The 2013-14 State of the Future is the most compelling overview of humanity’s situation, potentials for the future, and what we should do today – in clear, precise, and readable text with unparalleled breadth and depth. It is the 17th annual report card on the future of the world produced by The Millennium Project, an accumulated intelligence from over 4,500 thought leaders selected by its 50 Nodes around the world. It covers the global landscape with a short overviews with regional considerations of 15 global challenges such as energy, food, water, science & technology, ethics, economics, health, education, organized crime, decisionmaking and foresight, gender relations, demographics, war & peace, and others. Together with the executive summary, they are ideal for busy executives, thought leaders, corporate strategic planners, public policy experts, policy advisors, non-profit issues organizations, teachers and professors of world issues, and anyone interested in a global overview of our prospects for the future – with discussions of problems and potential solutions.
“The State of the Future is an unparalleled overview of what is, what ought to be, and how to achieve it,” says Jerome Glenn, CEO of The Millennium Project. The 2013-14 edition is the richest array and synthesis of data, information, and intelligent insights that The Millennium Project has ever assembled. Paul Werbos of the National Science Foundation called it “The most influential annual report on what we know about the future of humanity.” It integrates and distills the rapidly changing global situation in technology, environment, social unrest, development gaps, security, energy, food, organized crime, gender relations, governance, health, education, and more. (more)
Table of Contents
What are the Prospects for Humanity?
Table of Contents
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY, 1
1. GLOBAL CHALLENGES, 17
2. HIDDEN HUNGER: UNHEALTHY FOOD MARKETS IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD, 181
3. VULNERABLE NATURAL INFRASTRUCTURE IN URBAN COASTAL ZONES, 195
4. SIMAD AND LONE WOLF TERRORISM PROSPECTS AND POTENTIAL STRATEGIES TO ADDRESS THE THREAT, 207
5. GLOBAL FUTURES INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM AND SOME CONCLUSIONS, 215
Millennium Project Node Chairs, Boards & Sponsors, 224
Participants in the Studies, 231
Graphs on Trends of the 15 Global Challenges, 234
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS, 245
The 2013–14 State of the Future is the most extraordinarily rich distillation and integration of data, information, and intelligence about the future that The Millennium Project has ever produced. This is the seventeenth edition. It has benefited from the feedback received year after year and from integrating new insights and research. In addition, this year the Global Futures Intelligence System presented in Chapter 5 was used for more systematic updating from a broader range sources, reviewers, and feedback systems. While this report presents the distilled results of recent research by The Millennium Project, GFIS contains the detailed background and data for that research, plus all of The Millennium Project’s research since its founding in 1996. It also contains the largest internationally peer reviewed set of methods to explore future possibilities ever assembled in one source. Readers of this report should subscribe to GFIS to keep up to date and participate in improving insights about future possibilities.
The purpose of futures research is to systematically explore, create, and test both possible and desirable futures in order to improve decisions. Just as the person on top of the mast on old sailing ships used to point out the rocks and safe channels to the captain below for the smooth running of the ship through uncharted waters, so too futurists with foresight systems for the world can point out problems and opportunities to leaders around the world. Since decisionmaking is increasingly affected by globalization, global futures research is increasingly valuable for decisionmaking by individuals, groups, and institutions. The quality of democracies emerging around the world is enhanced by better-informed publics; understanding issues and opportunities in this report can contribute to improved democratic decisionmaking.
This report is for thought leaders, decisionmakers, and all those who care about the world and its future. Readers will learn how their interests fit into the global situation and how the global situation may affect them and their interests. The State of the Future and GFIS provide an additional eye on global change. These are information utilities that people can draw from as relevant to their unique needs. They provide an overview of the global strategic landscape. Business executives use the research as input to their strategic planning. University professors, futurists, and other consultants find this information useful in teaching and research.
The challenges of our time are increasingly transnational in nature, requiring transdisciplinary approaches to be understood and transinstitutional implementation strategies to be dealt with. The Millennium Project responds to these new conditions as a global participatory think tank of futurists, scholars, scientists, business planners, and policymakers who work for international organizations, governments, corporations, NGOs, and universities. It was selected to be among the top 10 think tanks in the world for new ideas and paradigms by the 2013 University of Pennsylvania’s GoTo Think Tank Index and as a 2012 Computerworld Honors Laureate for its innovations to collective intelligence systems.
The purposes of The Millennium Project are to assist in organizing futures research, improve thinking about the future, and make that thinking available through a variety of media for consideration in policymaking, advanced training, public education, and feedback, ideally in order to accumulate wisdom about potential futures.
The Project’s diversity of opinions and global views is ensured by its 50 Nodes around the world. These are groups of individuals and organizations that interconnect global and local perspectives. They identify participants, conduct interviews, translate and distribute questionnaires, and conduct research and conferences. It is through their contributions that the world picture of this report and indeed all of The Millennium Project’s work emerge. The Node Chairs and Co-chairs are listed in the Appendix.
Through its research, publications, conferences, and Nodes, The Millennium Project helps to nurture an international collaborative spirit of free inquiry and feedback for increasing collective intelligence to improve social, technical, and environmental viability for human development. Feedback on any sections of the book is most welcome at Jerome.Glenn@Millennium-Project.org and may help shape the next State of the Future, GFIS, and the general work of The Millennium Project. Comments can also be entered online anywhere throughout GFIS.
Jerome C. Glenn Elizabeth Florescu Theodore J. Gordon
Executive Director Director of Research Senior Fellow, Ret.
The Millennium Project The Millennium Project The Millennium Project
What are the Prospects for Humanity? They could be great, provided the main global challenges are addressed, shows the 2013-14 State of the Future produced by The Millennium Project
The “State of the Future” is a comprehensive overview of the present situation and prospects for humanity, integrating forecasts, trends, and judgments of thought leaders and scholars from around the world sharing important future possibilities to improve strategies today.
Video — report launch: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/report-release-2013-2014-state-the-future
March 20, 2014, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC
The “2013-14 State of the Future” shows that the world is improving better than most pessimists know and that future dangers are worse than most optimists indicate. People around the world are becoming healthier, wealthier, better educated, more peaceful, increasingly connected, and living longer. Child mortality rate has dropped 47% since 1990, extreme poverty in the developing world fell from 50% in 1981 to 21% in 2010, primary school completion rates grew from 81% in 1990 to 91% in 2011, only one transborder war occurred in 2013, nearly 40% of humanity is connected via the Internet, and life expectancy has increased 10 years over the past 20 years to reach 70.5 years today.
However, water tables are falling on all continents, intrastate conflicts and refugees are increasing, glaciers are melting, income gaps are increasingly obscene, coral reefs are dying, ocean acidity is increasing, ocean dead zones have doubled every decade since the 1960s, half the world’s topsoil is destroyed, youth unemployment has reached dangerous proportions, traffic jams and air pollution are strangling cities, $1-1.6 billion is paid in bribes, organized crime gets twice the money per year than all the military budgets combined, and half the world is potentially unstable.
“The ‘State of the Future’ is an unparalleled overview of what is, what ought to be, and how to achieve it,” says Jerome Glenn, CEO of The Millennium Project. “The 2013-14 edition is the richest array and synthesis of data, information, and intelligent insights that The Millennium Project has ever assembled. Paul Werbos of the National Science Foundation called it “The most influential annual report on what we know about the future of humanity.” It integrates and distills the rapidly changing global situation in technology, environment, social unrest, development gaps, security, energy, food, organized crime, gender relations, governance, health, education, and more.
The Executive Summary of the “2013-14 State of the Future” gives a clear and precise overview of our situation, prospects, and suggestions for building a better future, plus an annual World Report Card of where we are winning and losing, and the 2013 State of the Future Index. Chapter 1 updates and improves insights about 15 Global Challenges that provide a framework for understanding global change with infographics for each challenge. Other chapters share international assessments of the causes of and solutions to the increasing problems of hidden hunger, vulnerable natural infrastructure in urban coastal zones, and “lone wolf” terrorism and individuals making and deploying weapons of mass destruction. A concluding chapter on the Global Futures Intelligence System shares some thoughts on potential strategies to improve humanity’s future prospects. Examples of recommendations include:
• US-China 10-year environmental goal to reduce climate change and improve trust
• Growing meat without growing animals to reduce water demand and GHGs
• Seawater agriculture for biofuels, carbon sink, and growing food without rain
• Global collective intelligence systems input for humanity’s long-range strategic plans
• Tele-nations connecting brains overseas to the development process back home
• TransInstitutions for more effective implementation of strategies
• A global counter-organized-crime strategy
• State of the Future Index as a better alternative to GDP for measuring progress
The Millennium Project is a global participatory think tank connecting 50 Nodes around the world that identify important long-range challenges and strategies, and initiate and conduct foresight studies, workshops, symposiums, and advanced training. Over 4,500 futurists, scholars, business planners, and policy makers who work for international organizations, governments, corporations, NGOs, and universities have participated in The Millennium Project’s research since its inception in 1996. The Project’s mission is to improve thinking about the future and make that thinking available through a variety of media for feedback to accumulate wisdom about the future for better decisions today. It produces the annual “State of the Future” reports, the “Futures Research Methodology” series, the Global Futures Intelligence System (GFIS), and special studies. The Millennium Project was selected among the top ten think tanks in the world for new ideas and paradigms by the 2013 University of Pennsylvania’s GoTo Think Tank Index, and as a 2012 Computerworld Honors Laureate for its contributions to collective intelligence systems.