World Future Mapping and Scenarios for the 21st Century
Volume 13, Issue 1 (2015), pp. 11–26
Pub. online: 17 November 2015 Type: Article Open Access
17 November 2015
17 November 2015
The aim of this text is to describe the methods of future studies, its possibilities and limitations, as well as to make some predictions about the real picture of the development of the 21st century. However, the planning is still not very reliable, and far from a “road map” framework. Thus, future studies are still balancing between science and scientific/artistic fiction. The set of methods of future investigation permits one to compose a few or even up to dozens of medium term or long term scenarios of the world’s future. There are a few well-proven laws of social and economic development as well as some partially predictable phenomena in the area of environment, biology, human ethic, etc. No future planning is secure from unpredictable phenomena – “black swans” – and their impact, nor secure from “political decisions” that destroy natural developments in society. So no one scenario can pretend to be absolutely right. The most frequent future scenarios are based on the wish to implement a copy of an existing “happy nation”, to fight undesirable trends, and create some kind of “dream society” while stimulating positives and inhibiting negative trends. The final version of a scenario depends also upon the “human factors”, e.g. knowledge, stereotypes of thinking, as well as the wishes of those who are financing the project. Generally they are “happy end” projects. This makes scenarios rather useless. Only the independent experts that present more realistic and reliable scenarios can help in the planning of medium term and long term futures. Currently many scenarios foresee the so-called American or European way of development, which is in fact the continuation of the existing world order. There is a growing number of publications about the emergence of China (and Russia) as a great power as well as possibilities of a New Caliphate, New Messiah or new Orwellian style regimes.