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Contours of the Possible: Global Scenarios and Great Transitions

Author: Paul D. Raskin
Organisation: Tellus Institute
Publish Date: October 2003
Country: Global
Sector: Social Development
Method: Forecasting
Theme: Strategic Thinking
Type: Conference paper
Tags: Transitions, Planetary phase, Global scenarios, Market-driven development, Reform path

Some form of planetary society will crystallize over the coming decades as a result of interacting global factors – economic globalization, cultural influence, information technology, geopolitical and social fissures, and alterations of critical biogeochemical cycles. But depending on how conflicts are resolved, global development can branch into dramatically different pathways. Possible scenarios include Market Forces, where social and environmental concerns remain secondary, Fortress World, with elites in protected enclaves and an impoverished majority outside, and Policy Reform, with strong governmental interventionist for social and environmental goals. All are problematic: Market Forces would risk socio-ecological crisis, Fortress World would signal the failure of inclusive global development, and Policy Reform would need to overcome great technological and political hurdles to deliver change at the required pace and scale.
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