I. TOP TEN TRENDS
from FUTURE SURVEY, Fall 2004
The following trends from the July, August, and September
issues of Future Survey have been selected by editor Michael
Marien as authoritative statements on important issues shaping the
ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT GROWING. "The
human ecological footprint is still increasing despite progress
made in technology and institutions
many crucial sources
are emptying or degrading, and many sinks are filling up or
we are much more pessimistic about the global
future than we were in 1972."
Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and
Dennis Meadows in Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update (FS
HOPE IN DECLINE. "Over the last
three decades a major cultural shift has taken place in the
attitudes of Western societies toward the future. Optimism has
given way to a sense of ambiguity
(which) threatens to
stifle hope at a personal as well as a social level."
Theologians Miroslav Volf and William
Katerberg in The Future of Hope (FS 26:9/415)
WEAPONS. "Nuclear scientists are actually designing, developing,
testing, and constructing new nuclear weapons at an annual cost
of $5 billion over the next 10-15 years."
Dr. Helen Caldicott in The New
Nuclear Danger (FS 26:9/421)
"The recent appearance and spread of 'bird flu' across Asian
poultry populations has raised concerns that a devastating new
influenza pandemic is imminent
should the bird flu virus
evolve to a form that readily infects humans, widespread loss
of life is predicted."
Tyler Kokjohn et al. in WFS
2004 Conference Volume (FS 26:9/446)
TO AIDS. In the past three years, "the essential ingredients
for a global response have coalesced: cheaper drugs, high-level
political will, new money to pay for treatment, and growing
grassroots muscle to push governments to follow through on their
Anne-Christine D'Adesky on the race to treat global AIDS (FS
SURPLUS MALES IN CHINA
AND INDIA. "The masculinization of Asia's sex ratios is
one of the overlooked megatrends of our time, a phenomenon that
may very likely influence the course of national and perhaps
even international politics in the 21st century."
Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer
in Bare Branches (FS 26:7/333)
FOREST MANAGEMENT. "In recent years, despite high rates
of deforestation in many regions, progress in implementing sustainable
forest management around the world has been steady and encouraging."
FAO report, State of the World's
Forests 2003 (FS 26:7/305)
TRENDS IN U.S. The US workforce in the next 10-15 years
will continue to grow, but at a much slower rate, with greater
workforce participation by the elderly, the disabled, and women
RAND report on The 21st
Century at Work (FS 26:8/379)
INNOVATION. "University communities are at the leading edge
in transportation innovation, developing new approaches that
may have broad application, from central cities to suburban
Will Toor and Spenser Havlick in Transportation & Sustainable
Campus Communities (FS 26:7/349)
NOVEL FUTURES: RAPID GROWTH.
"For the overwhelming preponderance of human history, humans
have lived in societies that were characterized by 80% continuities,
15% cycles, and only 5% novelties at best. Now I believe the
figures are reversed: 80% of our futures may be novel, 15% cyclical,
and only 5% continuous with the past and present."
Prof. Jim Dator, Hawaii Center for
Futures Studies (FS 26:7/317)
II. TOP TEN FORECASTS from FUTURE SURVEY, Fall 2004
The following forecasts from the July, August, and September issues
of Future Survey have been selected by editor Michael Marien
as authoritative statements on significant probable developments
that deserve wide attention.
WORLD POPULATION IN 2050. The human
population is projected to grow from 6.4 billion as of mid-2004
to 7.9 billion in 2025 (24% growth) and 9.3% in 2050 (45% growth).
Carl Haub, Population Reference Bureau
"Fiscal pressures associated with aging societies are set to
intensify over the next few years, and even more so beyond
and debts are on an explosive path in most large OECD countries,
as well as in many smaller ones."
OECD Economic Outlook, 2004/1
TRANSPARENCY. Pervasive computing and documentation will
ultimately make all things transparent in all public and private
enterprises, with total transparency finally becoming international
law in 15-20 years.
David Pearce Snyder on "Five Meta-Trends
Changing the World" (FS 26:7/326)
DIVIDE. "It is probable that, as of 2025, the North-South
divide in the world-system will not be significantly reduced;
indeed, it might be quite enlarged."
Immanuel Wallerstein on the relative
decline of the US in the world (FS 26:9/411)
NEXT ATTACK. "I write this book with a pressing certainty
that al Qaeda will attack the continental US again, that its
next strike will be more damaging than that of 9/11, and could
include use of weapons of mass destruction
this war has
the potential to last beyond our children's lifetimes and to
be fought mostly on US soil."
"Anonymous" (CIA analyst Michael Scheuer) on Imperial Hubris
AL QAEDA'S LONG-TERM PROGRAM.
The al Qaeda network is involved in a long-term program to create
a wider and more coherent Islamic world. "Already underway for
a decade, with another decade in prospect before it might be
achieved, it is part of a much longer strategy that might stretch
over half a century."
Prof. Paul Rogers of Bradford University,
UK (FS 26:9/418)
AHEAD? "The dangers of global fascism cannot be discounted
as imaginary or alarmist."
Prof. Richard A. Falk in The Declining
World Order: America's Imperial Geopolitics (FS 26:7/316)
A few very large international corporations will increasingly
dominate global markets in wood products. They will move toward
fiber farms of intensively managed engineered trees grown on
short rotations. These fiber farms "will certainly have the
capacity to meet and grossly exceed global needs for bulk wood
fiber for the next century."
David Lindermayer and Jerry Franklin on forest sustainability
IMPACT OF "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND.
NCLB systems for evaluating public schools place great score-boosting
pressures on teachers, usually followed by unsound classroom
instruction. Many students "will receive a far worse education
than they would otherwise be receiving," and NCLB will implode
in several years.
UCLA assessment expert W. James Popham
QUAKE IN MIDWEST? The probability of another huge quake
in the New Madrid Seismic Zone in Missouri, similar to the three
quakes of 1811-1812, is roughly 20% between now and 2100. It
could incur a cost of $1 trillion, probably bankrupting some
state and local governments.
Jake Page and Dartmouth earth scientist Charles Officer on The
Big One (FS 26:7/311).
III. TOP TEN PROPOSALS from Future Survey, Fall 2004
These preferable futures for a better society or a better
world, from the July, August, and September issues of Future
Survey, have been selected as exemplary visions worthy of
BREAKTHROUGH SCENARIO. An ideal
scenario for the 2005-2020 period, describing popular movements
for peace, reform of the world monetary system, more equitable
distribution of recourses, widespread government and corporate
Ervin Laszlo, Global Citizen's
Handbook (FS 26:9/404)
WORTH CREATING. Eradicating disconnectedness in the global
economy is "the defining security task of our age
the connectivity of globalization, we increase peace and prosperity
making globalization truly global
future worth creating."
Defense strategist Thomas P.M. Barnett,
The Pentagon's New Map (FS 26:9/407)
DICTATORS BY 2025. A plan to get rid of the last 45 dictators
in the world by 2025, because democracies provide more freedom
and better governance. "It is wrong to stand by and do nothing
when people anywhere on Earth are being brutally treated by
the despots who rule them."
Freedom House VP Mark Palmer, Breaking the Real Axis of Evil
TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS. A new layer of governance is
needed, but one that differs from the neo-conservative and hyper-liberal
views. Emphasis is needed on enhancing community building and
on a convergence of interests.
GWU Prof Amitai Etzioni, From Empire
to Community (FS 26:7/320)
"How to promote governance of weak states, improve their democratic
legitimacy, and strengthen self-sustaining institutions
the central project of contemporary international politics
weak or failed states are the source of many of the world's
most serious problems."
Francis Fukuyama on governance and
world order in the 21st century (FS 26:7/322)
STRATEGY. A three-dimensional strategy is proposed: attack
terrorists and their organizations, prevent growth of Islamist
terrorism, and protect against and prepare for terrorist attacks
on the US.
The 9/11 Commission Report (FS 26:9/416)
GIRL'S EDUCATION. Investing
in girl's education is "a strategy that will jump-start all
other development goals." There is no tool for development that
is more effective.
UNICEF Director Carol Bellamy, State
of the World's Children 2004 (FS 26:8/397)
RETIREMENT. "The concept of retirement is outdated and should
be put out to pasture in favor of a more flexible approach to
ongoing workone that serves both employer
Aging expert Ken Dychtwald in Harvard
Business Review (FS 26:8/386)
CITIES. Numerous proposals for redesign of neighborhoods,
transport, commercial corridors, historic districts, parks,
and public spaces to produce a more livable urban environment.
Jonathan Barnett, U of Pennsylvania
Prof of City and Regional Planning (FS 26:7/339)
STEP FOR COMMUNITIES. Profiles accomplishments of 60 Swedish
communities that employed the Natural Step Approach toward sustainability.
Sara James and Torbjorn Lahti on how cities and towns can change