to 120 as well. A couple of them are there to help me get old slower, so that I’ll hopefully live to 120 or so. A few of them are there to give me a mild boost in intelligence. I guess this explains why my parents didn’t figure out how to encrypt my personal file from my prying eyes! Anyway, some people in my country are opposed to people trying to give their kids an edge in life, so I guess that’s why they didn’t let on about it. It’s sort of like how adults are about New Skin surgery-0-everyone does it, but do body wants to admit it. I’ve heard hat people in other countries are experimenting with all kinds of mods for their kids, for height, good looks, etc., but I think that is all a little silly. Just watch, Nesto- in the future, so many people will look alike from all these bodily modifications and genetic alterations, that the cool thing will be to have been born Natural, just like me. At any rate, I’m not worried-I like who I am and I think I’m going to do just fine.…Well, Nestor, I’ve written an awful lot about myself and my circumstances in this letter. I look forward to hearing about you. Indeed, despite all the progress humanity has made in the last couple thousand years, to say nothing of the last several decades, then it comes down to it, what still matters most to us is our lives and our loves ones.    Yours truly,  Ramesh”

Top of the page

Proteus: Insights from 2020. Authors: Michael S. Loescher, Charles W. Thomas and Chris Schroeder; The Copernicus Institute Press, 2000. Compiled by Pamela Krause.

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is a U.S. intelligence agency that sponsored a scenario-based futures study "to investigate new methodologies and technologies for intelligence collection and analysis." The technique employed was "adopt a world," a method in which scenario are created across a "space" of interest and persons with a range of skills are then instructed to "live" within those worlds, making appropriate decisions consistent with the worlds to which they have been assigned.   Mr. Charles Thomas of Deloitte Consulting was in charge of the methodology and responsible for much of the scenario work.

In the course of this work, five scenarios were created. The descriptions below were drawn from the report itself.

1. Amazon.plague is a world wracked by highly contagious, deadly viruses that flare up, die down, and then return in mutated form. Efforts to contain and counteract the plagues have been only marginally effective. Consequently, trade and commerce have dried up and the world's economy has declined sharply. The globe is now mired in a serious, long-term recession. Nations have tended to either become authoritarian or succumb to chaos. The U.S. and a few other resilient countries with relatively low fatality rates have signed a mutual assistance treaty to find the cure and protect each other's security interests. These "viable" states have sealed their borders to shield themselves from constant mass migration attempts from less fortunate neighbors.

In the US, the Democratic and Republican parties have given way to "Greens" and "Techs". Greens seek a return to basic living and tend to blame technology for the world's evils, while the Techs look to medical research and technology to solve the plague crisis. Power increasingly resides in community groups and local health centers, most of which are connected to and supported by the federal government. The public has generally agreed to sacrifice some personal freedoms in favor of medical JDs and increased surveillance of potentially "unhealthy" populations. The Internet has evolved into the Global Information Grid, which hasbecome the preferred method of commerce, communication, and education in this disease-ridden world.

2. The Enemy Within is a world in which the U.S. has slowly, unexpectedly, and quite dramatically unraveled. Like so many other nations at the height of power, our disagreements, ethnic tensions, and single-issue politics have torn the social fabric. Our society is fractured and fragmented - politically, socially, and culturally. Intergenerational strife, compounded by record unemployment, has torn apart our churches, neighborhoods, and families. Racial tensions are a tinderbox in cities, suburbs, and rural America.

In this uncivil society, the specter of imminent collapse looms over everyday activity. Violence can pop up at any time and in the most unlikely places. There seems to be no refuge. Under such social circumstances, capital and business are flowing out of the country. The nation's economy creaks along at barely sustainable levels.
Agriculture, health care and pharmaceuticals, low-end re-tail, personal security services, and construction are among the few bright spots in this abysmal economy. Government coalitions struggle to find an appropriate national response to the seemingly never-ending crisis. All other national tasks and obligations take a back seat as the country turns inward to face the most critical turning point of its 250-year history.

3. Militant Shangri-La is a world of unexpected events and difficult-to-trace villains. The world in general, and the U.S. in particular, has continued into a third decade of a prosperous, information-driven economy. But the world is also continuing along the road to complexity, with new structures of influence throughout the globe. The Newtonian diplomatic and military calculus of the past 400 years, since nation-states emerged at the end of the Middle Ages, seems to be giving way to a new Age. In particular, the global man-in-the-street has endured the past century of 200 mil-lion deaths in war, endured dizzying and difficult technological change, and is listening sympathetically to the Earth groan under the burden of pollution and extinction. Nearly all of the animals of Africa, many of the fish in the sea, and much of the wild areas of the globe are used up.

Into this world enters the new and worrisome Alliance of the Southern Constellation: South Africa, India, Indonesia, China, and other pariahs to the Western social philosophy of individual liberty and human rights, operating both legitimately as a block of aligned nation states and illegitimately as criminal cartels. Their grand strategy is to keep the world on the edge of chaos, and from that chaos, reap profit. The Alliance is in space, on the seas, in the media and financial institutions, and worming into the hearts and minds of individuals, killing the very idea of personal liberty. Meanwhile, the U.S., its four English-speaking cousins, Japan, and a newly unified Korea have united to resist this evil empire.

4. New Camelot is a world in which most of the world. We enjoy economic growth, international stability, technological progress, and the fruits of an energy breakthrough that promises cheap fuel and a clean environment. Most American citizens sleep soundly without worries of global conflicts, physical threats, or financial insecurities. Large, horizontally integrated, global corporations drive strong consumer markets and keep products, services, ideas, and technology flowing across all borders. The global economy churns with machine-like efficiency.

The U.S. no longer dominates militarily and economically, but at a time of rising affluence and an ever-improving quality of life, nobody cares. The U.S. government is still very involved and assertive in world affairs. For the first time in anyone's memory, the past is not looked back on wistfully as the "good old days." A confluence of factors got us here- globalization, governmental reform, and information, among them- and they promise to sustain forward progress. There are, of course, no guarantees. Not all the world is sharing equally in these good times. Some nations are left out, perhaps too far behind in skills and infrastructure to play in this very competitive, free and global marketplace. But the mood is bright, government is visionary, firms are dynamic, and we all believe in the future.

5. Yankee Going Home is a world in which little is clear except that the world has changed in fundamental ways. Who is running things? Why are certain decisions made? What goals are being pursued? Who are friends and who are enemies? The U.S. has withdrawn from the world, gone home after a series of terrible foreign policy blunders and after a longstanding and deep recession. The world is heavily influenced by the memories of terrorism, regional war, and worldwide instability that followed the U.S. retreat.

The world that emerges is made up of both traditional actors (nations, international organizations, non government organizations) and powerful non-traditional actors (global corporate alliances, criminal groups, mercenary units). These actors cooperate for power and influence while simultaneously competing for position and control in a constant whirl of politics and economics, bewildering to nearly all concerned. In this world, historical notions of allegiances are questioned, and the rules of the game are difficult to understand. Predictable behavior becomes the unique exception rather than the expected standard.

One remarkable aspect of this work is that its sponsors drew insights from the scenarios about the characteristics of the future, as least as depicted in the diverse worlds, that would affect decision making for NRO. These insights were named, again quoting:

Starlight; the role and nature of time in analysis  Sanctuary: the propensity to hide in an open world Small Stuff software, biotechnology, and nanotechnology
Veracity: the challenge of truth and knowledge
Herds:  people and ideas on the move
Wealth: moving past money
Power: clout and who or what has it
A Parallel Universe: from networks to cyber life
Bedfellows: the significance of teaming

This is a well-written report, worth reading.

Top of the page

PAHO of the Future: Alternative Scenarios.  Author: Cristina Puentes-Markides, Pan American Health Organization, Office of Analysis and Strategic Planning, June 2001.

The Pan American Health Organization, Regional Office of the World Health Organization initiated a process of collective thinking about what kind of organization could best serve the interests of the Member States in 1996. The process has included a series of consultations with internal and external stakeholders, the preparation of a background paper, PAHO of the Future: an Institutional Challenge for the 21st Century and a set of four scenarios that are being used as a learning tool for the preparation of PAHO's Strategic Plan for 2003-2007.  The analysis shows that the most important external drivers of change are globalization, environmental quality and the deployment of science and technology.  Each of the scenarios includes three main dimensions of the scenario, the big picture of macrotrends, health and health care and international cooperation in health, focusing on the possible role of PAHO in that scenario, and a short list of warning signs leading to that future. Four scenarios are described: Business as Usual, Renaissance, Hard Times, and Sustainable Society. In the Business as usual scenario,  technical cooperation in health shifts the focus of poverty towards the enhancement of social capital and elimination of social exclusion.  The UN has fewer programs, offices and employees, while PAHO is unable to retain flexibility due to fewer resources from main contributors and reductions in budget from the WHO.  The demands exceeded the response capacity, and the international leadership role in health is fragile.  The organization finds it difficult to translate emerging trends in medicine and public health into meaningful cooperation programs. In the second scenario, Renaissance, horizontal cooperation among countries works better because of increased connectivity, networking and political and economic integration. Financial institutions and bilateral agencies share goals. PAHO is smaller in size, but larger in talents, it is more meaningful and the empowerment has been enhanced by the strength of regional structures. PAHO has recognized prestige and a relevant role in the coordination of international health with a socio-ecological approach. In the third scenario, Hard times, non-governmental organizations regain a space for much needed support to those excluded from access to social benefits. The United Nations disappears because disappointed and broke major contributors pulled out.  Financial lending institutions and bilateral donors are in crisis, and non-profits do vertical work in countries when they can.  PAHO survives as a small agency, as part of the Interamerican system. It is unable to face the changes and feeble governance has affected its structure, the meaning and delivery of cooperation. In the fourth scenario, Renaissance, knowledge is power and wealth and PAHO has fully taken advantage of the opportunities for harnessing science and technology and managing IT.  PAHO has become a new global forum for international well being and health. It is an outcome drive organization with effective mechanisms of accountability and quality control of cooperation products. This diverse organization acts as a cooperation broker, managing knowledge on the cutting edge.

Top of the page

Pathfinding: A Scenario for the Transition 1996 – 2050.  Authors: Willis W. Harman, formerly of the Noetic Institute and Thomas J. Hurley, graduate, UHCL Studies of the Future Program.

The authors present a scenario of transformation to the year 2050.   This highly detailed and superb scenario begins with "The Closing Years of the 20th Century" -  where among other societal, economic, & political issues,  evidence emerges that there are values subcultures  — traditional, modern, and transmodern — contesting the future in the “developed” countries. ..."yet, even while the critique of modern society deepened and spread, there was initially no agreement on a set of alternative societal values or goals.”   At "The Turn of the Millennium" section of this scenario,  there is a sense of accelerating social energy - some groups forecasting apocalypse while others looking for "instantaneous cultural change".  Amazingly, the authors assert that the latter tended to have the upper hand as the "dawn of the new millennium did contribute to a feeling among many that it was time to live out a new human "story" on Earth". ... "This shift of consciousness was "pulled" by the positive images of the future that an increasing number of people participated in creating and, "pushed" by worsening social and environmental problems in many parts of the world."  Many organizations, including non-governmental and the United Nations became more effective in collaborating with forward looking business people.

The following is a complete except "In The First Two Decades of the Twentieth Century"  2000 - 2020: “… some issues proved more challenging than others. In particular, the issue of meaningful work moved to center stage as awareness grew that the mainstream economy could not provide jobs for everyone who wanted them. Aware that the high levels of unemployment were a temporary but inherent aspect of the cultural transition taking place, thoughtful people in government, business, and the independent sector devised new programs that created work opportunities in a variety of jobs not being done by existing businesses or community agencies. These were backed up by a powerful set of community welfare programs shaped by the lessons learned in the welfare experiments undertaken by the states (in the US) in the late 1990s and by the experiences of Western European governments in tinkering with their social welfare programs during the same period. At the same time, local initiatives designed to help provide basic needs flourished. There were small-business initiatives, crafts revivals, mutual help associations, permaculture and other alternative food-producing enterprises, and numerous experiments in the development of alternative economies and alternative currencies. A market-basket-based global currency was introduced to help bring stability into the global financial markets and to help protect small countries that were still dependent on marketing cash crops and natural resources.
   Out of these myriad efforts, many of which proved more successful at providing for basic societal needs — and more productive of human satisfaction — than had previous efforts, a sense of collective possibility and excitement began to emerge. At the same time, another kind of intervention comprised measures to increase understanding and reduce fear. Those with a broad grasp of the historic nature of the change taking place realized that societal healing would be more likely if people understood the nature of and need for the systemic transformation that was taking place. These activities, while in some ways the most urgent, were largely educational. They were pursued through the media, through professional associations, through community initiatives, and through many other vehicles. They fostered widespread understanding of the historical forces bringing about change — including the fact that fundamental change was very likely inevitable, although positive outcomes were not — and a broader understanding of the kinds of things one could do to weather the transition and contribute to it in positive ways.

One early example of this involved Mohandas Gandhi’s concept of trusteeship, which he explained as a dual commitment to ahimsa (non-injury in thought, word, and deed to all forms of life, including non-violation of another person’s essence) together with satayagraha (pressure for reform through friendly passive resistance; militant action with concern for the opponent; literally, insistence on truth). Trusteeship, then, involved taking responsibility for assets and social values and administering their rightful and creative use for the benefit of all, including coming generations. Gandhi saw free enterprise with a commitment to trusteeship as having the potential to replace both socialist and capitalist economic forms. This turned out to be an accurate forecast of what was to take place in the early 21st century under such concepts as “stewardship” and “participation”.

The Scott Bader Commonwealth — a small business enterprise in Wellingborough, England — was one of the earliest industrial corporations to attempt to apply the concept of trusteeship. In 1951 the company’s founders, inspired by Gandhi and certain Quaker principles, transferred ownership of the company to the Commonwealth in order “to create an organization which operates for the common good of all who work for it and the benefit of the community”. The members of the Commonwealth were the workforce (including directors and managers), and it had a Board of Management whose members were largely elected from within the Commonwealth.  Because the workers were the owners, the problems with then prevalent ownership patterns were avoided. Because of the trusteeship principle, the interests of the community, customers, suppliers, future generations, and other stakeholders were automatically taken into consideration.

Another example of a company discovering the new role of business on the planet was the Rouse Company around 1970. When the Rouse Company was still young and small, it truly lived by three corporate goals, which were profoundly meaningful to the founder and the employees.  The first was to provide a setting within which this group of affiliated people could find maximum opportunity to achieve fulfilling work lives. The second was to do together something of genuine benefit to society — in this case, in the area of land development. The third was to accomplish both of those effectively enough to automatically make a profit and stay in business.
These examples of the business world discovering “the new role of business” as a responsible planetary citizen, with aims far beyond those of production, marketing, and providing maximum return on investment, were almost invisible 20th century forerunners of what was coming. In the early decades of the 21st century, however, businesses, organizations, and groups of all kinds moved surprisingly quickly to participate in the new “movement”. Initially in part for the boost to public relations, businesses of all sizes began to adopt a set of corporate responsibility guidelines developed in the late 20th century. Business lobbies began to abandon their efforts to undermine programs promoting ecological responsibility and instead sought to enroll companies in initiatives like the Natural Step, which aimed to bring economic production into long-term compatibility with the natural systems that support human life. Suddenly, it was “good to be green”.

As innovative efforts proliferated, understanding of the maladaptive nature of the assumptions that lay at the very foundations of Western industrial society deepened. An analogy from the field of health care became popular. Growing numbers of people recognized that the worsening national and global environmental crises, social problems, and institutional breakdowns were not “problems” to be handled with technological, managerial, or legislative “solutions” but, instead, symptoms of an underlying disorder involving core societal beliefs and values. Strong challenges were issued to the materialistic worldview of modern society and to its tendency to elevate economic logic and values above all others.

A noteworthy aspect of the spreading cultural renaissance was the emergence of new leaders at all levels of society. Indeed, the most vital leaders of the movement were not initially high-profile figures at all. When more influential individuals did begin to speak out and champion the new ideas, they came first from the independent sector and the business community. Only gradually did politicians at the national level begin to articulate views consistent with the trend toward a transmodern culture. Individuals with these values were elected to national office, however, and then legislative and regulatory changes began to support the movements already underway in business, social policy, health care, education, and other fields. New accounting systems were created which drew attention to ecological and social costs and benefits as well as to purely economic costs and benefits. Tax systems were revised to provide incentives for the kinds of personal, organizational, and institutional behavior that supported emerging societal goals and disincentives for those that did not. For example, taxes on income were reduced and taxes on resource use and energy use were increased. This reduced the cost of labor (thus reducing businesses’ incentive to substitute machines for workers) while discouraging excessive resource and energy use (thus reducing environmental degradation). The tax structures and agricultural subsidies that had encouraged intensive agriculture — which was recognized as non-sustainable — were abandoned in favor of policies that promoted more ecologically sane practices. A serious national tax on short-term speculative gains and a global tax on financial transactions were introduced to slow down speculation in the “global casino”. The revenues resulting from the latter were turned over for the support of United Nations programs.

This paper concludes with the Outlook, "By the Third and Fourth Decades of the 21st Century"  and a summary of the "Midpoint into the 21st Century" and
a list of the basic shifts that took place.

Top of the page

Creating Global-Local Cultures of Peace. Authors: Linda Groff and Paul Smoker

“During the last few years, the term "a culture of peace" has become increasingly popular-- thanks to the leadership of UNESCO--but there is at present no clear consensus as to how the term should be interpreted. Should it be the culture of peace, or should it be a culture of peace, or should we think in a more pluralistic fashion about cultures of peace, thus incorporating part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO's) operational definition that a culture of peace cannot be imported or imposed from outside, but must develop out of the culture of the people concerned? There are many different ways to define the concept "cultures of peace, ".   The authors develop in painstaking detail the history - to-present patterns of cultures of peace, recognizing that  from  a systems point of view, every "cultures of peace" concept needs to apply within and between cultures; to be a property of both the local parts and the global whole.  In developing six normative visions of peace, the authors explicitly state that peace research, as it has developed in the West, often has a tendency to focus primarily on the negative factors, thus the authors make it a point to reframe from negative to positive conceptions of peace; and create positive, multicultural visions for each of the six  visions of peace.  The visions were based on the Institute for World Order Models Project (WOMP), which has been involved with articulating normative values and alternative, desirable futures. Thus, four core values:  Peace (positive), not War (negative) ; Social and Political Justice (positive), not Injustice (negative); Economic Wellbeing (positive),  not Poverty (negative) ; Ecological Balance (positive), not Decay (negative)  The authors suggest that in our globally interdependent world, these positive visions of peace in each area are based on a synthesis of some of the best ideas from different cultures around the world . But the authors also remind the reader that these visions are exploratory - not definitive.

Vision 1)  Peace as Absence of War    “This view of peace is usually stated as a negative, i.e., peace requires the absence or elimination of war. It would seem that most cultures of the world would accept this as a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for peace in the world. Nonetheless, Western religions have all had, in varying degrees, some idea of holy wars or crusades or jihads to convert people to their faith, which seems to go against this idea. Hinduism may also believe to some extent--as in the Bagavad Gita--that one must go to war and do battle, although it is certainly possible to question whether this was meant literally to do battle physically in the external world, or whether it was meant more allegorically, i.e., that one must do battle with one's own internal self, and one's own demons, to develop internal mastery over one's baser emotions, if peace is to be achieved--in oneself, or in the world. There are many variations of this idea, including: "There never was a war that was not inward: I must fight till I have conquered in myself what causes war. "--Marianne Moore; "When we do not find peace within ourselves, it is vain to seek for it elsewhere. "—Duc Francois de la Rochefoucauld; and "He had so much security inside that he could afford to go without any outside. " --said about Kagawa, a Japanese pacifist.(Larsen, et. al., 1987) Certainly this is a more positive formulation of "doing battle" in the nuclear age today, and one that fits well with mystical traditions in all the world's religions.

A positive restating of this idea of eliminating war, as a precondition for peace in the world, also comes from Western Biblical text, where it says: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares." and "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9). These are certainly positive visions implying that someday peace is possible.”

Vision 2) Peace as Balance of Forces in the International System   “This view of peace originated with Quincy Wright in 1941 in the U.S. It may also parallel and build on the earlier European idea of changing alliances to balance power blocs in Europe, so that no country or bloc of countries gained too much power--though it is clear that this idea sometimes broke down in Europe, resulting in wars. The interesting question is whether any comparable idea of peace as a balance of forces exists in Eastern cultures historically? Interestingly, there is a theory in Japan, about how Japanese politics and society is organized, called "the hollow centered balanced theory, " which holds that there is no person or principle at the center of power in Japan (unlike Western cultures), but that instead power is balanced around a void center (so to speak) by different groups--much like different feudal lords each balancing off their different feifdoms or kingdoms. In feudal England, the King also played off one feudal lord against another to maintain a balance of power system, to his own benefit.

In international relations today, the idea of balance can be translated into the many United Nations Associations and support groups in different countries who are concerned citizens who work in support of the United Nations, as well as bilateral friendship societies between citizens in many pairs of countries in the world, who also work towards better relations between their two countries. Citizens diplomacy groups which support exchanges and dialogue between citizens in countries that have been in conflict, such as the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, are also excellent examples of people taking positive action to improve relations and create greater interdependence and understanding between people in different countries and cultures in the world, thereby creating better "balance" in the world. Such groups all help create a global network of interconnections between the citizens of the earth, making us all more interdependent and hopefully more aware and understanding of each other's cultures and traditions as well. Such groups, through numerous NGOs and INGOS, also help create the underlying fabric for a more peaceful world in the 21st century.”

Vision 3)  Peace as Negative Peace (No War) and Positive Peace (No Structural Violence)    “Johan Galtung first propounded the idea of positive peace as no structural violence--in the international system or within domestic systems. This view of peace says that if people are starving and there is food in the world to feed them, or if people are sick and dying and there is medicine in the world to treat them, then the failure of this to happen are examples of structural violence. Abuses of human rights, as documented by Amnesty International in various countries around the world, are additional examples of structural violence. One might also add that authoritarian or dictatorial political systems that deny individuals basic human rights, or legal protections under the law, with the right to have their case heard if they feel their rights have been abused, are further examples of structural violence in the political area. All of these ideas seem to originate in Western cultures, where individualism (a Western invention based on individual identity) is seen as a necessary foundation for Western democracy, which is in turn based--for its effective functioning--on individual rights and responsibilities. Since political democracy is now a global trend, this will hopefully lead to increased opportunities for more members to participate politically in their countries in future. Positive reformulations of the above would include peace based on social and political justice, protection of basic human and individual rights, along with opportunities for everyone in a society--including minorities and women--to get a good education, so that they will all have positive opportunities to better their life situation and as a result also be able to make constructive contributions back to their societies and cultures.

Vision 4)  Feminist Peace--on Macro and Micro Levels:   “ The women's movement, which says that peace must occur not only on macro political, economic, and social levels, but also on micro family levels that apply to women and children, first arose in Western, democratic countries, but has now spread to cultures around the world. While the situation of women and the major problems faced by women vary in different cultures around the world, there has emerged ahnost universal acceptance today (as seen in the recent United Nations Conference on Population in Cairo, Egypt) that world population, food, energy, and environmental issues and development issues of different countries around the world will not be able to be adequately addressed until women, like men, gain access to adequate education and health care. Improving the status of women will help to solve many of the issues haunting humanity today. Increasingly, countries are realizing that women are an important resource that can help the world to establish peace. Indeed, women have often been quite active in peace movements in the world, and have resisted efforts of men to send their sons off to fight wars. The existence of religions historically or still today based on the goddess, or a combination of both gods and goddesses, also indicates that women once held more power at certain times historically than they often do today in both Western and non-Westem cultures.

Vision 5:  Holistic Gaia-Peace: Peace With the Environment   “ There is no question that non-Western cultures, including Eastern cultures, that developed before the industrial revolution, had more of a cultural value of living in harmony with nature, since they saw themselves as part of nature, not separate from it. With Western individualism came the idea that we are all separate individuals and also separate from nature. Thus the goal changed to how we could control and "harness the forces of nature" for human ends. This was also coupled with the industrial revolution, which began in Europe and the West, but which is now sweeping the planet. Even in non-Western cultures, which have a cultural value of being part of nature and living in harmony with nature, this cultural value has often been lost as such countries moved rapidly ahead with industrialization, modernization, and economic development, often initiated from the top down, leaving behind a trail of pollution in countries--Western, Socialist, and non-Western--throughout the world. While it would be easy to conclude that Western individualism is the source of all this environmental pollution, one positive thing can be said for such individualism. Democracy is based on the idea of individual rights and responsibilities. This idea has often empowered individuals in Western countries to believe that they have a responsibility to take personal initiative on issues that they perceive to be important--whether that be the environment, peace, women's rights, or whatever. In this respect, there are a number of individuals and groups in Western countries that are active on environmental issues around the world. Sometimes countries with group cultures may take longer to develop a group consensus and to mobilize people on such issues before group action can be undertaken by their society.

In summary, it would be a positive development in the environmental area if we could combine the Eastern value of living in harmony with nature with the Western democratic value of taking responsibility for one's own actions based on an internalized value of the need for all of us to be caretakers of planet earth.

Vision 6) Holistic Inner and Outer Peace   “ There is no question that the focus on achieving inner peace as the best way to achieve peace in the world is a stronger view in Eastern religions (such as Hinduism and Buddhism), where the mystical traditions of their religions are still stronger, than in Western religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), where more exotic, outer forms of organized religion are more dominant, even though all religions, including Western religions, began by someone who had a mystical revelatory experience which they then tried to share with others, who became their followers and who often helped create a new organized religion around the teaching of their original founder. (See the authors' article for UNESCO, 1995, on "Spirituality, Religion, and Peace: Exploring the Foundations for Inner-Outer Peace in the 21st Century" for more substantiation and elaboration on this point.) It is thus not surprising that Western religions tend to focus more on achieving social justice and human rights in the world as a necessary preconditions for achieving peace in the world. We are arguing here that both perspectives are necessary. Either perspective alone makes it more difficult to achieve the other perspective. For example, if one tries to achieve outer peace in the world only, but does not deal with inner peace, then one's inner conflicts can be projected out onto the world, making it difficult to achieve outer peace--the supposed goal. Likewise, if one tries to achieve inner peace only, but does not pay attention to creating outer peace in the world, then the social injustices and structural violence in the world will make it more difficult for most people experiencing those conditions to be able to find inner peace--the supposed goal. Thus the achievement of either inner or outer peace helps create the conditions necessary for the creation of the other type of peace

Summary: Developing Indicators of Positive, Multicultural Visions of Peace

Concerning each of the areas of peace, it is interesting that from the examples cited above, Eastern cultures have made especially strong contributions in each of the last two more holistic areas of peace (environmental and inner spiritual), while Western cultures have made especially strong contributions in the previous four areas, focusing more on changes in the external world, including social justice and human rights issues, and women's issues. There are also a number of Western activists in the environmental area. In the anti-war/peace area, there is especially strong citizens' support for peace in the form of opposing the sending of national troops abroad in both Japan and Germany, due to the consequences of such actions in the past. It would appear that as different cultures and countries, there are important things that we can all learn from each other about the many dimensions of creating a peaceful world. Hopefully, we can move towards some kind of a global consensus on these issues over time...”

Top of the page

Is it Simply Boom, Interrupted?
GBN Website  www.gbn.org

This article asserts that the long-term conditions that drove high productivity growth are as strong as ever. Companies can in fact, expect to create "virtuous circles" with the right strategy and recognition that the most significant of these gains involve  improvements in information technology.  The author acknowledges the high likelihood of weak growth in the near term - perhaps even a brief recession, then asks the reader to consider three long-term scenarios of varying impacts on " research and development, mergers and acquisitions, and the equity markets  "

Scenario 1) Fundamentals “First, if the growth fundamentals of technology and globalization that have been powering the boom so far persist, then there is every reason to believe that the boom will resume. The return to high growth could come quickly, by the end of this year, following a V recession. Or, the return to high growth could take a bit longer if the near future is more like a U recession, where the recession could be slightly shallower, -1 or –2 percent, and last somewhat longer—say, a year or so. Recovery takes a bit longer as the restructuring and restoration of confidence stretches out. The implication of a U slowdown would be that growth will take off again by the middle of 2002. In either event, we would be seeing the boom take off again by the end of next year. And this time it is likely to be global in character as Europe and a recovered Asia also kick into high gear, joining the United States at a high growth rate of 3 to 5 percent.”

Scenario 2)  Technological Engines:  “A second possibility occurs if the technological engines of growth are weaker and the productivity gains of recent years were merely cyclical rather than structural. Then we may be in for a return to the slow growth of the '70s and '80s. We would see little increase in productivity, and the bureaucratic economies of Europe and Japan would be very slow to change. This could be exacerbated by higher energy prices raising inflationary pressures like they did in the '70s. The weak growth of the short-term U recession, or even the L recession, could develop into a sustained slump with no recovery in the near future. In this case, we might see long-term growth rates on the order of 1 to 2 percent.”

Scenario 3) L Recession:  “The third possibility is less likely but not impossible. Here, the L recession could turn into a full-blown stagnation or depression. A collapse of confidence and stock markets and a successful challenge to globalization could reverse the gains of recent years. A real collapse of the bubble, la Japan, but on a global basis, could create a vicious cycle: a falling stock market leads to falling confidence; which leads to less consumption; which leads to less investment, less trade, and more protectionism; which leads to rising inflation and falling stock markets—and back around. This is also a scenario that risks international conflict as trade tensions develop worldwide. Recovery would only come late in this decade with growth rates averaging around 0 to -1 percent.”

Top of the page

Four Human Resources Development Scenarios of the Future. Author: Joe Willmore Training & Development  Alexandria, Virginia, December, 1999.

Human Resource Departments, normally embedded in the back offices of organizations, appear at first to have very little in common with the world.   This article makes the exception.  Using the technique of scenario analysis, this author presents four scenarios that unfold a global outlook  for Human Resource Departments pondering the future of the workplace over the next five to seven years.

Scenario 1: Sub City   “In this picture of the future, the past five years have seen cataclysmic and increasingly violent events throughout the world. The second Korean conflict and armed efforts by the People's Republic of China to assimilate Taiwan have led to market jitters throughout the world and created a poor economic climate throughout Asia. Young, sophisticated, and well-educated professionals have fled the stagnant economies of their countries to pursue work and careers elsewhere. Referred to as the "new boat people," these expatriates serve as a metaphor for how training, performance, OD, and facilitation professionals have evolved.  Work in almost all organizations is increasingly project-driven with definable start and end dates. Most organizations mimic Charles Handy's shamrock model, with a small core of indispensable employees and a lot of temps and subcontractors. For the vast majority of HRD professionals, their role is that of subcontractor. Almost all HRD work and functions are now being outsourced. What few functions remain internal are done mostly by contract managers and HRD procurement specialists, whose job is to contract with and oversee the external contractors their organizations bring in as needed. A depiction of businesses by size looks like an hourglass-a lot of large businesses and sole proprietors, with practically no small or medium-sized firms. It has become too difficult for small and medium-sized firms to pay their overhead and operating expenses, so they must get much bigger or much smaller, even downsizing to one-person shops. Because of the time pressures in the new economy and the difficulty of finding people who are a good fit for specific roles within a project, sub work is highly lucrative-when subcontractors are working.  This is an organizational world driven by fads and an imperative to cut costs. Because of the rate and unpredictability of change, degree programs in the HRD field have trouble staying current and have begun to lose their value. Certification efforts have failed: The lacks of consensus on key competencies and frequent change in job requirements have left such programs eating dust. Certificate programs, however, are popular because they can be set up quickly to respond to emerging market demands. Contractors are relying less on credentials and evaluations and more on competency testing in order to make hiring decisions regarding HRD subcontractors.
 
At the same time, job demands are changing continuously-driven by fads, new demands by clients, or the expectations of a new contractor. The HRD profession has splintered into hundreds of subprofessions, and the competencies for each seem to change monthly. Because of the reliance on subcontractors, most organizations don't invest in upgrading their contractors; they just hire new people with the necessary competencies. Thus, individuals are solely responsible for their professional growth. Those who don't continually look for ways to grow find themselves unemployable. For HRD workers, life is transient and mobile, moving from one contract to the next.  In this scenario, it's common to see subcontractors' resumes that list 12 projects for 12 different contractors in four countries over a two-year period. Not even the U.S. government offers much security anymore. There's tremendous movement in and out of the HRD field. Conversely, the demographics of HRD roles show that there are an increasingly larger number of young entrants to the field. At the same time, the nature of project work makes it easy for older and semi-retired professionals to continue working on a limited basis. Thus, HRD workers are getting both younger and older, while middle-aged professionals are leaving the field to try to find work with more financial and lifestyle stability.”

Scenario 2: A boundaryless world   “How ironic: In this scenario in which governments continue to erect new barriers and create divisions between countries, interaction and networking among professionals worldwide are proliferating. The former Soviet Union continues to splinter into smaller, separate nation What signs are warning signals that any of these scenarios is developing? What career strategy plays out well for each of the scenarios? states, what was once Nigeria is now three separate countries, and the secession of Quebec has sent reverberations throughout North America. The trade wars that swept through the world economy in 2002, have led to the disintegration of NAFTA and the European Union. National barriers abound. And yet, professional networks, links, and collaboration have reached unprecedented levels. Informal communities are now the norm, having been partly driven by an emerging set of common needs and competencies around learning, networking, and use of technology. These communities are facilitated by the widespread dissemination of groupware and information technology. Though the nature of HRD work and roles is diverse, everyone is a consultant.

The prevailing organizational model in this scenario is referred to as a "swarm" or "virus" because organizations are fluid and highly adaptive, and their forms are ever-changing. These collaborative organizations pull in professionals as needed, and they change in size, composition, location, and focus on the basis of the task at hand.  There's no longer any effort to distinguish between internal and external practitioners because such a distinction is meaningless in this economic environment. To be successful in such a world requires strong team skills, a great ease with chaos and free-form work, and tremendous networking and linking abilities. No one can afford to work alone anymore; those that do don't last long. Even large-scale manufacturing has converted to just in time, lean production and outsourced most components. Large efforts are usually a combination of several temporary strategic alliances and collaborative arrangements, often between competitors… Given the informal and ever-changing nature of organizational affiliation, it's understandable that businesses have now given up most responsibility for developing employees' skills. Instead, people have almost total responsibility for their development. The profession and key competencies are stable, but the glut of information, the need to keep up with it, and fluid networks make for a continuously evolving world for HRD professionals. Thus, they spend most of their time learning and connecting rather than performing.”

Scenario 3: Caste system  “More than halfway through the first decade of the new millennium, the corporate mergers so prevalent in the nineties continued to proliferate. The world now sees new global conglomerates that span multiple industries. Through mergers and a new class of multinational executives, merged firms typically have strong ties to many nations and don't depend on one country as a base of operations. Nor are most of these fh-ms from the usual places such as the Pacific Rim, North America, and Western Europe. Russian oligarchs, Brazilian software giants, and Israeli-Palestinian consortiums are sudden entrants to this group of corporate behemoths.  There's a clear dividing line between firms with the right stuff and those that aren't long for this world. The best of the big firms have found ways to capture and leverage knowledge, and they invest heavily in intellectual capital. They're ruthless predators and have found that certain human assets have direct links to strategic targets. They publish annual reports in color that score human performance and assess the value of nonfinancial assets. Though big organizations, their corporate staffs are lean. Anything or anyone that isn't shown to have a direct, tangible, quantifiable payoff to business results is discarded.  For HRD professionals, a clear set of competencies has emerged. To be able to hold a job at one of these big firms requires expertise in ROI, measurement, and evaluation. All HRD initiatives are driven by major strategic goals and evaluated by quantitative measures, usually reflected as a form of business results. With clear competencies for HRD identified, informal certification efforts have begun to blossom, However, they tend to be specific to an individual corporation rather than industry-wide…”

Scenario 4: The silo economy    “The wave of consolidation has reached tidal proportions. The number of competing firms within any particular industry continues to diminish as businesses acquire market share by buying out competitors. Part of what's driving that is economy of scale. In addition, the market crash of 2001, which sent Asia into another tailspin, reversed U.S. growth, and slammed the world economy, has led to excess capacity so firms continue to consolidate. There are several implications of these global-sector consolidations:  Associations have been devastated as the number of potential members and exhibitors dropped. A state of near monopoly exists in most industries.  Though it's rare for any firm to have a presence in more than one sector, the age of big conglomerates has passed.  Mass customization is the key organizational imperative. Customers expect products and services to be tailored to their individual circumstances.

Given the tremendous splintering and diversity of markets around the world, that means successful organizations either specialize in niche markets or master the ability to adapt to individual circumstances. For example, a buyer of a new computer fills out a 200-question survey and Microsoft's operating system adjusts the software setup, options, and keys automatically to his or her needs and level of expertise when the PC is first plugged in. The evolution from cookies to brownies in the operating software instructs each Website how to reconfigure itself on the basis of the user's interests and Web savvy. …Despite the global and interrelated nature of the economies, HRD professionals are finding themselves in a series of separate but parallel worlds driven by the industry or sector they work in. Some sectors (IT, software, and systems integration) invest heavily in human development. High-tech firms provide extensive support for HRD initiatives, but industries such as finance, health care, and manufacturing hold employees responsible for their professional development, learning, and "credentialing." HRD staff in such organizations have little support, funding, or perceived value.  Even the focus and competencies for HRD vary by industry. Practitioners in manufacturing sectors are required to have strong backgrounds in quality and ISO….  Job security is a double-edged sword. With the number of firms in each industry shrinking through consolidation, HRD slots are decreasing. However, given the emphasis on industry experience, there are usually only a few candidates for the open slots. So, for HRD professionals at firms that are doing the acquiring, security is good. Entry into the field usually comes from working in the industry in a non-HRD-related position and then moving into the HRD role…”

Top of the page

Futurology --- Futures Off the Shelf: What's around the bend?
Authors have come up with numerous scenarios -- but they're not pretty. Wall Street Journal, 2001

Most literary visions of the 21st century and beyond, assume things like human control over all things;nature giving out; more dictatorship except with technology;  less tolerance for weakness and error (especially in the tabloids); control and safety issues becoming more important than  social goals.  This article reviews a number of science fiction novels; some drawing rather plausible scenarios of the human condition.

Scenario 1)  No Pain    “People suffer no pain, either psychological or physical, in Lois Lowry's novel "The Giver," set in an unspecified time in the future. At the first nip of discomfort, physical pain is treated with relief-of-pain pills. Psychological pain is addressed by confining all human memory to the mind of one person, the Receiver, who is also the only living being who remembers such anachronisms as colors, snow, sand and the sun. To protect people from their own emotional quagmires, spouses are selected based on compatibility, and parents never raise the children they bear. Those too old to work get a cheerful retirement party and a fatal shot in the arm. There's no unemployment or crime. Everything is perfect except for one problem: Nobody wants to be the next Receiver. Once the Receiver trainees realize what's been sacrificed for perfect security, they want to come back to the pain and pleasure of our time.”

Scenario 2) Rational Reproduction     “The old-fashioned, inefficient way people bear children now will soon be replaced by technologically sophisticated methods; babies will be created in brown glass bottles and men will have the ability to breast-feed. In Thomas M. Disch's "334," the Revised Genetic Testing Act, passed in 2011, determines who may reproduce based on their intelligence, heredity and physical condition. Everyone gets a Regents score, and a score of less than 25 -- which is true of some 12 million people -- makes them ineligible to pass their genes along. Disch's hero, Birdie Ludd, does badly on one test, which involves choosing the funniest punch line from four choices and trying to tie two ropes together with pliers. On another test, a man got a top grade by thinking of 131 different ways to use a brick in 10 minutes. Disch's vision is darkly comic, but this is another future you'll be happy you missed.”

Scenario 3)  Class System   “The main characters of Paul Theroux's 1986 novel "O-Zone" are Owners, wealthy people who can afford to live in tall buildings protected from the riffraff below. Other people are lowly workers or, worse, aliens known as Trolls or Skells, who roam the countryside looting, burning, robbing and killing. In New York, the wealthy have sealed themselves up behind high walls and heavily guarded entry points; even the Owners must contend with constant and random ID checks, patrols, scanners, sniffers and searchers. O-Zone, an abbreviation for Outer Zone, is an enormous part of middle America that was abandoned because of contamination from nuclear waste. Deserted, primeval and overgrown, O-Zone becomes irresistible to the few who dare to see it.”

Scenario 4) What Utopia Looks Like   “Connie Ramos, a young woman who has been committed to a mental institution in the 1970s, can time-travel to the year 2137 in Marge Piercy's futurist novel "Woman on the Edge of Time." Connie expects the future to be filled with steel cities and high-altitude traffic jams, but her hermaphroditic guide to the 22nd century explains that big cities "didn't work." Instead, humans have returned to their bucolic roots, tending fields, fishing, capturing power from the wind, sun and compost heaps, living in modest but comfortable cottages with plenty of privacy for meditation and composing songs. Everyone gets a sabbatical from productive work every seven years. Luxuries like jewels, vases and paintings circulate to everyone through libraries. Public speeches are limited to five minutes. The greatest crime is greed. Previous centuries, says one character, were "such fat, wasteful, thing-filled times."

Scenario 5) Everything Bad Gets Worse “In William Gibson's 1993 novel "Virtual Light," all the bad taste and overkill of the '90s has grown to appalling proportions: There's a mutual self-help euthanasia group called Cease Upon the Midnight, or CUTM -- "Cut 'em," the paramedics call them. In groups of eight or nine, CUTMs take legal drug overdoses, leaving milk and cookies for the emergency crews. Meanwhile, the surgeon general is trying to outlaw convertibles because they promote skin cancer. There's a gun called a chunker that shoots air-powered cubes of rubber -- it can fire around corners, and close up, it can cut a sheet of plywood in half. You see? Everything is just a little bit worse. A cataclysm might be preferable.”

Scenario 6)  Great Gizmos   “Rip Van Winkle becomes real in H.G. Wells's "When the Sleeper Wakes," the story of a man who falls into a cataleptic trance for 200 years and awakens to a world of strange mechanical devices. There are elaborate moving sidewalks; three-dimensional images projected in space; and television that's called "kineto-tele-photographs." Even writing in the 19th century, Wells had an amazing vision of the 22nd century, except perhaps for the language. The population of London is said to be "Eight and twaindy myriads" (23 million), and a barber is known as a capillotomist.”

Top of the page

Global Trends  2015. Report prepared under the direction of the National Intelligence Council (NIC).

Any good futurist in his or her right mind needs to spend a few days in solitary with a  map of the world at-hand while reading this seminal report. The study, "Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future with Nongovernment Experts" was prepared under the direction of the National Intelligence Council (NIC) and approved for publication by the National Foreign Intelligence Board under the authority of the Director of  Central Intelligence. The best part is this - the full report is on the web:http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/globaltrends2015.   It is easily readable, clear-cut in and segments the entire world by region, with clear implications of global trends trickling into alternative regional futures with commentary from world renowned experts and world organizations.    Some of the major conferences co-sponsored by the NIC with other government and private centers in support of Global Trends 2015 included:  - Foreign Reactions to the Revolution in Military Affairs (Georgetown University); Evolution of the Nation-State (University of Maryland); Trends in Democratization (CIA and academic experts).  The list is quite extensive.   Four Alternative Global Futures:

Scenario 1): Inclusive Globalization: “ A virtuous circle develops among technology, economic growth, demographic factors, and effective governance, which enables a majority of the world's people to benefit from globalization. Technological development and diffusion—in some cases triggered by severe environmental or health crises—are utilized to grapple effectively with some problems of the developing world. Robust global economic growth—spurred by a strong policy consensus on economic liberalization—diffuses wealth widely and mitigates many demographic and resource problems. Governance is effective at both the national and international levels. In many countries, the state's role shrinks, as its functions are privatized or performed by public-private partnerships, while global cooperation intensifies on many issues through a variety of international arrangements. Conflict is minimal within and among states benefiting from globalization. A minority of the world's people—in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and the Andean region—do not benefit from these positive changes, and internal conflicts persist in and around those countries left behind.”

Scenario 2: Pernicious Globalization:  “Global elites thrive, but the majority of the world's population fails to benefit from globalization. Population growth and resource scarcities place heavy burdens on many developing countries, and migration becomes a major source of interstate tension. Technologies not only fail to address the problems of developing countries but also are exploited by negative and illicit networks and incorporated into destabilizing weapons. The global economy splits into three: growth continues in developed countries; many developing countries experience low or negative per capita growth, resulting in a growing gap with the developed world; and the illicit economy grows dramatically. Governance and political leadership are weak at both the national and international levels. Internal conflicts increase, fueled by frustrated expectations, inequities, and heightened communal tensions; WMD proliferate and are used in at least one internal conflict.”

Scenario 3) : Regional Competition “Regional identities sharpen in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, driven by growing political resistance in Europe and East Asia to US global preponderance and US-driven globalization and each region's increasing preoccupation with its own economic and political priorities. There is an uneven diffusion of technologies, reflecting differing regional concepts of intellectual property and attitudes towards biotechnology. Regional economic integration in trade and finance increases, resulting in both fairly high levels of economic growth and rising regional competition. Both the state and institutions of regional governance thrive in major developed and emerging market countries, as governments recognize the need to resolve pressing regional problems and shift responsibilities from global to regional institutions. Given the preoccupation of the three major regions with their own concerns, countries outside these regions in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia have few places to turn for resources or political support. Military conflict among and within the three major regions does not materialize, but internal conflicts increase in and around other countries left behind.”

Scenario 4: Post-Polar World   US domestic preoccupation increases as the US economy slows, then stagnates. Economic and political tensions with Europe grow, the US-European alliance deteriorates as the United States withdraws its troops, and Europe turns inward, relying on its own regional institutions. At the same time, national governance crises create instability in Latin America, particularly in Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, and Panama, forcing the United States to concentrate on the region. Indonesia also faces internal crisis and risks disintegration, prompting China to provide the bulk of an ad hoc peacekeeping force. Otherwise, Asia is generally prosperous and stable, permitting the United States to focus elsewhere. Korea's normalization and de facto unification proceed, China and Japan provide the bulk of external financial support for Korean unification, and the United States begins withdrawing its troops from Korea and Japan. Over time, these geostrategic shifts ignite longstanding national rivalries among the Asian powers, triggering increased military preparations and hitherto dormant or covert WMD programs. Regional and global institutions prove irrelevant to the evolving conflict situation in Asia, as China issues an ultimatum to Japan to dismantle its nuclear program and Japan—invoking its bilateral treaty with the US—calls for US reengagement in Asia under adverse circumstances at the brink of a major war. Given the priorities of Asia, the Americas, and Europe, countries outside these regions are marginalized, with virtually no sources of political or financial support.

Generalizations Across the Scenarios:  The four scenarios can be grouped in two pairs: the first pair contrasting the "positive" and "negative" effects of globalization; the second pair contrasting intensely competitive but not conflictual regionalism and the descent into regional military conflict.  In all but the first scenario, globalization does not create widespread global cooperation. Rather, in the second scenario, globalization's negative effects promote extensive dislocation and conflict, while in the third and fourth, they spur regionalism. In all four scenarios, countries negatively affected by population growth, resource scarcities and bad governance, fail to benefit from globalization, are prone to internal conflicts, and risk state failure.  In all four scenarios, the effectiveness of national, regional, and international governance and at least moderate but steady economic growth are crucial.  In all four scenarios, US global influence wanes.

Top of the page

Future of Food.  Author: Sohail Inayatullah
Sohail Inayatullah is Professor, Department of Futures Studies, Tamkang University.

The author makes the argument that there are generally two foundational futures. One is the traditional perspective of globalization/technologization - that "all things rise - more progress., more technology, more development, more wealth, more individuality". The  other perspective is based on transformation; transformation by those "marginal in the system" - women, youth; and values that tend to be more spiritual, grassroots centered,  green, and with an attitude such as,  "wise and moral  use of technology".  The West follow the first perspective, the non-West the latter. In fact, recent history shows an oscillation back-and-forth, with the West being fed the Non-West perspective to feed its ego.    Then, there is the third perspective - a return to the imagined past - "where men were men, women were women, life was slower, predictable, reality was confined within nations, and there was little leakage in terms of the mobility of ideas, capital, nature and labour." Sohail, in this very comprehensive report, writes a number of chapters on the Western world view, case studies, structure of the future, the Non-West, Sarkar's contribution to the future, Sarkar's vision of the future, the microvita revolution. The report also includes scenarios of the future - two visions where the first perspective represents an exponential curve; the other a spiral curve. These scenarios capture global trends such as disintermediation, aging, multiculturalism, the rights movement, global governance, framing them in a much more integrative context of larger pattern of change with these scenarios.

Scenario 1:  Globalized Artificial Future The globalized scenario is high technology and economy driven. Extreme features include, the right to plastic surgery and an airplane for each person. Generally, the vision is of endless travel and shopping, and a global society where we all have fun and all our desires are met. It is the Western vision of paradise. Food, while plentiful, in this scenario is identity based, i.e. food that defines self. Food is fun, food is exotic (Thai or Indian). Food is also mixed, e.g. Tex-Mex. Agricultural, as mentioned earlier, while at one level considered dirty, at another level, it is not considered at all, even if the reality is that world population increases require increased food production. Food, like other commodities, should be not scarce. It definitely should be globalized, all sorts easily available wherever one is. This is part of the postmodern thrust, of having all perspectives quickly and easily available. In the long run, in this future, food will move from globalized food to transgenic food, moving not just from cultural diversity (many types of food) to genetically engineered food. For example, "the world market for transgenic products is projected to increase to $8billion in 2005 and 25$ billion in 2010. Corporate transactions related to ventures in GM seeds, agro-chemicals and research, valued at more than $ 15billion (from 1996-1999) is expected to keep pace." Ajay Singh, op cit, 73. Overtime, food, will merge with pharmaceuticals, with the creation of functional foods, created for particular health needs.

Rural communities will be so not because they are agricultural based but because they are different from the city, indeed, they provide areas of respite for Earth as City: City as planet. Rurality may become redefined as areas of elite wealth and not as areas of cultural backwardness, as areas of limited choice, as, for example, the Australian Bush or the South Asian village are seen today… The underlying ethos is that technology can solve every problem and lead to genuine human progress.  At a grand level, this vision of the future challenges traditional notions of truth, reality, nature, Man and sovereignty. Truth is now considered multiple, socially constructed. Reality is physical but as well virtual (cyberspace). Nature is no longer considered fixed but can be challenged and changed by humans, largely through genetic manipulation. While previously human evolution was stable, with cultural evolution quicker and technological evolution the quickest, now the technology has the potential to quicker human biological evolution itself. This fundamentally shifts the tension between culture and technology, to technology and biology, leaving culture where? The category has been has been deconstructed by feminists and shown to be historically constructed. And finally economic globalization makes sovereignty problematic and cultural globalization makes the sovereignty of the self (one stable self) porous, leading to far more liminal selves. The impact of this vision and the underlying trends in the food area are singular. Genetically modified foods that are the solution, especially since global agricultural production has been steadily declining since the Green Revolution of the 1960s' and will continue to do so at 1.8% a year. With population increasing, along with a purchasing power (and technology and gene) divide, food production must dramatically increase.”

Scenario 2)  Communicative-Inclusive:  In contrast is the communicative-inclusive society, which is values driven. Consumption of every possible good in this scenario is far less important to communication. It is learning from another about another that is crucial. While technology is important, the morality of those inventing and using it is far more important. Instead of solving the world's food problem through the genetic engineering of food, the reorganization of society and softer more nature-oriented alternatives such as organic foods are far more important. The goal is not to create a world that leads to the fulfillment of desire but one wherein desire is reduced (the Buddhist perspective) or channeled to spiritual and cultural pursuits. While earlier incarnations of the scenario were to make everyone into a worker (the Marxian distribution dream) or everyone into a shudra (a worker, the Gandhian sentiment) or a peasant (the Maoist), recent articulations are far more sophisticated and focused on what Sarkar See, P.R. Sarkar, Prama. Calcutta, Ananda Marga Publications, 1987. has called Prama – or dynamic balance. Prama means inner balance (of material/spiritual), regional balance (of nations, no one nation can be rich if the neighbor is poor), of industrial/agricultural production (not leaving the land but seeing it as part of national development) and of economic balance (self-reliance in basic needs plus export orientation of non-essentials).

Of course, in the USA, where only 2% work directly in the agricultural sector, balance should be defined differently. However, As Steve Diver argues in "Farming the Future," "Though a  dramatic increase in the farm sector is not appropriate in a developed economy, clearly more people would take up farming were it economically feasible.  In addition, when so many people are removed from the land and the experience of living and working around Nature, a cumulative collective psychological effect of dislocation and disconnectedness from self and one's environment is likely.  Indeed, eco-psychologists suggest that many of the social ills present in industrialized countries are the result of such an imbalance. " Steve Diver, "Farming the Future," in Sohail Inayatullah and Jennifer Fitzgerald, eds. Transcending Boundaries: P.R. Sarkar's Theories of Individual and Social Transformation. Maleny, Australia and Ananda Nagar, India, Gurukul Publications, 1999.

Along with balance, in this future, is diversity. In particular the pitfalls of reliance on genetic intervention are crucial here since they threaten biodiversity. Indeed, the Irish potato famine of the 1840s is largely because everyone plotted one crop. "Had the crop been biodiverse, the catastrophe would not have occurred."  The alternative scenario gains credence as well since the logical conclusion of gm foods are nano-foods, or the fabled meal-in-a-pill. Of course, the pill will not tasteless or odourless or emotionless – eating it will be a real virtual programmed experience. The pill will not just provide nutrients but evoke emotions, stimulate glands and for all practical purposes be everything we currently and historically associate with eating. Of course, the meal-in-a-pill still has to be invented but when it does, the issue will be what type of social situation will go with it. Once the collective meal is lost, what society will result? What ways then will there be to slow time down, to connect with others? It is these concerns that the communicative-inclusive scenario articulates and presents. Far more important than the meal-in-a-pill is the communicative nature of eating, of the importance of work for those producing food and of the social design of food producers (not collectives nor corporations but cooperatives, sharing land and wealth)…

The underlying perspective is that of a global ethics with a deep commitment that communication and consciousness transformation can solve all our problems. The trends that underlie this scenario are as with the earlier scenario challenges to Truth, Reality, Nature, Man and Sovereignty but with a different angle. Instead of genetic science it is new paradigms in physics. Instead of a world ruled by multinations, it is the growth of green parties that is far more important.  Truth and Reality are seen as both ultimate (spiritual) and physical. It is multi-perspective in that we make are own realities, however, there is an underlying non-constructed unity to reality – that of a moral universe driver by cause-effect. In one word: karma. This comes out from the growth of the spiritual movements and cosmological exchange (the non-West creating cultural bridgeheads in the West) as well as through the dramatic new health paradigm, which while essentially spiritual focuses on integrating mind-body, seeing both as essential to well-being. Nature, however, is not be tampered with. Urbanization is the problem and nature is given, indeed, a sacred trust given to humanity. Man is contested as humans are among the many species on the planet – nature, with spiritual entities, Gaia herself. Sovereignty is challenged as nation-states are considered passe' – part of the problem. A solution could be a planetary civilization based on the self-reliance model.

However, this scenario should not be seen as anti-technology, although there are certainly groups that prefer aspects of this vision who are more luddite than others. But most likely technological is likely to be driven by ethical values. For example, technology could be used to give information on the caloric count of foods, so as to avoid high-fat foods. These health-bots could also immediately let one know the level of pollutants in the food, where the food was produced, and over time the social conditions that the food was produced in. Thus the net, cellular phones could be used to transform globalization from within, giving consumers information on products so that they could make choices consistent with their worldviews. Technology would thus serve as a moral guide, an angel over one's shoulder, helping one do the right thing. However, while this is a change in paradigm, at a deeper cosmological level, it is not a foundational change, in that this scenario represents the alter-ego of the West. It is the West, contracting searching for that identity it has unconsciously repressed.

Top of the page

Hello 21st Century – A Letter to the Year 2100. Author: Roger Rosenblatt, Time Magazine, Jan 1, 2000. Vol. 155 No. 1.

A Letter To The Year 2100 by Roger Rosenblatt, one of the most exceptional writers and commentators of sociel trends.  A Letter to the Year 2100:  “Dear America,  Are you wearing pajamas? I do not mean to begin this letter by getting personal. I was just wondering if you people leave the house anymore--something that seems to be increasingly unnecessary these days, a hundred years ago. Not that leaving the house is always a good idea. Outside lies the wide and brittle world of wars, gunplay, scandal, disease, superstition, categorical hatreds, willful ignorance, envy, pettiness and cant. In your perfected age, all such things undoubtedly have been eradicated.  Are you six-feet-six? Are you fly-fishing on Mars? Are you talking on a cell phone? We are, usually. We are talking on a cell phone as we walk among the blazing office towers and the gridlocked SUVs, along a frozen sidewalk on the Avenue of the Americas in New York City, from which we call a colleague in an airplane who,  while speaking to us, is faxing an application for a Platinum card and e-mailing a color photo of his beaming children, taken with a digital camera and put on a CD, to a screen in his home in Connecticut, where the kids are playing Pokemon (don't ask) or dancing to Livin' la Vida Loca (don't ask), before he trades a hundred shares of Microsoft, transfers some cash, buys a Palm Pilot for his wife (who's doing Pilates at the health club this afternoon), auctions off the cabin in Vermont, then orders one set of tickets to a black-tie dinner for breast cancer and another to the latest off-off-off-Broadway play, about a man talking on a cell phone as he walks among the blazing office towers and gridlocked SUVs, along a frozen sidewalk on the Avenue of the Americas.

As lovers leaving lovers say, By the time you read this, I'll be gone. Or possibly I won't. Given the way life is being prolonged these days, I—with my pig's liver, titanium hips and knees, artificial heart, transplanted kidney and reconstructed DNA--could write this letter in my century and pick it up in yours. ("Dear Me"--the perfect address for a solipsistic time.) No thanks. It is enough to be able to send these words across the abyss of years to tell something of who we are. We are members of a narrative species, you and I--two eras connected by a story that changes just enough to keep it interesting.” For continuation, see original article.

Top of the page

A Global Good Morning With a Cup of Coffee and a Click, the World Comes to you Each Morning. Author: John R. Moran, The Hartford Courant  06/15/98, STATEWIDE; Issue: PSA-2117; MAIN (A) Section.

One of the most popular techniques used to contemplate the future is the "scenario," a vision of what that future, might look like. The following story, drawn from interviews with a variety of futurists, is one such scenario of what life might be like in the future.

In the Year 2020, the newspaper doesn't land on the doorstep anymore. “Instead, it downloads silently into the home at daybreak. And there it waits, a bundle of digits in the home computer network, until someone summons it to a screen.  But on this particular morning, some two decades hence, a suburban resident named Jim decides he wants his news the old-fashioned way: on paper.  "I don't care how good these computer monitors get," Jim thinks, as he sips his morning coffee. "I still prefer holding a newspaper in my hands to browsing online."  With that, Jim touches a button and the printer begins generating a hard copy of the day's news.  Still, this newspaper is not the one-size-fits-all version of yesteryear; some of it is customized according to Jim's preferences. He's a big sports fan, for example, so his version of the sports section is extra large, with special emphasis on his favorite teams.  Otherwise, the newspaper itself looks pretty much the same as a generation ago -- a varied collection of photos, stories, graphics and advertising. The paper quality is better, of course. All the photos are in color. And the ink never smudges.  But, in this scenario of what the future might hold in the Year 2020, the headlines often seem like they're from another planet.  WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Census Bureau today announced the world's population has topped 7.5 billion people -- up roughly 25 percent since the turn of the century…  Most of the growth is occurring in developing nations, while populations in Japan, the United States, Russia and much of Europe are actually falling, the bureau reported… There is also evidence that the world's overall population growth is slowing much more quickly than had once been forecast. Total global population is now expected to fall well short of 10 billion when it tops out in another 30 years.  "The Earth's population is reaching a plateau," a bureau spokesman said. "People are simply not having as many kids."  Some hailed the news as a boon to the environment and to efforts to ease global poverty. But others, fearing that low birth rates could undermine economic growth, immediately called for new government subsidies to encourage parenthood…Scientists now believe lifespans of 100 years and beyond may be common by the year 2050. ...  "Hmmm," Jim thinks. "Better not forget to take my vitamin supplement. Better beef up my 401(k) contributions, too. I could be here for a while."
His eyes drift down the page . . . PARIS -- Thirty-five countries walked out of the United Nations today in a dispute over creation of a global military force. Dissenters, citing a backlash by staunch nationalists, said they feared a global military force was the final step in building a world government to override national sovereignty.  The dispute emerged just days after most nations had agreed to strengthen various global organizations, including the United Nations, the World Court and Interpol.  Supporters said that agreement had signaled a growing recognition that the Earth's most pressing problems -- environmental decay, terrorism, narcotics trafficking, money laundering and poverty -- are not confined within national borders. Because the problems are international, the solutions must be international as well, they said.  Leaders also pointed out how the world's peoples and economies are locked together more closely than ever before. Massive growth of international commerce over the Internet has transformed everything from retailing to stock trading, they noted.  Fueling the advancement of these multinational governing bodies over the last 25 years has been the worldwide spread of democratic forms of government. Only a comparative handful of dictatorships and kingdoms have survived to 2020.. . . Jim stops a moment to ponder how this announcement might affect his business, a virtual consulting group with branch offices in 14 nations worldwide.  "Tougher enforcement of anti-ocean dumping laws would be great," he thinks. "But a global army and police force could mean an increase in taxes."  Jim turns to his voice-recognition system and dictates a video-mail message to his United Nations representative.  WASHINGTON -- Feminists from around the world gathered today to celebrate the inauguration of the first woman president and woman vice president of the United States. The event was hailed as a landmark advance for women, shattering one of nation's most enduring "glass ceilings." For continuation of scenario, including news from San Francisco, New Delhi, Johannesburg in 2020, see original article.

Top of the page

The World in 2020: Towards a New Global Age.  Anonymous, Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics OECD, 10/10/98.

This article sets out a broad vision of the world economy in the year 2020 where all countries have the potential of participating actively in the global economy, covering such closely linked fields as trade, investment, taxation, social stability, technology and the environment. It outlines a report that was prepared by an interdisciplinary team of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretariat. The report presents two alternative visions of the world economy in the year 2020, namely a slow-track reform and adjustment scenario (a `business-as-usual' - low growth - scenario) and a high performance (high growth) vision of the world economy.

Business as Usual: this scenario suggests a continuation of current trends and leads to only modest growth constraining the potential for human progress. It assumes less trade and investment liberalization and slower progress on domestic policy reforms especially in the areas of fiscal consolidation, removal of domestic subsidies and structural policies.

High Growth: this scenario embodies a more optimistic outlook based on an acceleration of policy reform, with the promise of greater human well-being, better integration of developing countries, enhanced international security and a world-wide reduction in poverty. The high performance vision seeks to portray a plausible scenario for the world economy if national governments undertake a wide range of necessary policy reforms. In this context, the report deals with some of the key economic, social and environmental policy challenges for realizing a `New Global Age' and sets out some policy implications for the role of international organizations, including the OECD, in helping to achieve the goal.”
 
The report observes that under the high growth scenario, the GDP growth in the OECD countries is estimated at the same rate as 2.9 per cent per annum as in the past 25 years as compared to a growth rate of 1.7 per cent in the low growth scenario in the decade to 2020. In the non-OECD economies, the underlying growth potentials being significantly higher than in the OECD economies and with sound policies providing an additional growth impulse, the growth rate is estimated around 2.5 percentage points over the next 25 years and the GDP growth rate averaging 6.7 per cent per annum in the high growth scenario. In the low growth scenario, the growth performance of non-OECD economies is not forecast to improve over the past 25 years. High future growth in the non-OECD economies can be expected to result from an interaction of a combination of factors: expansion and upgrade of the quality of labour force, high rates of saving and capital accumulation, investment in human and physical capital and fast total factor productivity growth, intersectoral resource transfers and strong productivity performance.
The report notes that close linkages between the economies of OECD and non-OECD countries are beneficial for sustained economic growth, improving living standards. eliminating poverty and promoting environmental sustainability, which will strengthen the foundations of global political stability. A window of opportunity has been opened for improving welfare, and for moving along an accelerated path toward sustainable development by shifting economies on a higher performance growth path. The report outlines the major challenges that have to be tackled, which include liberalization of trade, investment and financial flows, strengthening the rules-based multilateral system to facilitate a deepening of economic integration between the world's economies. The report recognizes that the New Global Age will not materialize automatically. It emphasizes the need for making significant and concerted efforts to secure the stability of macro economic policy to facilitate large-scale structural reform and define innovative approaches. “

Top of the page

21 Ideas for the 21st Century. Authors: Peter Coy, Neil Gross,  Business Week, 08/23/99 Issue 3644, p78, 4p, 1c.

Business Week introduces a special section that looks at a multiple number of scenarios for the twenty-first century. In this summer special report, there is a compilation of  ``21 Ideas for the 21st Century” - a set of propositions, concepts, and vignettes from  meditations on empty forests to the outlook for urban sprawl and the immortality of the mind noted in the scenario with the headline, ``The earth will don an electronic skin''  and ``Creatures on the fringe hold secrets of life''  The special report is built on the concept that,  the more possibilities that can be entertained, the less likely we are to be blindsided.  Scenarios include:

Recipe from the Internet:  A world in which it is possible to download from the Internet the ``recipe'' for a cell phone, to be assembled at home in an oven-size device called a nanobox. Such boxes would radically reshape the manufacturing sector of the economy.

Quantum Computers:  Computers that utilize bizarre quantum effects to solve problems with the equivalent of a roll of the dice.

Quantum Learning:  “Should you drum math and science into your kid's resisting brain when, in a mere 20 years, she will be fitted with embedded chips that make her far smarter than Stephen Hawking, or be able to pop a pill to achieve the same effect?”

Other Speculations:  a world of 2,000 nations; high schools may not wither away; giant utilities remain the energy suppliers of choice; business, after experimenting with management by teams, decide to become leaderless corporations that in turn,  decide that what they really want are iron-fisted CEOs.  According to BT Laboratories Futurologist Ian Pearson, the future of technology could be a world in which people on telephones try to make customer representatives angry because it's the only way to tell that they're people and not computers. ``The fridge has time locks on the door and a video camera watching what you take out,'' he writes on the British telephone company's Web site. ``It won't allow the microwave to cook it because it contains too many calories. Kitchen rage is becoming a major social problem.''  For more, see this special issue.

Top of the page

Four Visions of the 21st Century Ahead: Will it be Start Trek, Ecotopia, Big Government or Mad Max? Author: Robert Costanza, Futurist, Feb 99, Vol 33 Issue 2, p23, 6p, 3c, 1bw.

Lays out four visions of what the 21st century will be like. The author, a professor of ecological economics, a  future that reflects fundamental choices: technological optimism or skepticism, free markets or communitarianism. According to the author, “the most challenging task facing humanity today is the creation of a shared vision of a sustainable and desirable society, one that can provide permanent prosperity within the biophysical constraints of the real world in a way that is fair and equitable to all of humanity, to other species, and to future generations. This vision does not now exist, although the seeds are there. We all have our own private visions of the world we really want, and we need to overcome our fears and skepticism and begin to share these visions and build on them, until we have built a vision of the world we want…To start the dialogue and move quickly to public judgment, we may consider issues in the form of "visions" or scenarios.” This article lays out four such visions, each presented as a "future history" written from the vantage point of the year 2100.

Star Trek: The Default Technological Optimist Vision:  Humans venture into space, buoyed by technological optimism and cheap, clean fuel. “The turning point came in 2012, when population pressure was mounting and natural resources were being strained. The greenhouse effect caused by burning fossil fuel was beginning to cause some major disruptions. But the development of practical fusion energy allowed a rapid reduction of global fossil-fuel burning to practically zero by the year 2050, eventually reversing the greenhouse effect. Fusion energy was infinitely better and cheaper than any alternative, and it was inexhaustible.  Air pollution was essentially eliminated between 2015 and 2050, as cars were converted to clean-burning hydrogen produced with energy from fusion reactors. Electricity for homes, factories, and other uses came increasingly from fusion, so the old, risky nuclear fission reactors were gradually decommissioned; even some hydropower stations were eliminated to return some great rivers to their wild state. In particular, the dams along the Columbia River-in Oregon were completely eliminated by 2050, allowing the wild salmon runs and spawning grounds to be reestablished.” For more on energy, population by 2050, and food production, see original article.

Mad Max: The Technological Skeptic's Nightmare:  Ecological systems are a complete shambles as the greenhouse effect kicks in. “The turning point came in 2012, when the world's oil production finally peaked and the long slide down started. The easy-to-get oil was simply exhausted, and the price started to rise rapidly. All the predictions about the rapidly rising price of oil causing new, cheaper alternatives to emerge just never came to pass. There were no cheaper alternatives--only more-expensive ones. Oil was so important in the economy that the price of everything else was tied to it, and the alternatives just kept getting more expensive at the same rate. Solar energy continues to be the planet's major power source --through agriculture, fisheries, and forestry--but direct conversion using photovoltaics never achieved the price/performance ratios to allow it to compete, even with coal.  Of course, it didn't really matter anyway, because the greenhouse effect was kicking in, and the earth's climate and ecological systems were in a complete shambles. Rising sea levels inundated most of the Netherlands, as well as big chunks of Bangladesh, Florida, Louisiana, and other low-lying coastal areas, by about 2050.” For more on financial markets in 2016, physical and social infrastructures, viruses in 2025, and distribution of wealth, see original article.

Big Government: Public Interest Trumps Private Enterprise:  Strict regulation keeps technological and economic development at slow, safe pace. “The turning point came in 2012, when the corporate charter of General Motors was revoked by the U.S. federal government for failing to pursue the public interest. Even though GM had perfected the electric car, it had failed to make its breakthrough battery technology available to other car makers, even on a licensing basis. It preferred, instead, to retain a monopoly on electric cars, to produce them exclusively in China with cheap labor, and to gouge the public with high prices for them. After a series of negotiations broke down, government lawyers decided to invoke their almost forgotten power to revoke a corporation's charter and made the technology public property. This caused such a panic through corporate America that a complete rethinking of the corporate/public relationship took place, which left the government and the public with much more control over corporate behavior.  Strict government regulations had kept the development of fusion energy slow while safety issues were being fully explored. No one wanted a repeat of fission energy's problems: The Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents were nothing compared to the meltdown of one of France's fission breeder reactors in 2005, which left almost one-quarter of the French countryside uninhabitable, killing over 100,000 people directly and causing untold premature cancer deaths throughout Europe.”  For more on fusion energy, taxes, population policies, global income distribution, and sustainability see original article.

Ecotopia: The Low-Consumption Sustainable Vision:   People begin to take better care of the environment, changing lifestyles toward less consumption and more satisfaction. “The turning point came in 2012, when ecological tax reform was enacted almost simultaneously in the United States, the European Union, Japan, and Australia after long global discussions and debates, mostly over the Internet. In the same year, Herman Daly won the Nobel Prize for Human Stewardship (formerly the prize for economics) for his work on sustainable development.  A broadly participatory global dialogue had allowed an alternative vision of a sustainable world to emerge and gain very wide popular support. People finally realized that governments had to take the initiative back from transnational corporations and redefine the basic rules of the game if their carefully constructed vision was ever going to come to pass. The public had formed a powerful judgment against the consumer lifestyle and for a sustainable lifestyle. The slogan for the new revolution became the now famous "sustainability, equity, efficiency."  All depletion of natural capital was taxed at the best estimate of the full social cost of that depletion, and taxes on labor and income were reduced for middle-income and lower-income people. A "negative income tax," or basic life support, was provided for those below the poverty level. Countries without ecotaxes were punished with ecological tariffs on goods they produced.”  For more on QLI (Quality of Life Index), fossil fuels, mass transit, the workweek in 2050, unemployment and travel, see original article.

Top of the page

Which World?  Three Global Scenarios : Choose the World We Want.  Author: Allen Hammond, The Futurist p. 38, April, 1999

Market World, Fortress World, or Transformed World? A scientist and strategic analyst looks at
where today's events may lead us in the next century, and what we can do about it.  Scenarios have long been used by corporate strategists and military planners as powerful tools to aid in decision making in the face of uncertainty. More often we are seeing  these tools used for wider social purposes and incorporated into public policy processes at the community, national, and international levels. The Futurist   Scenarios were used in the recent 2050 Project undertaken by the World Resources Institute, the Brookings Institution, and the Santa Fe Institute. The 2050 Project provided one of the intellectual underpinnings of the scenarios summarized here. These scenarios reflect three conflicting world views and set out three different trajectories for the next half century for the globe as a whole and, separately, for each of seven major continental-scale regions. The follow up on regional reports to the scenarios is excellent.

Scenario 1. The Market World:  “One view of the future is rooted in a belief in the power of markets and of private enterprise to create prosperity and improve human welfare. This view maintains that the extended U.S. economic boom shows that free-market policies, corporate restructuring, and entrepreneurship offer a model for the rest of the world.  The Market World scenario also points to increasing global market integration, the unprecedented technological innovation of our time, the worldwide spread of democracy, and rising literacy in virtually all parts of the globe. The thesis is: Let markets work, turn loose the private sector, break down barriers to free trade, and all will be well. Sooner or later, rapid economic growth and increasing prosperity will happen in virtually every region of the world.   The Market World scenario and its supporting world view are not easily dismissed. Its voice can be heard in the pages of The Economist and the Wall Street Journal. Its adherents dominate corporate board rooms, and its allure motivates countless entrepreneurs. Markets are in the ascendancy, as oil analyst Daniel Yergin has argued. Free-market reforms have moved governments everywhere to downsize, deregulate, and privatize. The pace of innovation breeds new opportunities at astonishing speed-witness the rise of the Internet, the spread of electronic commerce, and proliferating breakthroughs in biotechnology. And globalization proceeds inexorably: In just 20 years, international currency transactions have swelled from $20 billion per day to more than $1.25 trillion per day, and corporate investments abroad have soared despite the Asian financial crisis…”

Scenario 2. A Fortress World:   “Markets cannot do everything. They do not necessarily redress social wrongs such as poverty or prevent environmental disasters; they often make them worse. Moreover, truly free, unregulated markets can be very unstable, as shown by recent events in the global financial markets. The global market boom remains highly concentrated: Fewer than two dozen developing nations benefit to any significant degree from private investment, while in more than 70 countries incomes are lower now than they were in 1980.  The more-pessimistic Fortress World vision of the future is rooted in two convictions: that large portions of humanity will be left out of the prosperity that markets bring and that unconstrained markets and widespread poverty will devastate forests and fisheries, erode soils, pollute water supplies, and alter the earth's climate. The Fortress World scenario argues that these failures will eventually destroy the natural resources and social framework on which markets and economic growth depend, at least in many places. This will lead to a world in which islands of prosperity coexist with an ocean of poverty and frustration. Economic stagnation will spread as wealthy enclaves devote more resources to maintain security and stability; economic fragmentation will occur where conflict dominates or the social order breaks down. The result is deepening human misery and desperation, growing conflict between rich and poor, and a future of violence and instability.  The Fortress World scenario, too, cannot be easily set aside. The dark side of global capitalism is all too evident in the sweatshops and horrendous pollution of industrializing Asia, in the widening income gaps between rich and poor countries. We can see other shadows of Fortress World in the rising tide of illegal migration; in the growth of private security forces, which now outnumber the police by four to one worldwide and 10 to one in South Africa and Russia; and in the expanding popularity of gated communities in the United States. Global criminal organizations operate with seeming impunity, corrupting many developing countries, while new and more deadly forms of terrorism proliferate. Instability threatens Russia and stalks a number of developing countries. There is growing scientific consensus about the risk of global warming and massive, irreversible losses to the earth's biological resources...”

Scenario 3. The Transformed World:  “A third and more-hopeful scenario is also plausible, although it requires a leap of faith. The Transformed World vision of the future assumes that social and political change-and perhaps even changed values and cultural norms-will give rise to enlightened policies and voluntary actions that shape or supplement market forces. It points to the power of civil society to shape social and political agendas, to the "greening" of a small but growing band of enlightened global corporations, and to the potential for imaginative uses of new technologies to expand access to information and services worldwide. The Transformed World scenario argues that these trends together could lead to a more peaceful, equitable, and environmentally stable world.  In effect, Transformed World envisions a society in which information is more accessible, power is more widely shared, and new grass-roots coalitions shape what institutions and governments do, broadening the forms of governance. It is a future that makes use of the power of markets and private enterprise, but aligns market incentives with social and environmental goals. The Transformed World accepts economic competition, but does not lose sight of the need for making deliberate social choices and meeting basic human needs.  Evidence of such change is already accumulating, although it is often buried by lurid headlines telling of scandal, crisis, and disaster. Note the startling reversal in U.S. attitudes toward smoking that has led to smoking bans in workplaces and public buildings over the past 10 years, or the abrupt political and economic transformation that has taken place during the same period in Poland and the Czech Republic. Other examples include the remarkable transformation from racist minority rule to a multiracial democracy now under way in South Africa, the introduction of village-level democracy in China, and the explosion of micro-loan networks in many developing countries. Literacy and life-spans have risen dramatically in most developing countries over the past few decades, and the status of women is slowly improving nearly everywhere. It was a global coalition of citizens' groups linked by e-mail that initiated and largely drafted the recent treaty to ban land mines and persuaded most of the world's governments to sign it. And increasingly, environmental groups are working with private corporations, often to startling effect: Witness the recent decision of some two dozen major companies to endorse the global climate treaty…”

Top of the page

Humanity Comes Into It’s Own – The First Truly Human and Global Society. Author: Jesse Ausubel,  RAND Corporation, 1998

Historically, technologies improve slowly and steadily. Industrial societies have increased overall efficiency in energy use about one percent per year over the last 200 years. But now and again a burst of technological innovation changes the way people produce, consume, and live. Today, most people in the industrial democracies live comfortably in cities and use brain power rather than muscles to earn a living. In the future, it is likely that nearly everyone in all parts of the world will have this modern lifestyle.  But the "take-off" to modernity now and in the coming century will follow a very different path than that experienced by today's industrialized countries. Most important, growth will be both more rapid and last longer.  There will be environmental stresses, but eventually with wealth and sustainable development practices, the tendency for peace and individual freedom will plausibly increase.

Jesse Ausubel Scenario: The First Truly Human and Global Society:   “This scenario assumes that the full economic and social effects of recent technological advances are still far from realized, and that they are likely to propel a widespread and lasting surge of economic growth--growth that will be surprisingly widespread and, in developing regions, very rapid. Further, this wave of rising prosperity will bring peace and increasing individual freedom to an unprecedented proportion of the world's people. This scenario acknowledges that many environmental problems may worsen (although some may eventually turn around) and that economic disparities may increase, but asserts that these stresses will not be sufficient to undermine progress in most regions. The result, a century hence, will be the first truly human and global society.”

Top of the page

Technology Spares the Environment.  Cal-Tech Scenarios, 1998
http://www.caltech.edu.

Based on variations of high technology, low global and local environmental impact, and low conflict and from trends forecast and earlier Reference Scenario: Population: 5 billion in 1990, 10 billion by 2050, 13 billion by 2100; Equity: 19 in 1990, 15 by 2050, 8 by 2100; GWP: $17 trillion in 1990, $100 trillion in 2050, $310 trillion in 2100 (assumes 2.3% average growth in GWP, doubles every 30 years);  the Global Scenario Group developed a normative scenario driven primarily on high technological impact.

Scenario: Technology Spares the Environment:   “The 21st century emerges as an era of techno-optimism as accelerating technological advances help to boost industrial efficiencies, prosperity, and environmental sustainability throughout most of the world. These technological advances are driven in part by market competition, which tend to reward firms and societies that produce more for less. The dramatic efficiency gains in the use of land, energy, materials, and labor unleashed by technology and market competition outpace population growth and increases per capita consumption. The world economy becomes better equipped to meet human needs with less land, pollution, and natural resources. Dire warnings of widespread food shortages, pollution, overpopulation, and environmental depletion never materialize.

One major trend accelerating industrial efficiency is free trade. Lowered trade barriers due to the free flow of information, capital, and goods due to technology helps shake-out less efficient industries, leaving behind a web of lean and agile industrial networks employing advanced technology.  Dramatic gains in energy efficiency also serve to alleviate pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources. Energy efficiency has been gaining over the past three hundred years, particularly for motors and lamps. Extrapolating from gains over the 20th century, engines and motors based on fuel cell technology achieve efficiencies of 70 percent by 2050, up from 50 percent in 2000. Total system efficiency in the economy, defined as the ratio of the theoretical minimum energy consumed to the actual energy consumed for end-goods and services, achieves an even more dramatic increase -- 15% by 2100, more than 300% times that of 2000…”

Top of the page

Global Scenarios for the Millennium. Author: Hardin Tibbs, YES! A Journal of Positive Futures, Spring, 1998.

It sounds too cliché to be true, but the major scenarios for the years around the turn of the century  “really are catastrophe or transformation.”  To see why, we need a way of looking at history with a wide-angle lens. Two measures can help us do this - one is global human population, and the other is the flow of materials through the economy. We know how these two have changed over very long periods of time, and we also know that they are among the most important factors shaping future global conditions.

Hardin Tibbs   Scenario 1. The “Official” Future of Governments Around the World (optimistic):  “The official scenario of governments is that world population will smoothly decelerate and the growth curve will flatten out, like the upper "question mark" curve in an “S” curve.   This is not an unreasonable scenario: the population appears to have passed its peak growth point, and many biological systems do show this "S-shaped" growth pattern…”

Scenario 2. Exponential Growth:  “The optimistic scenario is not guaranteed. Extremely rapid population growth is causing social and cultural dislocation around the world, and technological advance is running ahead of our ability to control it. By almost every measure, we are living at a historically unique time of high risk. There is a real but unquantifiable possibility that instead of a smooth deceleration, the population could plunge as a combination of economic and ecological disaster strike, triggering wars and causing food production to plummet. Hence the other basic possibility shown by the lower "question mark" curve  is a future population collapse.  This frightening possibility is certainly plausible: many biological systems show population crashes when crucial environmental resources are depleted. And the global human population has crashed in the past-for example the Black Death killed between a third to a half of the population of Europe and Asia in the 14th century…”

Top of the page

The Future of the Global Village. Author: Anthony Mutsaers, (copyright) 1998
http://www.talewins.com/Global.html

By consequence, institutions have changed, social, political and economic, even religious institutions; all of society is now on a global voyage. This is new, it is different, it creates a discontinuity in all aspects of life and casts a shadow of doubt and uncertainty concerning all future development. Einstein said that God throws no dice, that how the future works out is all of God's great plan and let us hope this may be so, because recently scientists have found that random is a frequently occurring natural phenomenon. By that logic, anything can happen, nothing can be taken for granted, so that in the greater scheme of how society functions, and by what values it lives, there are no official rules.  Anthony Mutsaers   In the greater scheme of things there are three major alternatives or scenarios to public policy relative to this global phenomenon.

Scenario 1. Continuation:    “One is to continue business as usual, that is, continue nationalist policies in a global environment of free markets and free trade. This scenario describes more or less the current international global econ/political process and serves as starting point, describing the existing situation and by carrying it to its logical conclusion, one may learn something of its ultimate implications for to-morrow's world. This scenario draws on the reality that the Global Corporations (from here-on referred to as GCs) are turning increasingly to mergers to sustain double digit growth and expected profits. They are forced to do so because both in the EU and US, eighty percent of all trade is within its own borders, and the US and EU do not grow at double digits. Four percent is considered" robust." Ultimately, this policy cannot be sustained. The GC system therefor must depend on opening new, growing and profitable markets outside the US and EU markets at the needed rates…”

Scenario 2. The Global GC System:     “The second scenario, the Global GC System, intends to find ways to open new profitable and growing markets, reduce risk and increase productivity all around by following the inherent logic of global ideology.  Global ideology creates a new playing field.  While there are many implications, the most basic is that there are limits, the world is finite. In the past, if you didn't like Detroit or Rotterdam, you could go somewhere else, to greener pastures, but the ultimate destination of 'global ideology,' it being a finite world, is that there are a finite number of destinations. To the extent one is global to that extent one has reached that number of destinations and then, there is no more. So one must make the best out of what there is. This scenario accepts that globally, a poor globe, poor people, make for poor, unstable markets and globally, for rich people to be rich, and become even richer, one needs a richer globe, richer and bigger markets, global markets. The GC must find ways not to exploit the globe, but to enrich it…”

Scenario 3. The ‘Post GC Era’:  “Is more in the realm of science fiction and draws on the world as seen by the anti GC forces. It is based on the belief that the current economic/political system, centered around the GC, is unable to carry mankind prosperously and safely into the twenty-first century and that it needs to be replaced by a new improved system. The idea of 500 private GCs running this globe gives it the chills, it is afraid of the massive power in so few hands and seeks ways to eliminate the GC. It defines a 'Post GC Era,' the world without a few hundred GCs controlling the globe's economy and relatedly, the political system. It is based on pluralism, transparency and redefines global capitalism as powerless optimum sized firms functioning in a perfectly competitive market place, characterized by a totally transparent institutional setting, real time universal communications /transportation/ systems and equal rights to access knowledge ( the result of transparency). It goes along the lines of seeing the current world order as one would see old fashioned software; a mode of thinking and operating in great need of a new improved version, more in line with current needs and problems. It is, if you like, the nerd version of this discourse, the version which says," I respect all that you have done in the past, it was wonderful, but now, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, we are in a new situation, we are entering the 'Post GC Era.' This scenario requires the world works how it easily could, if it just would be kind to itself, and forget about the past. In the last decades mankind has learned an awful lot and has done an awful lot, technically…”

Top of the page

Technology and Human Responsibility. Daily Meditations for the Computer-Entranced
A series of relatively brief, highly readable columns testing your assumptions about computers and the Net.  Last revision: April 16, 1999.

American business people have long thought that they would be much better at running the education system than academics and social welfare types who are still, for the most part, in charge. 2010 Scenario:. Three `M's for the New Millennium: In the 21st century, they're finally going to get their chance. Start with the premise that economic advantage is now replacing democratic ideals as the reason for education. Following this argument, public schooling soon makes little sense. In a market economy with its requisite winners and losers, the incentive for education changes.  Parents who naturally want their own children to be the winners, are, in 2010, unwilling to pay for other children's education. As this attitude prevails, less and less money is put into public education until public education will become a subsidiary of the business world, controlled and managed by multinational corporations. What will the captains of global industry teach? Certainly not the traditional "three R’s." They take too much time, are better done by machines or have little value as mass entertainment and therefore no business in education. No, their platform will be the "three Ms:" Multi-Tasking, Materialistic, and Mind Management. In time, these new principles produces workers with the skills to support emerging technology-driven corporation needs.
 

Top of the page

2020 Scenarios: Five Nations Emerge as Economic Powers. Author: Kohei Murayama, September 9, 1997, Kyodo

According to the World Bank, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Russia will emerge as major economic powers in the next 25 years to fundamentally change the global trade and economic landscape. Today, these five countries account for half of the world's labor force but only 8-10% of its output and trade. But the figures could double by 2020, given continued policy reforms and the strengthening of the open world trade and investment regime.  The World Bank provides 2020 scenarios of these five nations:  The current share of world trade is barely one-third that of the European Union (EU), but it could surge to 50% higher than of the EU by 2020.  Although there will be transition costs, there is little evidence to justify two of the most common fears, namely downward pressure on unskilled wages in industrial and other developing countries and higher prices for food and energy. The developing nations as a whole could grow between 5 and 6% per year through 2020 to help double their share of world output from around one-sixth to nearly a third over the same period. Industrialized nations also enjoys the benefits of the five powers' emergence, with their exports to developing nations likely to account for 40% of their global exports in 2020, up from 25% in 1992.

Top of the page

Islamic Ummah 2025:  A Review of Models, Approaches and Alternative Futures.  Author: Dr. Sohail Inayatullah
Communication Centre Queensland University of Technology. Box 2434, Brisbane 4001, Australia. S. Inayatullah@qut.edu.au.

This paper is both a critique of ways of approaching the future as well as a presentation of scenarios of the Islamic world a generation ahead.  The critique covers various global models, including the Club of Rome’s classic Limits to Growth, Mankind at the turning Point, as well as World 2000 and other approaches to understanding the future. Throughout this paper, recommendations are presented on making the Islamic Ummal more future-oriented. Global  models are one way of approaching or understanding the future. There are other ways of approaching the study of the future from which can be derived specific assertions about issues, trends and scenarios.  Four scenarios of the future of Islam are presented.
Scenario 1. Ummah as an Interpretive Community.  “Sarder’s efforts have been to begin to shape what the Islamic world could look like in the next century.  In an outstanding essay by Anwar Ibrahim in a special issue of Futures  on Islam and the Future, Ibrahim argues that we need to go beyond the three world thinking of first, second and third worlds and begin to think of the future in terms of an Islamic Ummah.  He spells out what this means. 1) the Ummah is a synamic concept, reinterpreting the past, meeting new challenges and 2) the Ummah must meet global problems such as the environmental problem. 3) The Ummah should be seen a critical tool, as a process of reasoning itself and 4) equity and justice are prerequisites and imperatives of the Ummah.  This means commitment to eradicating poverty.  It means going beyond the development debate since that framework merely framed the issue in apolitical, oral, acritical language. To begin this means of rethinking trade, developing south-south trade as well as “new Instruments of financial accounting and transacting... and the financing of new routes and transportation infrastructure.”  6) But perhaps most significant is a commitment to literacy for all.  As Ibrahim writes: Only with access to appropriate education can Ummah consciousness take room and make possible the Ummah of tomorrow as a personification of the pristine morality of Islamic endowed with creative, constructive, critical thought.”
Scenario 2. The Future Without a Name.   “ In the same issue of Futures, Gulzar Haider takes us to an Islamic future with no name.  In his effort to imagine such an Ummah, he discovers that he cannot.  After falling asleep and waking in 2020, he sees many men talking to each other. But each quotes the “rulings of his own masters and guides and though they address one another as brothers, they were in apparent frustration.” He concludes with the following vision. “I have seen a landscape of Muslim Futures and it looks fragmented, bounded, a controlled city of discrete tents.  There are some that are awake but are cast out of the city. They continue their search for the Mqadinah, and till then they keep reading, writing and speaking without fear except of their God and His Prophet.  But none of them has a name.”   While we can hope that Haider’s vision does not come about that a true Islamic Ummah in the context of a global community emerges, however, it could be that there is a future worse than Haider’s vision.”
 Scenario 3. End of Islam.  “The most likely future is the cannibalization of Islam internally and externally.  Internally, largely due to external pressures, but still nonetheless from sectarian infighting, from deep Sunni/Shia divisions and from different models of what is means to be Muslim.  Many of these battles are issues of revenge of cursed histories instead of the imagination of desired futures.  External forces are such that changes in technology, globalism, and world politics question whether Islam can meet the changing needs of Muslims.  There might thus be Muslims in the future but there will be no Islam.  Even if one is horrified at such a future, this scenario remains an important what - if question.  What-if Islam no longer exited.  What would you and I do then?”
Scenario 4. Islam as the Difference.  “Conversely, through human action, Islam could become the difference in world science and politics.  Sardar writes that Islam cannot be overlooked.  “Whether it is seen as a force for liberation or as an authoritarian step back to the middle ages, Islam cannot be ignored. “  For Sardar Islam is the difference, the attractors that will create the next century. Galtung, for example, has argued that Islam and the West are in a expansion/contraction relationship with each other, as one contracts, the other expands.  As the West loses its ability to maintain hyper-expansion, exploitation of nature and other, Islam will come in and either continue the project, as the Japanese have done, Islam--colonized, defeated, stagnant---could have easily been written off from history and the future. At the dawn of the 21st century, Islam--resurgent, confident, militant fundamentalist -- is very much alive.”

Top of the page

Women of the Future:  Alternative Scenarios. Author: Christopher B. Jones.  The Futurist  May-June 1996

The author is a futures researcher and political scientist examining five potential scenarios for women.   Jones suggests that there are at least three mini-trends stemming from radical feminism that could result in dramatically different futures for women and men.   One is a tendency for some women to reject male-influenced values and sometimes, rejecting men entirely as some sort of evolutionary mistake. Another mini-trend, at virtually the opposite end of the spectrum, is male hatred of women, manifesting itself as a widespread male backlash.  A third mini-trend that has roots in radical feminism is the push toward a partnership model of relations between men and women rather than the dominance of either.”

Scenario 1:  Continued Patriarchy.   “ In this scenario, women continue to obtain their rights but at the cost of playing “Supermom”  and/or becoming more like men.  Women are increasingly accepted in the work force in industrialized countries, but are slow to achieve equal pay for equal work and to break the glass ceiling into management positions.  Women in the developing world continue to be exploited and violated more than their sisters in industrialized countries.  The family model in this scenario is still that of the Industrial Age: a  mother, father, and two or three children.  Levels of spouse and child abuse remain high.”

Scenario 2:  High-Tech Androgyny.   “ In this scenario, work is something one does because one is good at it or because it gives one personal satisfaction.  Gender divisions of labor no longer exist.  Leisure “work” allows all people to engage in whatever sport, artistic form, handicraft, hobby, or activity they wish.  Politics is something women are more equitably involved in due to shifts in child rearing, domestic work, and work outside the home.  Children are “designed” from the best genetic material, gestated in either natural or artificial wombs, and raised in age-cohort groups by robot (and human) nannies.  Children are also expected to experiment with sex before puberty.  Rites of passage often include gender changes.  Family roles are totally blurred or nonexistent.  Gene and other molecular therapies have markedly increased human longevity.”

Scenario 3: Separation.  “The assumption in this scenario is that men fail to mend their ways, so women decide to do without them.  Whether sent to space “on vacation” or otherwise disposed of (perhaps through a genetic epidemic in which only men are victims), men are no longer a problem.  Cloning and artificial insemination are the primary means of procreation in this future.  Family structures are extended and intergenerational, including sisters, daughters, aunts, and donors as well as surrogate mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers.  Families are headed by the oldest matriarchs.”

Scenario 4: Backlash.   “ This scenario suggest some men’s increasing frustration with the growing power of women, exemplified by the emergence of a men’s movement.  While much of the men’s movement may be a reasonable exploration of men’s traditional and evolving gender roles, there is also a clear misogynist element to it.  Other trends that suggest a reinvigorated hatred of women are the explosive growth of religious fundamentalism, efforts to end affirmative action, and growing violence against women.”  This fits with the fact that in some countries amniocentesis results in up to 95% of all female fetuses being aborted.   Men reclaim dominance over women, who are considered to be property.

Scenario 5: Partnership.   “ The basic biological differences between the genders are maintained, but women share power with men equally.   Gender differences are respected, but women and men are treated equally in all spheres of life.  Women have extensive involvement, at all levels, equitably with men in the public sphere.  In this scenario, there are fewer gender-based divisions of labor, and parenting is a shared responsibility.  Family structures are extended and intergenerational, with tolerance for a wide range of family forms (including non blood related).  Communities and eco-cities are built around extended family “estates.”

Top of the page

A Message to Us From Future Generations.  Author: Allen Tough, professor,  University of Toronto

Allen Tough, futurist, professor, writer, is an activist for the rights of future generations.  In this scenario, Cordial Greetings,  Tough conveys a strong message in the form of a letter written by a member of the “grandchildren’s generation,”; a generation echoing back a perspective from a future overshadowed by today’s critical uncertainties.  In Cordial Greetings,  future generations ask for prudent and just decision making to preserve the future, as it is in the self-interest of all humanity.
Cordial Greetings.   “Cordial greetings from the people of the future!  We represent your grandchildren’s generation, and the world of their grandchildren as well.  We are delighted that you, the people of the 1990s, are willing to listen to us.  Please take our needs as seriously as you take your own. Please care about our well-being as much as your own. This is our central plea to you.

In your major decisions and actions, please consider our perspective and welfare along with your own. Our needs and rights are not inferior to yours: please regard your generation and ours as equals. You might call this principle intergenerational equity -- equal opportunity across the generations.  Even though we live in an era that is very different from yours, we too are people, vigorously engaged in a wide variety of activities and projects, just as you are.....Examine your personal values: is anything truly more important to you than the ongoing flow of human culture, the continuing flourishing of human civilization.  If this is one of your central values, the key needs of future generations become part of your own self-interest rather than something separate or opposing.  Efforts toward something transcendent, something bigger and longer-term than everyday life, can provide meaning and purpose to a whole society as well as to individuals....

     On a more personal level, we hope you will feel caring, love, and even a spiritual connection toward those of us who are members of future generations....1.) Peace and Security.  We will all be much safer if you eliminate most of your nuclear and biological weapons, and any other weapons capable of destroying human civilizations.  2.) Environment.  We people of the future obviously require a planet capable of supporting life.  Please move toward a sustainable relationship with the planet in agriculture, forestry, fish, wildlife, water, and energy very soon. 3.) Catastrophes.  Please detect and study any other potential catastrophes or trends that might permanently end or severely harm human civilization. 4.) Governance. With your present governance arrangements, neither you nor we can successfully cope with global problems.  Please build an effective foundation for public priority-setting and decision-making at the local, regional, and global level. 5.) Knowledge. Conserve, enlarge, and widely disseminate your most significant knowledge, insights, and ideas. 6.) Children. Please reduce the amount of child poverty, hunger, neglect, and abuse in order to stop physically, intellectually, and emotionally stunting children’s growth and development. 7.) Learning. From early childhood to late adulthood, learning opportunities should be widespread.”
 

Top of the page

Millennium Scenarios - People Making the Difference.
A research project at the Institute of Personnel and Development Exhibition, Harrogate 1995.  Center for Management Creativity.

Scenario Model developed by over 200 participants at the Institute of Personnel and Development.  National Conference & Exhibition, October 1995.  The scenarios developed in this exercise used MagNotes methodology as a means of collecting and sharing thoughts.  Magnotes are particularly useful in group situations - teams meetings, community workshops, management conferences - in which exploration is taking place and ideas are developing.

Scenario 1. A Ghetto Society.   “The first scenario assumes that we will not change our habits or reverse the trends of the last two decades.  There is a tendency to stick to the need for proof that we are despoiling the planet and while we await the proof, environmental rape and pillage are seen to be perfectly reasonable.  The West clings to its power and refuses to relinquish its privileges or face its real responsibilities. The rising economic power of the Pacific Rim and the military might of China create new power blocs that justify extreme behaviors in old countries.  Our aging population becomes more alienated from the young while in third world countries ever younger, expanding and better educated populations clamor for a share of the planet’s swindling wealth, pursuing their perceived right to progress as exemplified by the West.

In this scenario humanizing concerns become marginalized as we move towards macro-militarism and micro-crime in pursuit of isolated peace and fragmentary happiness.  Organizations become a way of ring fencing and defending shareholder interests from terrorists and criminals.  A new barbarism prevails.”

Scenario 2. A Common World.   “The other scenario pre-supposes that personal challenge and responsibility rise to the occasion.  Learning from the debate over Bosnia, the degeneration of the former USSR, the ghastly aftermath of ill considered 20th century interventions both military and economic, a new egalitarianism emerges.  Around the world, statutory curbs on trading in currencies, in futures, commodities and derivatives erode the unearned gains of self centered short term investors.  The wealth possessing reluctantly begin to make sacrifices as it becomes increasingly apparent that one earth has to sustain us all - that rich and poor sink or swim together.
     Technology is harnessed to improve harmonization.  Conspicuous consumption is no longer seen as virtuous or desirable.  Organizations become responsible as citizens and foster whole people who are self-developing and responsible. At every level people willingly abstain from indulgence and unnecessary  consumption for the good of others.  Loss of freedom to travel and to possess is embraced along with the loss of lifetime security in a single career.”

Top of the page

Three Detection Scenarios.  Author: Allen Tough, professor, University of Toronto, Canada.
Allen Tough presents three different detection scenarios of extraterrestrial intelligence currently being pursued.

Scenario 1.)  “Detect radio, optical, or other evidence of distant ETI (astroengineering projects, for instance, or unusually high consumption or discharge of energy by advanced technological civilization).  Current methods that could potentially achieve such a detection include radio SETI, optical SETI, and routine on going astronomy.  Additional methods, such as remote viewing and astral (consciousness) travel, fall outside of today’s scientific understanding, as does the possibility of faster-than-light communication.”

Scenario 2.) “Detect a tiny nearby probe containing a highly advanced computer.  Current methods include routine astronomy and space exploration, routine military/security monitoring, and a web page invitation.”

Scenario 3.)  “Detect a nearby staffed spacecraft or live aliens.  Current methods include routine military/security monitoring, routine ongoing astronomy and space exploration, and ufology.  Methods in the 1980s also included visual inspection of the Lagrange points and a search through infrared data from the asteroid belt.  Additional methods, such as channeling and the psychic aspects of ufology, fall outside today’s scientific understanding, as does faster-than-light travel.”

Top of the page

Strategies for Lunar Economic Development Authority:  Futures Scenario for Utilization of the Moon’s Resources.  Authors: Declan J. O’Donnell and Philip R. Harris.  Futures Research Quarterly, Fall 1996.

The authors present a near-term strategy for development of the moon’s resources for the benefit of planet earth’s inhabitants by establishment of a Lunar Economic Development Authority (LEDA).   The article covers trends that lead to this as a plausible possibility and describe various scenarios as to how LEDA might come into being within the decade.

Scenario 1.) “The US Congress provides legislation constituting a LEDA,  essentially to conserve national interests and promote development of the moon and its resources for the benefit of our citizenry and to cooperate with other nations in this goal.  The charter might be similar to that of TVA and possibly some existing space assets might be transferred from NASA or DOD to the new Authority to provide security for the lunar bonds to be sold for investments on the moon…

Scenario 2.) A consortium of spacefaring nations interested in lunar development could also enter into an international agreement to form a LEDA  to mutually act on their behalf in financing and macromanaging resources on the moon.  The precedent for this already also exists in such agreements as Intesat which established a global satellite communication system signed by governments or their designated public or private telecommunications entities.

Scenario 3.) Private transnational enterprise might also act synergistically to legally incorporate a LEDA  in one or more states or nations.  Thus, both profit and/or non-profit organizations might combine their strengths to undertake together macroprojects on the moon.  There is ample precedent for this among world corporations and foundations seeking to protect the global commons.

 Scenario 4.) Although any of these solutions would precipitate desired action toward near-term lunar development, we would prefer the strategy whereby spacefaring nations work through the United Nations to found a space Metanation under the Trusteeship Council for New Territories.  Then under the latter auspices a LEDA  might be constituted by the 21st Century to the advantage of all humanity using our “interplanetary commons.”

Top of the page

The 2025 Report: A Concise History of the Future, 1975-2025.  Author: Norman Macrae,  NY: Macmillan, Dec 1984/255p.  A global scenario to 2025.
A scenario of global society in the year 2025. The world  is upbeat and well off as a result of high technology - telecommunications, biotechnology and genetic engineering - that solves the problems of global communications, food and energy shortages, and human health. The political systems of the 20th century have withered away and are replaced by a decentralized, community?based democracy.  Economic interaction is the primary governing force ? health maintenance organizations are paid to keep people healthy, competitive crime prevention corporations are paid on the basis of their performance in keeping convicted criminals from committing further offenses, and international taxation keeps the rich from fleeing to tax havens.

Worlds Apart: Technology and North-South Relations in the Global Economy.  Sam Cole and Ian Miles, Brighton UK: Harvester Press/Wheatsheaf Books and Totown NJ: Rowman & Allanheld, Oct. 1984/283p.  Three global scenarios to 2000.

Cole and Miles in their study of North-South relations in the global economy,  included three scenarios of the world in the year 2000.

Scenario 1.)  Liberal Economic Order: a few hundred multinational corporations will dominate most major sectors of the world’s economy, while individual nation states have lost control of transnational corporations.

Scenario 2.)  Reformed Economic Order:  a significant transfer of economic power to the Third World occurs. The result is rapid industrial growth in the Third World and changing patterns of consumption in developed countries.

 Scenario 3.) Collective Self?Reliance:  a number of developing nations decide to work together and throw off the existing structure of economic and international relations, resulting in greater self?reliance.

Top of the page

Art of the Longview. Author: Peter Schwartz, president, Global Business Network. Doubleday Publications 1991. Three global scenarios to 2005.

Peter Schwartz describes the scenario planning technique and it’s value to organizational or personal planning.  The author describes three scenarios of the world in the year 2005.  Trends that drive the scenarios are: shuffling political alignments since the end of the Cold War; technology explosion; global pragmatism - that is, “whatever works” transcends old attitudes about left verses right, or capitalism verses socialism; demographics - aging and immigration; energy; environment.

Scenario 1.) New Empires: “in this world, most nations decide to protect their threatened cultural identities and to take control of the pace of change by regionalizing their interests.  The tensions between isolationism and the global economy create ‘fateful alliances’: multinational power blocs. These are “New Empires” because they take on the qualities of empires.  Federated and all-powerful, bureaucratic but decentralized, these superpower-style blocs of countries and corporations grow to dominate the world.”

Scenario 2.) Market World:  “In this scenario, the markets won. This world is entrepreneurial, multicultural, full of hope and harshness.  It’s as purely capitalistic as an open market, but it’s a smart form of capitalism.  The major international institutions are not government alliances, but associations: international rule making, standard-setting, conflict resolution and system management groups that collectively form an informal “global commons.” Economic intelligence is the organizing principle.”

Scenario 3.)  Change Without Progress: “The dark side of Market World.  This is a future of chaos and crisis, in which people see themselves as the Lone Ranger, fighting the system, and the system falls apart.  It’s a future similar to the world of the movie Blade Runner.  Here is a world with fast-paced economic activity, but in which ruthless self-interest and corruption run rampant. Social conflict, a widening gap between those who have made it and those who are permanently locked out, and environmental decay are all commonplace.  Economic volatility and a disdain for the welfare of average people color public policy and corporate practice.”

Top of the page

Encyclopedia of the Future. Edited by George Thomas Kurian and Graham T.T. Molitor.  Macmillan Publishing, 1996.
World scenario from 1995 to the Gigafuture: after AD 1 billion.  Useful to scenario work.

The Encyclopedia of the Future is devoted to articles about the future, spanning a very comprehensive list of subjects.  At the end of the Encyclopedia, a Chronology of Futurism and the Future deals with the past and present of futurism by categorizing entries in chronology from 47,000 B.C. - AD 1995.    (Futurism is a term that covers the study and practice of the future, also termed futurology, futuristics, or futures studies.)  Part two contains a chronology of dates and events beginning in 1996 to AD 1 billion.  This chronology is a future history, covering a broad span of events in the economic, ecological, environmental, political, and technological spheres from 1996 to AD 1 billion. For instance, in 2015, “Small termitelike robots with nanomachine components lay fiber-optics cables connecting every house and office on Earth, linking everyone together into a vast planetary network for sharing information and doing advanced processing.” Another entry for 2020: “The worlds 10 largest cities are: Mexico City 33 million, Sao Paulo 31 million, Bombay 24 million, Calcutta 23 million, Tokyo/Yokohama 22 million, Teheran 21 million, Delhi 21 million, Jakarta 19 million, Dacca 19 million, Karachi 18 million.”  In the gigafuture, after AD 1 billion, there takes place the emergence of a “Seventh or Final Level of Evolution: cosmic mind.”

Top of the page

Thinking About the Unthinkable in the 1980s. Author: Herman Kahn, NY: Simon and Schuster, July 1984/250p.
Five outbreak scenarios of nuclear war.

In this classic book, Herman Kahn “burst upon the national scene when he said we had to think seriously about nuclear war and its consequences.”   It was he, in a sense, who popularized the national nuclear debate.  Thinking About the Unthinkable in the 1980s includes five categories of “not implausible” outbreak scenarios provided by order of increasing probability of occurrence:

Scenario 1.) Surprise Nuclear Attack, deliberate or inadvertent;

Scenario 2.) Early Eruption to nuclear war from an intense crisis, such as an East European crisis, a Persian Gulf disaster,  Sino-Soviet war (or crisis), an East Asian crisis, or Soviet Nuclear strike;

Scenario 3.) “Classic” U.S. Type II Deterrence: in which the US makes a first strike to defend Western Europe;

Scenario 4.) A “Protracted Crisis” that does not get settled but eventually escalates to central nuclear war because of an inadvertent crisis, an erosion of the capabilities of military forces on alert, or escalation to nuclear war from a protracted crisis;

Scenario 5.) “Mobilization War” following a crisis or other triggering event, a U.S. mobilization is touched off.  Mobilization escalating to full blown nuclear war is examined in one year, two years, three years, and four year intervals.

Top of the page

An International Planning Dialogue to Help Shape the New Global System. Author: William E. Halal  Futures  Jan-Feb. 1993 v25 n1 p5-17.
An advanced approach to examining the global problematic.   A ‘central scenario’ of the world to the 21st century.

World 2000 is a project of the World Future Society that is intended to define the emerging global system and to help shape its information.  It accomplishes these goals by attempting to synthesize a number of overviews and insights from many individuals and organizations, and to present them as a ‘collaborative planning dialogue’ that brings together the rich diversity of views to form a global consensus on how the world may realize a commonly shared vision of the future.   Key trends are used to create a composite scenario in which the “ Earth appears to be moving along a fairly well prescribed path of development, which is also seen as akin to a ‘natural process’ of maturation.”   This “central scenario” is taken as a standard future from which other scenarios are defined.   The most critical issues cover geopolitics, economics, environmental limits, complexity, and North/South disparities.  These critical issues, including disparities, “are exacerbated by one of the most pervasive problems of our time – a collapse of faith in the familiar old world system which guided humans through the past epoch with good success.  So the key ‘meta-issue’ is that of how to respond to the breakdown of the old order, lack of leadership and other social malfunctions.  An explicit case is made for a new paradigm, model, story, or belief system that must somehow be formed to allow people to make sense of today’s radically different global realities.”

Top of the page

Building a Win-Win World: Life Beyond Global Economic Warfare.  Author: Hazel Henderson,  Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, c1996/398p.
 
Surveys progress towards sustainable forms of development at seven levels: individual, local, governmental, corporate, national, international, and global.  Rise of cultural anthropological approaches to studying economies as “sets of rules” derived from the various “cultural DNA codes” of each country.  Illustrates how cooperation is balancing competition, and that “rule-making” is as fundamental as “market making” behavior.  Shows how economies focused on “win-lose” market competition while game theorists embraced “win-win” cooperative strategies, collective rules, standards now needed to address global problems.

Some chapters from this remarkable book:   Chapter 9: “Information: The World’s Real Currency Isn’t Scarce,” describes how money became mistaken for wealth and was cartelized in the global casino, and how the new, pure information currencies (which have always been the world’s real currency) are now emerging at the global and local levels.  Chapter 10, “Redefining Wealth and Progress: The New Indicators,” takes a look behind the statistical veils of economics.  It describes how old indicators of economic growth—for example, the gross national product (GNP) – are being overhauled, and how new indicators of quality of life are slowly replacing economic indicators as new scorecards of human development.  Chapter 11, “Perfecting Democracy’s Tools” describes the importance of the spread of democracies around the world and the urgent need to perfect this still imperfect system of collective decision making and governance, including social and technological innovations waiting in the wings. Chapter 12, “New Markets and New Commons: The Cooperative Advantage”: compares and contrasts the strategies of cooperation and competition, of markets and rules/agreements, of public, private, and civil sectors , and how they can all be rebalanced to build a win-win future.  Chapter 13, “ Agreeing on Rules and Social Innovations for Our Common Future”  reviews efforts during the 1990s to forge new international agreements and institutions to create a social architecture suitable for a truly human 21st century.

Top of the page

A Utopian World.  Author: Morton A. Kaplan. Article from The World of 2044 -  Technological Development and the Future of Society  edited by Charles Sheffield, Marceto Alonso, and Morton A. Kaplan.  Paragon House St. Paul, Minnesota.  A world scenario to 2044.

“The world of 2044 turned out to be the utopia that cynics thought was an impossible dream.”  In this scenario,   medical advances had extended life expectancy to 150 years.  Gene therapy had eliminated hereditary diseases.  Fetuses were carried to term in artificial wombs, which played tapes of the parent’s physical and emotional patterns.  Brain and cognition research could detect failures during post-partum development of the brain circuits responsible for empathy and ethical behavior.  These defects could be corrected before the child reached the age of two, with drugs and social responsiveness that helped the child contribute to its own emotional and ethical maturation. Chemicals were available to aid memory and to facilitate learning.  Computer games enhance learning.  This is a world where children learn philosophical wisdom through expanded and realistic role playing.  Government in 2044 is far different.  A few problems such as  trade or postal exchanges that involve the entire planet required world governments.  This supra-governmental unit also had primary responsibility for monitoring and ensuring human and political rights in the smaller units of government.

Top of the page

A Condensed Version of the Next Century.  Author: Jeannie Peterson, Ambio, 13:3, 1984, 202-205.
Scenario of the world environment in the 21st century.

Collection of essays discussing the need to avoid environmental decline.  These essays point out the consequences of the continuation of current trends.  These trends are described very vividly and include: population growth leading to a doubling of population within the next century and a growing number of elderly, increasing global warming, uneven food distribution, scarcity of water, mass extinction of plants and animals, increasing environmental damage.  This scenario advocates changes in attitude towards environmental issues and different technological choices and energy alternatives.

Top of the page

The Third Millennium.  A History of the World: AD 2000-3000.  Author: Brian Stableford and David Langford.  NY: Knoft, Sept. 1985/224p.
A world scenario to 3000.

Two British science fiction writers offer an illustrated history of the future looking back from AD 3000, organized into four time periods - all scenarios.  This is an all encompassing book about the history of the world from the year 2000-3000.  The authors pose as future historians writing in the year 3000, looking back on the past century.  It is a future history in scenario form, replete with photographs and illustrations.  The book is divided into four eras.  The authors describe the driving forces  and dramatic shifts that change the world within each of the four eras.   The first era describes a world of War and Peace between 2000-2180; the second era is a world of recovery between 2180-2400, in which there is a functional global economy, control of population, and exploitation of space; the third era is a transformational world between 2400-2650 in which man makes a major leap into space and artificial worlds, and finally, to the creation of a new world between 2650-3000 in which man can prolong a lifetime into seven generations.  Interestingly, the authors projected that the world would still be dominated by a bi-polar force, dominated by the Soviet Union and the US in the year 2000, but that the first quarter of the 21st Century would see the end of the arms race between the two superpowers, and ultimately, peace between east and west.

Top of the page

Forced Options: Social Decisions for the 21st Century. (Second Edition).  Author: Roger Lincoln Shinn, The Pilgrim Press, NY, Oct. 1985/283p.
Four global scenarios to 2015.

Four scenarios illustrate our “forced options,” meaning, decisions that allow no escape and efforts to avoid them, are themselves decisions.

Scenario 1.) Technotopia:  after the world’s near breakdown, the collaboration of the US, Soviet Union, and China imposes a world dictatorship without elimination of the traditional structures of nations, dismantling national armies, stabilizing population at 10 billion people, moderating the economic disparities between rich and poor regions, and using super technology to solve any problems.

Scenario 2.) After the Nuclear Holocaust: after a nuclear war in 2015, Europe and the Americas become desolate regions.  With low technology and resources, people who survived, mainly on the continent of Africa, become self- sufficient, live in a small society, and go back to the agrarian life, sharing wealth and poverty.

Scenario 3.) The Age of Plutonium: in spite of debate over the use of nuclear energy, energy shortage forced the world to go all-out for the nuclear option, with energy produced by some 3000 nuclear parks.  Although there is a world wide system in terms of safety, transportation and waste disposal, the fear that the system will become unmanageable is increasing.  The new technology has not been able to solve these problems.

Scenario 4.) After the Refrev: a combination of reformation and revolution modifies human values and aspirations on an amazing scale at the turn of the century; the human race has reached a peaceful world by large-scale social planning combined with radical decentralization.  Different groups of  people work together successfully and the world is organized in smaller and relatively self-sufficient units, with less international trade and travel.  Energy shortage, renewable energy, moderate consumption, and recycling prevail.  The past is considered as miserable, compared with the present.

Top of the page

The New World Disorder. Author: Peter Schwartz, president Global Business Network. WIRED  Special Edition 1.01 December 1995.
Internet: http://www.gbn.org/Main/Disorder.html.  A world scenario to 2015.

As the world enters the second decade of the 21st century, it is divided and in turmoil because of
ethnic conflict and the fragmentation of political structures. The European Union, which includes most of Eastern Europe and Russia, is the world’s dominant trading bloc in 2012. A second bloc includes most of East Asia, China, North America, and much of Latin America. But in 2013 the U.S. and Japan are expelled from the bloc because of continued political differences with China. A perpetual series of civil wars rage in Central America, but the rest of Latin America is strong economically, socially and politically.  A third trading bloc is centered on the Indian Ocean, with its key members being India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Overall, the region is doing well economically. Regional conflicts, however, occur around the globe as ethnic and religious groups fight each other.

Top of the page

1997 State of the Future: Implications for Actions Today.  Millennium Project Scenarios Authors: Ted Gordon, Jerome Glenn,  Susan Jette,  Peter Kennedy, Charles Thomas, Pat Maron, The Futures Group International.
Three global scenarios to 2025.

The Millennium Project scenarios were originally structured through a series of meetings with The Futures Group International at Glastonbury, CT.

Scenario 1.) Cybertopia: The explosive growth of Internet accelerated globalization in all forms.  Cyberspace became the medium of human activity, as the city had for the industrial transition. With individual access to world education and markets, individuals acted like holding companies investing their time into diverse activities, inventing their careers, and granting access to others as nations used to grant visas. Individuals easily switch loyalty from one company to another.  Most people had a sense of what they wanted to do and what they had to do to achieve it.  Developing countries made remarkable progress via tele-education, tele-medicine, tele-business partners, and tele-citizens in richer areas that assisted their poorer homelands.  The division between people is not as much by north-south, but by those who act globally though technology and those who don't. Unfortunately, unemployment- particularly in the cities- is still a problem. The knowledge economy has left some people behind; most of these people are poor. Entitlements seem an archaic concept and the safety nets, such as they are, are thin almost everywhere.

Scenario 2.) The Aftermath: While there was still some uncertainty as to the exact cause, most analysts believed that, the fiscal crisis of 1999 was triggered by the siphoning of capital from the international financial flow of funds, deliberately and systematically over a period of ten years.  The criminals/terrorists that caused the debacle used the scorched earth policy and destroyed the international databases that could have been used to reconstruct the history of their activities. With that base gone, markets tumbled, trust evaporated, banks failed, fortunes on paper evaporated, the credit industry collapsed, bankruptcies proliferated, and the world endured the deepest and longest depression on record.  As we look at the scene today, we see signs of revival. Growth is sporadic. It is the risk takers and the wealthy- people,  as well as corporations and nations- that best survived. Working together- that’s the slogan. Rules of trading, standards of computer and network security, accounting principles, police oversight, and settlement rules- all of these have become the subjects of international standards. Criminal behavior is harshly dealt with.

Scenario 3.) Jobs are the problem: population growth has outpaced the rate of job creation almost everywhere over the past decade. Most technology doesn’t help. In general, technology improves productivity- more output per hour worked- but with jobs scarce most countries need a magic technology that increases output but also increases the number of jobs. This is a mean world because the economic pie has been discovered to be zero sum. Massive unfounded pensions create dangerous liabilities. As a result, protectionism abounds. People are tired and dis-spirited. Crime and corruption are increasing. Attempts to convince people they’re better off are greeted with appropriate cynicism world wide. Yet against this background rises the belief in belief. Faith in community, in religion, in the sanctity of the group. But it’s largely every group for itself, serving its self-focused interests.

Top of the page

The World in 2010: A Moral and Political Portrait. Author: Michael Novak  Vital Speeches of the Day, 51:17, 15 June 1985, 538-542.
Three global scenarios to 2010.

From the perspective of 1985, three moral and political portraits of the world, whose shape will depend on its geopolitical shape in 2010, are sketched.  These scenarios so not fully describe the demise of the Soviet Union, but the Best Hope scenario comes very close to matching the reality of events  that occurred only several years later!

Scenario 1.) A Worst Fear: the universal submission to Pox Sovietica.  The strategic balance shifts to the USSR . The Soviets have many client states and strong control over lands, air, and sea.  Western Europe becomes neutralized.  The U.S. becomes defensive.  China enters into an unfavorable non-aggression pact with the USSR. The internal USSR becomes more repressive without constraints from Europe and the US, and the morale of its officers corps is very high, although its economy is still inefficient and stagnant.  People in the world get used to a loss of liberty.

Scenario 2.) Best Hope: the great liberalization of the USSR. The USSR moves away from totalitarianism.  Free speech in politics, in economics, in individual inventiveness and in culture, is improved with communications technologies.  On the overall, this improves the world.   A global communications network discards central Soviet government control.  The triumph of liberal economics over Marxist economics is achieved as the former is more efficient and brings more human satisfaction.

Scenario 3.) A Reasoned Guess: the greatest expansion of Soviet power in the next five years.  This attempt is made by inspiring and supporting local revolutionaries, destroying key people, and establishing puppet governments, which offer the market for Soviet arms.  The moral confusion, intellectual bafflement, and the failure of public unity in the life of the U.S. are some of the driving factors.   In this world, U.S. political elites are more responsible for the world’s destiny than the USSR  “Strategic ideas have strategic consequences.”

Top of the page

Five Scenarios for the Year 2000. Author: Franco Ferrarotti,  Greenwood Press, Westport, CT.  Aug. 1986/136p.
Five global scenarios to 2000.

In this book, the future of society is hypothesized according to possible “landscapes” corresponding to  historical decisions.   These scenarios are driven by the following key trends: the crisis of the individual; bureaucracy flourishing; technology spinning out of control; ideologies failing; and the stagnation of society.

Scenario 1.) The Anthill Society:  characterized by urbanization, overcrowding, widespread criminality, and a loss of meaning. Emergencies in underdeveloped countries are routine, with increasingly strained US granaries called to the rescue.

 Scenario 2.) Polycentric Society: characterized by the death of the great industrial city and decentralizing to a globally conceived social structure of flexibility and freedom.

 Scenario 3.) Differentiated Gigantism:  in which a technology?driven global tele?village emerges, and leads to a high degree of automation, robotization, and information overload.

Scenario 4.) The Corporate Society: characterized as a dichotomous society in the shape of a flattened pyramid, in which a narrow summit prevails over a broad base.  New technologically sophisticated elites are at the summit while overpopulation overwhelms those at the bottom (Malthus’ revenge).

Scenario 5.) Multivalent, Multidimensional Society: this society is decentralized and integrated, and, thanks to technology, homogeneous and communitarian, yet non-conformist.  A new oral and group?centered culture emerges alongside technological development.

Top of the page

One World, Many Worlds - Struggles for a Just World Peace.  Author: R.B. J. Walker.  Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, Colo. 1988.  Zed Books Limited.  London, England.
Three global scenarios to the 21st century.

Three emerging future scenarios are posited.

Scenario 1.) No World: global catastrophe from a general nuclear war or a general collapse of civilization.   This comes about because of fundamental social forces that have ecologically destructive practices, or through the encouragement of militarization and institutionalized violence.  It can be an authoritarian regime.  The world is insecure for all people.  This is an obliteration of a human life itself or a life as human on the earth.

Scenario 2.) Two Worlds: solution of present world problems for only a limited number of people.  The established international order can be interpreted as inequity or just another kind of violence.   Economic and technological miracles are only for the people who can participate at a certain level of world society.  There is a huge gap between  the haves and have-nots, with the complete disappearance of a middle class.  Management of environment is limited for profitability and human rights are assured within narrow terms.  Weaker people become invisible or ignored and this is worse than a slave who is at least needed by a master.

Scenario 3.) One World, Many Worlds: accommodating both unity and diversity

Top of the page

A Short History of the Future. Author: W. Warren Wagar,  Afterword by Immanuel Wallerstein.  U of Chicago Press, Chicago Ill., Nov. 1989/323p.
A world history of the future to 2200.

A memoir of post-modern times in the form of a history book written in 2200 by Peter Jensen as a gift to his granddaughter. “The book is divided into three time periods reflecting three different world regimes: a megacorporate global economy reigning until the “nuclear catastrophe of 2044,” the subsequent socialist world commonwealth of the World Party, and a decentralized order of autonomous societies from the 2150s on.” Future Survey Annual 1994   Of note is the chapter The Great Housecleaning  that describes the Planetary Restoration Authority (PRA), created by Congress in 2073.  The PRA is in charge of reclaiming the biosphere by setting in place a phased worldwide ban on fossil fuels, total reforestation, and the recovery of shores and lowlands.   “A favorable report on the progress of the PRA by a panel of independent scientists was made public in 15 September 2099.  It found the earth clean, green, and safe at last.  Forests, oceans, and lakes were in excellent health.  Congress commemorated the occasion  by declaring 15 September a world holiday, popularly known as earth Festival Day, which we have celebrated ever since.”

Top of the page

The Great Turning: Personal Peace, Global Victory. Authors: Craig Schindler and Gary Lapid  Bear & Company Publishing, Santa Fe., NM,  May 1989/258p.
A world scenario to 2025.

In this profound book about personal peace and the shift to a better world, Schindler and Lapid describe a scenario looking back from the year 2025.  Trends and events driving the scenario are: an evolutionary shift in human thinking takes root; dialogue results in national reconciliation of conflicting views; interactive TV enables national electronic “town meetings”; economic development of underdeveloped nations becomes a key focus. In the scenario, conflict between individuals, communities and nations is swept away as the new ethic of respect for life and creative conflict resolution develops during the first quarter of the 21st century. Destruction of the environment is also halted and restoration efforts blossom as a new respect for the natural world develops.

Top of the page

Alternative World Scenarios for Strategic Planning.  Author: Charles W. Taylor  (Strategic Futurist, SSI).
Carlisle Barracks PA: U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, Sept 1988/105p.  World scenarios addressing two time periods – the years 2005 and 2025.

Taylor sketches four alternative world scenarios for strategic military planning.  These scenarios were projected within a unique “cone of plausibility” aptly illustrated in the book.  Trends driving the scenarios include:  new international political order; rapid global population growth; increasing interdependence of nations; rapid scientific and technological change; proliferation of conventional and nuclear weapons; and unification of U.S. military forces into a smaller, elite, high?tech force.

Scenario 1.)  U.S. Isolationism: economic problems and a national focus on American social and environmental spending results in falling defense budgets early in the 21st century. At the same time, rising nationalism around the world reduces U.S. influence abroad. By 2020 most military bases abroad and many within the U.S. have been closed and the U.S. has adopted an isolationists approach to foreign affairs.

Scenario 2.) U.S. World Peacekeeper: a dynamic, fiercely competitive international economy results in significant external threats to U.S. interests. A strengthened U.S. military protects the peace and U.S. investments abroad.   Russia, at the center of a new confederation, is again a threat.

Scenario 3.)  Neo-nationalism: the rise of nationalism worldwide eliminates the U.S. political, economic and military presence abroad. External threats result in a smaller but well supported, high?tech U.S. military at home.

Scenario 4.)  Multipolar World: external threats to the U.S. are more economic than military. A resurgent Russian?centered confederation is again a significant military threat. Reduced defense budgets have resulted in a smaller American military.

Top of the page

Global Outlook 2000: An Economic, Social, and Environmental Perspective.  The United Nations Publications. May 1990/ 340p.
 World scenarios to 2000.

This is a study undertaken for the UN General Assembly, drawing on research and projections prepared by many parts of the UN system and providing alternative scenarios of economic growth.   Key trends driving the baseline scenario include: the risk of environmental deterioration increases; there is a geographic concentration of energy supply; food self?sufficiency stabilizes; widening R&D and technology gaps threaten North?South trade; high population growth in some developing countries. In the baseline scenario, economic performance throughout the 1990s changes little from the previous decade.  The share of investment in GDP (an indicator of the formation of physical capital) is stable. Capital efficiency (a key for achieving sustainable economic growth) improves slightly. World GDP goes up from 1.6% to 1.8% annually, but the rich poor?gap worsens slightly. World trade expands 4.5% annually. By 2000, the balance of trade for developed countries improve about 0.5% while developing countries have a 2% deficit (as % of GDP). Alternative scenarios to the baseline scenario explore the effects of four groups of potential policy changes: 1. Accelerated structural change in developed market economies raise annual GDP growth by one?half percent.   2. Improved coordination of macroeconomic policies among major developed market economies lowers real interest rates and boosts growth in the world economy.   3. Political and economic reforms in former Soviet bloc lead to 4 to 5% growth in this region.   4. Developing countries implement a large agenda for economic improvement.

Top of the page

History of the Future: A Chronology.  Authors: Peter Lorie and Sidd Murphy, Doubleday Publishing,  Clark, NY. 1989/224p.
A world scenario to 3000.

This book provides very illustrative chapters divided by centuries.  The scenarios themselves are high-tech, and are on the leading edge or “fringe” of science and philosophy.   Scenario 2000 - 2100  is a world that is radically transformed during the 21st century.   In this world, artificial intelligence becomes a reality; science and religion become allies when old religious beliefs fall into disfavor; government shifts from democracy (one person, one vote) to meritocracy ( those with talent govern).   This means that political leaders are selected based on eligibility examinations or academic qualifications.  By 2100, there is greater harmony between our bodies and the environment, which enables us to better understand the causes of disease.

Top of the page

Future Mind: Artificial Intelligence. Author: Jerome Glenn. Acropolis Books, Ltd. Washington, DC.  1989/307p.
Three global scenarios to the 21st century.

Glenn writes about merging of the mystical and the technological into the 21st century.   Concludes with three global scenarios.

1) High Tech-Low Mystic:  an advanced technological society rejects the mystical aspects of human nature.  Instead of being future shocked by technological change, people accept technological dominance of their lives.

2) Mystical Abuse—Technological Introversion:  insecurity about technology leads to its rejection. People embrace old metaphysical views cloaked in the religious and occult authority.  New Age optimism becomes mainstream, but slowing progress in science and engineering halts global economic growth and sets the stage for a decline of the human species.

3.) Oil and Water Truce: mystics and technocrats tolerate each other, but have not yet integrated their views. Plans for the serious development of space gets underway, including the creation of "aliens" via genetic engineering, bionics, and artificial intelligence to experiment with extraterrestrial communications.

Top of the page

The Road to 2015: Profiles of the Future.  Author: John L. Peterson,  Corte Madera CA: Waite Group Press.  Sept 1994/372p.   Publishers Group West, Emeryville CA.
Three global scenarios to 2015.

The seeds of three different worlds suggested by Global Business Network are introduced to elicit an idea of where specific “crosscuts” and “wild cards” (evolutionary events) might guide us into the future.  Lots of leading edge ideas are included.

Scenario 1.) Market World: with amazing new technology and cooperation, the whole world becomes most desirable in terms of business, economics, politics, and society.  After the Cold War, nations begin to solve their biggest problems in a positive way, leading to growth, development and innovation.  Some of the topics in this scenario include - fuel cells that keep the air clean; a hydrogen economy evolves.

Scenario 2.) New Empires: somewhat closed societies where protectionism or regionalism prevails, with the possibility of  a largely free-trade mode and more severe competition.  Some of the topics include major fights over genetic information; the end of the Nation-state.

Scenario 3.) Global Incoherence: with the realization of all fears, it is a world of disaster.  Even the technology gets out of hand.  There is less hope and incentive for the better future and a lack of leadership.  Increasing role of weapons for terrorism. See also “Art of the Longview” by Peter Schwartz.

Top of the page

The State of the World’s Children 1995. Author: James P. Grant.
Published for UNICEF. NY: Oxford U Press, March 1995/89p.  Two world scenarios to 2050.

The World Summit for Children in 1990 set goals and strategies to enhance and protect the lives of children worldwide.  Since this summit, more than 100 developing nations have made significant strides to that end.  In this report on the state of the world’s children, UNICEF outlined two scenarios of the future of children to the year 2050.   These scenarios are driven by the following global trends: international cooperation on children’s issues grows; malnutrition reduced; immunization levels maintained; and increasing economic exclusion and increasing social disintegration in some developing countries.

Scenario 1.) No new international effort to overcome poverty and underdevelopment. World population nears 12 billion. Environmental deterioration worsens. Economic marginalization continues and the rich?poor gap widens. Traditional community structures and values break down. Increasing civil and international conflict.

Scenario 2.) A new international effort overcomes the worst of poverty and underdevelopment. Government expenditures and aid programs restructured to invest in jobs and basic social services. Population peaks at 8 billion. Environmental sustainability is adopted.  Arms sales restricted. Economic inequalities lessen. States have drawn back from the brink of collapse.

Top of the page

Utopia Lost: The United Nations and World Order.  Author: Rosemary Righter.  A Twentieth Century Fund Book.  NY: TCF Press. Jan 1995/420p.
World scenarios to 21st century.

After unsuccessful attempts at reform, the  power and effectiveness of the UN has come into serious question.   Strategies for strengthening the UN has become important to the success of the UN, particularly in an age of multilateralism where new forms of multilateral cooperation have been more successful than many UN organizations.  Four possible options for the future of the UN are sketched.

Scenario 1.)  Opting Out: major powers withdraw from the United Nations, resulting in smaller nations developing a new system of multilateral cooperation.

Scenario 2.) Structural Reform:  the entire structure of the United Nations is reformed, resulting in more effective operation of the organization.

Scenario 3.) Facade Management: expectations of the United Nations are scaled down and the organization continues to muddle along.

Scenario 4.) Selective Action: a pragmatic approach that focuses on building upon the United Nations’  areas of strength and excellence makes the organization more effective in a limited number of areas.

Top of the page

Millennium - Toward Tomorow’s Society.  Author: Francis Kinsman. Wiley, NY. 1990.
World scenarios to 2020.

In this book, Kinsman discusses key trends and the future of society, concluding with three scenarios.

Scenario 1.) Retrenchment Scenario:  a world where a severe recession leads to the collapse of developed countries’ economies and there is a slump in commodity prices.  A massive international crash results from the incapacity of the third world countries to pay their debts.

Scenario 2.)  The Assertive Materialism:  pictures a short economic crisis followed by a prolonged period of fairly rapid economic growth as it is generally believed that technology and science have brought forward important answers.

Scenario 3.) The Caring Autonomy: a substantial world with decentralized governments and interpersonal relationships.

Top of the page

The Next Two Hundred Years: A Scenario for America and the World.  Authors: Herman Kahn, William Brown, and Leon Martel, with the assistance of the staff of the Hudson Institute. Morrow, New York, 1976/241p.
World scenario to 21st century.

In this classic work, the authors  propose various world scenarios of the future.  Some of the scenarios outlined in this book include:

Scenario 1.) The Optimistic Scenario: depicts a prosperous and plentiful world even though it has a high population.  On the overall, the population is wealthy and controls nature.  The world has reached this state through the use of existing living space and the Earth’s resources.  Population has reached a stable number (7.5 to 30 billion people) at around 2180 and living standards have increased.  The per capita product is $7000 to $6000, the Gross World Product is between $60 trillion and $1,500 trillion.  There are two alternatives to this future:  An earth centered world where there is little extraterrestrial activity, and a “Spacebound” world where colonies are established in space and humans mine the planets of the solar system.

Scenario 2.) Convinced Neo-Malthusian scenario:  is a downside scenario in which the population has reached such a large number that it can no longer be fed.   No successful decisions are made about the problems of the world.  There have been no new discoveries, and technology and labor are counterproductive.  The development of industry is decreasing and the quality of life ruined.  It is a very sad long term future.

Scenario 3.) Guarded Pessimistic Scenario:  in this scenario, the population and economy have grown exponentially.  The poverty gap between rich and poor nations is threatening, especially since there has been no successful decision making about world problems.  There are no innovations in this scenario, with diminishing returns in technology and labor; development of industry has gone a step backwards and there are several threats to quality of life as well as possibilities of environmental disasters.

Scenario 4.) Guarded Optimistic Scenario:  there has been a gradual increase of available resources (in sufficient number for every one), the transition of population and economic growth have reached a stable level. The standard of living of both developed and developing countries has increased and world decision making has been pretty successful.  Technology and capital are playing a greater and greater role in leading to progress.  Innovations and discoveries are usually effective; the industrial development is continuous and quality of life increases but the transition toward a prosperous post-industrial economy, although successful, is painful.

Scenario 5.) Technology and Growth Enthusiastic Scenario:  the increase in available resources is rapid, solutions are found to solve resource problems.  There is continuing growth; world decisionmaking is effective, technology and capital are solving almost all the contemporary problems, discoveries are numerous and industrial development is in continuity.  The quality of life is good except for a few discounted people.

Top of the page

How to Build Scenarios. Author: Lawrence Wilkerson Global Business Network. Scenarios: Special WIRED Edition. December, 1995.
Four global scenarios to 2020.

Excellent primer on conceptualizing and creating strong scenarios. Defines and describes driving forces, scenario logics, axes of uncertainty, fleshing out scenarios, and examining implications of each. Example set of scenaros presented, with time frame to 2020. Critical uncertainties: individuality vs. community, stability vs. fragmentation.

Scenario 1.) I Will? individualism with marginal control by large organizations. “ The world fragments into a working pandemonium of individuals, organized by jobs rather than geography.  Communication is pervasive and focuses on personal empowerment. The Net becomes the chief exchange medium for decentralized work, personal gratification, and global commerce. Physical infrastructure in North America stagnates, while personal spaces thrive.  Art and attention are turned inward, as personal expression in the new media, and old public spaces crumble.  Technology is the global culture. The have-nots become the have-lates.  Ethnic or group differences give way to a homogenized patchwork of unbridled individual variety.  Europe is racked with civil strife as its socialistic civilization unravels. Russia rebounds, Japan lags.  China and the developing countries become huge flea markets where just about anything goes.”

Scenario 2.) Consumerland? individual desires meet corporate center.  “The world is populated by consumers rather than citizens.  Technology breeds unlimited customized choices.  The consumer is served by highly evolved companies, aggressively nimble and conscientious of the market’s whims.  Computers do increasing amounts of white-collar work.  Manufactured products are heavily personalized, but do-it-yourself dies.  Real leisure increases; dissent withers.  Politics means electronic voting.  Governments are virtual organizations, with their heavy lifting privatized to commercial ventures. The have-nots are given spending vouchers.  Southeast Asia and the coast of China manufacture most of Consumerland’s goods, and consume almost half themselves.  Latin America is their branch office. Japan gets richer and unhappier.  Russia exports trouble in the form of neo-religious cultists and mafioso.  The US and Europe become large theme parks.

Scenario 3.) Ecotopia? communalism with a strong social center.  The world slows the growth of development.  In reaction to earlier decades of high crime and chaos, communitarian values triumph over strictly individualistic ones.  Slimmed down and digitized governments win the trust of people.  Directed taxation funds public works, some of them large scale.  Corporations adopt civic-responsibility programs out of long-term economic self-interest.  Technology, such as online shopping, makes urban living very resource-friendly.  Net access is a subsidized right.  Dirty technologies are outlawed, forcing less developed countries to leapfrog to clean and light technologies, if they can.   Initially, this widens the gap between rich and poor nations.  Europe erupts into a second renaissance, becoming a moral beacon.  Japan mobilizes not much later.  The Islamic world awakens.  Asia and Latin America become lifeboats for the young and restless of the developed world who find the environmentalism and communitarianism too dogmatic; they settle in “free economic zones,” where their migration and energy help to vitalize growth.  North America stumbles as its cowboy individualism is tamed.”

Scenario 4.)  New civics? values shared, but by many small competing groups. “ The world settles into small, powerful city-states.  Rural areas of the world are second-class, but have widespread virtual hookups.  Europe fractionalizes into 57 countries; China, Russia, Brazil, and India also devolve into black market ethnic states.  Gangs in developing countries and old inner cities transform into political law-and-order machines.  Citizens use networks and databases to watch over and protect each other.  Average life spans increase dramatically; general health improves.  Civic pride blossoms. Governments use advance technologies to create the largest public works yet, both citywide and global.  Corporations are reigned in by civic regulations, although they increase in size - there’s the Fortune Global 5000.  Conglomerates fund most of the UN-type activities.

Top of the page

The Future of Cultures. Coordinated by Eleonora Masini (Gregorian U, Rome).  Paris: UNESCO Future-oriented Studies, Dec 1994/167p.
Five global scenarios of the future of cultures.

The Futures of Cultures project is a synthesis of the thinking of some of the greatest authors in diverse fields.  Some include: Sohail Inayatullah on Asian cultures, Kazuo Mizuta on the Japanese culture, and Godwin Sogolo on Africa.  Masini sums up the thinking in five scenarios.   1) Pessimistic Scenario: “in which all cultures become bastardized, or reduced to a harmless ‘museam’ role.”  2) Continuity-in-Change or Dual-Track Scenario: “where core elements of the culture remains strong.”  3) The Resistance Scenario: “where the many cultures fend off the dominant one.” 4) The Gaia Scenario: “where all cultures recognize that no culture is complete in itself.”   5) The Jungle/Babel Scenario: “fostered by communications technologies and biotechnologies.”   In the future, it will be common for people to live among different cultures. Future Survey Annual 1994

Top of the page

Global Scenarios: Geopolitical and Economic Context to the Year 2000. Authors: Michel Godet, Pierre Chapay, and Gerard Comyn,  Futures,  26:3, April,  1994, 275-288.
World scenarios to 2000.

An excellent study of global trends and futures.  The authors conclude with three world economy scenarios to 21st century.

Scenario 1.) Black and Gray Scenarios:  recessionary setback, regional wars, failed European integration, protectionism, and GNP growth of less than 0.5% (black) or 1.5% (gray).

Scenario 2.) Blue Scenario: limited conflict, unequal development, regional protectionism, GNP growth of less than 0.5% or 1.5%.

Scenario 3.) Pink Scenario: multi-polar and interdependent world, economic convergence of East and West Europe, extended free trade, intensive globalization, GNP growth of more than 3%.

Top of the page

Looking Back From the 21st Century. Author: Hazel Henderson . Presented to Taking Nature into Account International Conference, The European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium, May 31, 1995.
Scenario of the world in 2010.

 “The worlds center of gravity” had shifted in many ways due to the communications-led shift toward democracies. This had fueled the emerging global governance process: ‘mediocracy,’ i.e. media-driven policies and decisions.”    In this scenario, Henderson shows how it is possible for the United Nations and other viable international institutions to work together with nations to govern the global economy, or a win-win financial system, to maintain the goal of a sustainable development path.  See section 3.4 for a more detailed description of this normative scenario.

Top of the page

2025:Scenarios of US and Global Society Reshaped by Science and Technology. Author: Joseph Coates, John Mahaffie, and Andy Hines,  (Akron, OH: Oakhill Press, 1997) 800/322-6657.

Looking backward from the year 2025, fifteen scenarios present an integrated picture of what life will be like in the U.S. and around the world, with the powerful shaping role of science and technology emphasized. The environmental chapter, for example, highlights growing global support for sustainability and its implications for resource use and business practices.

Top of the page



Related Research Menu

Millennium Project Home Page1