In addition to other objectives, the Millennium Project will give more attention to scenarios during its 1997 work. The Planning Committee meeting (12-13 February 1997 at the Smithsonian Institution) and discussions since that time have resulted in the nomination of the following objectives and actions for the scenario work this year:
1. EXPLORATORY SCENARIOS - Extend the 1996 scenario work by exploring means for adding quantitative rigor to scenarios through the use of global models and other systematic numerical approaches.
1.1 Compile and abstract a list of appropriate modeling techniques and global models that might be used in this application.
1.2 Review the models that might be available for this application.
1.3 Develop and use techniques for collecting judgments required to link global models to global scenarios.
1.4 Integrate developments from 1996 and 1997 Global Lookout studies as appropriate.
1.5 Develop a set of exploratory global scenarios that may be based on the 1996 scenario work but go further in scope and depth. These scenarios should illustrate the use of the quantitative techniques.
2. NORMATIVE SCENARIOS - Develop several normative scenarios sketches (as sketches were done last year for exploratory scenarios) that illustrate the importance and strength of the normative approach.
2.1 Review MP scenario bibliography for normative scenarios.
2.2 Review MP report on Normative Forecasting (Phase II of MPFS).
2.3 Collect MP participants nominations for global norms or goals for 2025 from which the MP staff would write (backcast) normative scenarios. Also collect MP participants nominations for existent global scenarios.
2.4 As appropriate, integrate developments from the 1996 and 1997 Global Lookout studies.
2.5 Collect feedback on sub-goals and steps of the normative scenarios written by MP staff as necessary throughout the year.
3. EVALUATION CRITERIA
Develop methods for assessing the excellence of both exploratory and normative scenarios.
4. UP-DATE SCENARIO BIBLIOGRAPHY
Continue the search for and cataloging of published information about global scenarios developed by other organizations. Because of our interest in global models, this bibliographic work should take special note of scenarios that employed as a basis for their development: e.g. Forrester-Meadows work for the Club of Rome, the Meserovic/Pestell work following the Meadows analysis, Larry Klein’s Project Link, the PoleStar modeling work of the Stockholm Institute, and Gerald O’Barney’s Global 2000.
5. ORGANIZE SCENARIOS
Nesting Scenarios. Since both normative and exploratory scenarios can be global or regional/ sectoral, one can imagine a two by matrix:
Normative Exploratory Global A B Regional or C D SectoralScenarios in boxes A and B describe plausible world conditions. In box A, these conditions would be as positive as possible; in box B these conditions would be as expected under a set of constraining conditions and assumptions.
Scenarios in boxes C and D described more detailed sub systems or elements that operate within the global scenarios and are consistent with them - if/when they are not, their either the global scenario or the regional or sectoral scenario would be changed. Global insight should inform sub systems, just as sub systems should inform the global systems. Box C would contain descriptions of positive yet plausible conditions, such as nearly everyone that wants it has global information via hand-held satellite transceivers. Box D would contain descriptions of expected or extrapolated conditions, such as irregular but slow growth in Africa. The detailed scenarios of boxes C and D might describe a geographic region such as sub Sahara Africa, a religion such as Islam, a business, or a technology.
If a detailed normative scenario were being constructed for a business (box C) then the hopes for that business would be expressed within a world framed by the normative scenarios of box A. If that scenario box C had plausible developments that resulted in global changes not included in box A, then scenarios in box A should be changed.
This is the simple matrix that illustrates the concept of "nesting". It illustrates the fractal nature of scenarios, since every more detailed scenarios could be constructed within the constraints of more general scenarios that describes their settings. Obviously flexibility is required, but this structure may lend some order to the choice of the scope of scenarios.
1997 Exploratory Scenario Dimensions Questionnaire
1. Communications technology (from vibrant to stagnant)
2. Crime (from massive concern to contained)
3. Degree of globalization (from free trade to isolationism)
4. Degree of harmonization (from shared standards to ad hoc)
5. Economic competitiveness among nations and companies (high to low)
5. Economic vitality, overall global economic activity (from high to low)
6. Government participation in society (from high involvement to little of laissez-faire)
7. Individual health (from greatly improved to deteriorating)
8. Leadership (from inspired and effective to dismal and ineffective)
9. Pollution (from disastrous to being cured)
10. Population growth (from high to low)
11. Resource availability (from abundance to scarcity) to year 2025
12. Rich/poor gap-within and among countries (from widening to narrowing)
13. Social focus (from individualism to community)
14. Technology (from major concern to benign)
15. Terrorism (from major concern to benign)
16. The status of women (from improving to stagnating)
17. Threats to global security and/or quality of life (high to low)
18. wars (from volcanic to quiescent)
The 18 suggestions above were drawn from several sources, including the development suggested by the 1996 Millennium Project lookout panel, global issues from the study, recent successful scenarios such as a set prepared by The Futures Group for NASA, and other similar sources.
Axis Title Degree of globalization Rank Votes (from free trade to islolationism) 1 17 Communications technology (from vibrant to stagnant) 2 13 Threats to global security and/or quality of life (high to low) 3 11 Government participation in society high involvement to little or 4 10
Of the possible scenarios from these dimensions, the team will select four or so scenarios for further development via the following criteria:
Sketches will be shared with participants for comment, the fleshed out with results of Lookout results and quantitative models.
1997 Global Normative Scenarios
A list of 15 norms were identified during a Millennium Project meeting on scenarios. They were sent to the Project's two listservs for further consideration. Participants were asked to select four from the list of 15 as the primary norms upon which to focus when writing the normative scenarios. They were:
1. Peace (war is virtually eliminated)
2. Plenty (all people have basic necessities of life (clean water, nutrition, shelter, habitable space)
3. Global Ethics identified and accepted (like compassion, honesty, etc.)
4. Exciting and meaningful life
7. Everyone has what they want
10. Preservation of the human species
13. Environmental sustainability
14. Universal educational access
In addition to these norms, the Millennium Project will also use the results of the Global Lookout studies of 1996 and 1997 plus the Lessons and Questions from History in creating the normative scenarios. Subscribers to the Millennium Project Listservs were invited to select four (4) from the above list of 15 that: a) should become the primary focus for constructing global normative scenarios of a world in which one would like to live in the year 2050, b) that will be the most useful to clarify policy choices, and c) challenge thinking on really tough issues. 36 people responded. The results are listed below in order of the number of times they were selected:
27 Environmental sustainability
14 Global Ethics identified and accepted (like compassion, honesty, etc.)
9 Both: Universal Education Access; and Freedom
8 Both: Equity; and Preservation of the Human Species
6 Three: Enlightenment; Self-Actualization; and Exciting and Meaningful Life
2 Everyone has everything they want
Respondents to this survey were also invited to send additional suggestions
and comments on the norms for the global normative scenarios. A distillation
of those comments follow:
How can you anticipate changes in values. Has anybody looked at this? What does history or comparison of cultures tell us? Are there identified drivers?
...One way to forecast values is to list the values that a society says they hold but are not yet realized. Then list them in order of the how easy they are to realized with the most difficult at the end. This gives a sequence of the next series of values being expressed in that society...
...There appears to be a small core of shared moral values that transcend
geographical, cultural, ethnic, and religious distinctions. When
you ask individuals in different cultures to identify what might be called
a code of ethics for the 21st century, they converge with remarkable consistency
on five ideas: honesty, compassion, fairness, responsibility, and respect
(results of an Institute for Global Ethics study). Initial survey
work suggests that this choice is unaffected
by cultural background, religious affiliation, gender, age, or language, and that the definitions of these terms is reasonably constant. These values, of course, may be put into practice in different ways by different groups, and may be extended only to a narrow circle of associates in some
societies. But any effort to contemplate values shifts in our global future needs to begin with a recognition that a minimalist set of core values already exists, and that the popular assertion that "we all have different values" does not bear up under scrutiny.
The evolution of values. What we find distasteful today, future
generations may find reasonable and delightful. And what we find reasonable
and delightful today, future generations may find distasteful or worse.
Consider the broad acceptance of slave-holding and, in more recent
the idea that women should remain in the home. Values, too, may evolve. Shaped in part by technology, they seem to develop toward future value sets that embody more than a merely Darwinian survival of the fittest values. While its seems reasonable to assume that some values will remain constant over time, it also seems plausible to foresee that evolution will occur...
...This illustrates the idea about normative forecasting based on values stated and values realized. Value stated was that all are equal in the eyes of god - but not in practice. These kinds of contradictions are listed (slaves not treated as free people, women with less mobility than men). In these examples, it's not that the values "changed," just that they became realized or the hypocrisy was decreased.
We value universal education, but that was not possible, increasingly
it will become more possible. Has the value changed? One can say
yes and no. All oriental philosophies
have enlightenment as a value (as does the eye on the pyramid on the great seal of the United State on its $1 bill), but that is indeed a long way off. If we get achieve a value, did the value change? It is hard to take enlightenment seriously today, but in 50 or 500 or 5000 years?
What is tough is to get the values that are not yet stated. That may not be as useful to us now, as it would be to get list of values stated but not yet realized that could be realized by year 2050...
...The lack of common standards for evaluating change. Yet however
much values may evolve, there is no foolproof and widely accepted "social
intelligence" to evaluate the value shifts
of the future. Suppose that in 1910 people had been given a complete picture of the changes likely to accompany the automobile and that they could have put its future to a vote.
Would they have rejected the technology because it contradicted their view of what a good future might entail? And whose view would have prevailed the elders, the youth, the politicians, the
...Human nature. If we used the rule that people want the greatest amount
of pleasure with the lest amount of effort, with little short term risk,
then the forecast of the car's rapid proliferation
would have been easy.
...No central control. However much we may long for an orderly
world, the fact remains that no agency is (or should be) in charge of the
development of our values nor, in fact, of many of our technologies.
No one could have voted to stop the printing press or the pill, because
there was no institution capable of stopping them. Today, only a
few of the most dangerous technologies actually have someone in charge.
[And this is interesting. How that principal evolves might be a key driver
in our future.] The bio-scientists involved in experiments with non-somatic
cells, for example, police themselves, and diplomats have outlawed the
use of biological weapons, so far successfully. But in Western nations,
most technologies mature in a riot of uncoordinated
activity that militates against foresight...
...I can agree than some values are constant and we do not all have
different values. It is also important to note that the hierarchies
of values may differ because of culture (history, religion, accepted behavior
etc). Hierarchy of values is the most important point more than their
constancy. Yes, the evolution of values is very important, not only through
generations but because of historical events of different origin. Some
values were imported into India by the English in the colonial period which
are today accepted values by the Indian people such as the value of high
level education. The next important point is how far values change a society
thus transforming the basic traits of a specific culture into something
else? The possibility of the contemporary existence of core values for
each culture (which do not change and give its specificity) and periphery
values which do change (importance of clothing and music or food) but do
not change the culture in its self, has also to be considered. The point
is hence how far are the
core values different in different cultures or within the cultures. Is there a limit beyond which a culture becomes another one?
I agree on the lack of standards for evaluating change. Can it be done
on the basis of an immutable set of values? I think, once more, it is better
to think of different hierarchies of the same values. Today equity is higher
than obedience in the hierarchy, tomorrow compassion may be higher than
equity in some societies. I think this is a very important discussion that
should go on in the Millennium project.
...I think, that pure normative scenarios are like good wishes. One
of the necessary tasks is to analyze those factors which support them,
which can sustain them and which are making them unrealistic or impossible.The
failures in the normative work of international organizations are
important lessons. It would be an interesting task to study, how, why and in which direction the interests and policies of the countries are changing, and on this basis, how those values are changing, on which the present international cooperation system is built. What can one project in the changes of the value system?
...As a jurist let me tell you about the "reality" of accepted "norms" even without formal legal approval. "Normative" is not synonymous with "good wishes". Since Socrates to the US Federal Constitution and particularly the "principles and norms"approved by UN Conferences represent a real progress in the building of a "global" respect for human rights, environment, status of the women, sustainable development, peaceful solution of conflicts, the Law of the Sea, Outer Space, Antarctic and so on. I would love to analyze the "realistic" nature of "normative scenarios" from the point the view of futures research thinking. I would agree that the risk of the "normative scenarios thinking" may lead to utopian thinking. In the same way, "exploratory scenarios thinking" may lead to mechanistic/deterministic anti-utopian thinking. I'm glad this issue has been posed. There's good reason to talk about this interesting topic.
We must be careful in judging the function of UN Organizations in the
configuration of a "global culture" based on "global values" that should
be transformed into "global norms and institutions". Don't blame the UN
Organizations -UNO, UNESCO, FAO, UNEP, WHO, and others- for the lack of
government support, beginning with financial support and delays, ignorance
or rejection of UN Conferences decisions. UN Organizations are expression
of the inter-national system. UN have not legal jurisdiction to legislate
in world scale. On the other hand there are interesting studies that demonstrate
the value of UN works in the formation and creation of new legal thinking
and proposals to deal with critical areas in many important sector of humankind
life. There are many aspects of UN life that should and has been
severely criticized. And they refer
principally to the heavy bureaucracy and the difficulties to govern the UN system. Interesting your comment about "value formation and value change".
...Value evolution: The comment about the evolution of values is important
and raises important questions. Example: if we can ever have policies that
achieve normative goals perfectly, then what
options are open to the future generations that live when those norms are achieved? This leads immediately to the suggestion that and normative future must carry the ability to change the norms. Without this, value tyranny over time will result. What values lead to rational or irrational consumer behavior?
I list 10 in addition to the others because in some future world people might live free, exciting, long and healthy lives with all of the necessities of life available to them and yet forget that pursuit of the mystery of existence requires continuity and evolution. It may not be great but the human species is all we've got, so we'd best preserve it and let it become as advanced as possible.
...Plenty: the dystopian part of it is poverty. They belong together
as sides of a coin. Plenty to all, or whom? How much poverty may be tolerated,
and whose poverty? Plenty of material welfare of also social-political
and cultural-spiritual welfare? Global Ethics. Is it possible/ref.
culture report and Global Ethos report of the World Council of Churches. One part of ethics is recognition of value contradictions between people and group of people and societies and between citizens and societies. Cultural competence: to tolerate value contradiction. Relates closely to item 1.
...10, 13 belong together in my mind. What are the conditions to sustain as a human species technology needed, sustainable growth rate, rebound effect, dematerialization of production and immaterialization of consumption. New thinking and human attitude are necessary to energy.
...Enlightenment. New enlightenment after the modern project has been accomplished as far as it can be with our present ideas of progress. New ideas of progress are needed, similar emergence of new concept as in 300 years ago.
...I think a human equivalent of biodiversity needs to be encouraged. That is, a unifying vision which enables all to live well together, but sufficient freedom within that vision for as many different groups as possible to flourish.
...Spirituality (not religion as such, but honoring and experiencing the intrinsic spiritual one-ness of all life).
...It seems to me, and important (!!!), it is not a view of a typical Polish Catholic - rather a technocrat, that religions and search for spiritual values to a great extent will shape the social life in the 21st Century.
...Health (#9) subsumes Plenty (all people have basic necessities of life (clean water, nutrition, shelter, habitable space)(#2).
...People are creating the world they want. Though I don't have one word that covers this concept, I think it is the best indicator of vibrant healthy life on this planet. I also think that it recognizes both the interdependency and the individuality of the world creating process. People have different visions of the world they want and the norms that they want to create by. Politics and trade are the process by which we work it out. I would be gravely concerned if the world settled on 4 or 10 fundamental norms. I would much rather see a world where politics is rampant.
...In my opinion - When norms #7 and #4 are achieved, all other norms are automatically realized. What is the difference between #2 and #7? Do you mean, #2 is for material requirements and #7 is for emotional and spiritual requirements? Every one should have what they want. And, one should not have more. That is also important. Let us take a simple example of food. Spanish writer Gabria Marquez (sp?) said - "Half of my life, I did not eat what I liked because I could not afford it. For the other half of my life, I did not eat what I liked because doctors did not allow me". My point is that having something in plenty (more than required) has its own problem. About #15 - Enlightenment about what ? Is it the enlightenment that all humans (or, all living things?) should be helped to achieve these norms? About #11 - What is self-actualisation? Achieving all these norms for self only? Or, learning to help others achieve them?
#1 and #12 are similar, but I could argue that #1 (peace) means freedom from military threats, whereas #12 (security) means freedom from military, economic, environmental, sustenance, spiritual, genetic, and even extraterrestrial threats. Hence, although #1 is certainly a valid goal, I would choose #12.
#2 and #7. The distinction I would draw from the words alone is that #2 deals with physical satisfaction, whereas #7 may include spiritual fulfilment also. Thus, if limited to this pair, I would initially choose #7, but have major reservations about the definition being too broad - human greed is the major threat to #13 being achieved. So I'm stuck with #2.
#4 and #11. Maslow's definition of #11 may overlap with the "meaningful
life" part of #4. "Self actualization", however, lacks any universal spiritual
component - it is entirely context driven. "Exciting", likewise, is a culturally
dependent and value laden term. I would shy away from both
elements as a result of these definitional limitations.
...You might consider combining "health" and "longevity" since one implies the other. In which case, 13 (environmental sustainability) would be my 4th choice.
...The question does require an interpretation, whether the response
given should be either personal or worldly. I assumed from the question
that a personal view is sought. Your responses may even show this personal
/ worldly dichotomy.
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Last Updated: July 22, 1997