Any future must and will actually come from places like Manila and Bangkok. At the very least it will find a home there. The present discourse around futurology is predominantly driven and reflected of the developed world. The future is a developed future along the trajectory of current developed nations. And thereby leaves the most dynamic, diverse, and different futures off of the table. A bit of reflection will reveal how much we know this to be a mistake. * The current future was created by developing countries. In other words, developed nations emerged through development. Development, however, is far from a specific trajectory. * The developed world is largely stagnating in terms of population and economic growth. Of the G7, countries are shrinking in population or encouraging massive migration from the developing world. China is entering this situation as well. The future will come from places such as Brazil, Vietnam, India, Thailand, South Africa, and Indonesia * Greater economic connections between countries is seen as the best way to stabilize and manage risks in the global economic environment. * The developing world resembles the developed world only insofar as it wants to, and only insofar as the viewpoint is from the perspective of the developed world. * Most importantly, looking to the future is about trying to understand change, what will be different. And what will be different, even in the most hegemonic approach, is how things will be different in the integration of developing markets and political systems. The developed countries are shrinking in relative population and power. Why would the future belong only to those aging countries or be made in their image?
Habit changes nature
Habit and Nature
Some might suggest we are human doing, rather than human being. I believe it was Aristotle who suggested it is what we do that makes us what we are. There is no essential being underneath our actions, per se, but the actions and the beings are concomitant. If so, then what we do right now is of vital importance. Our habit, what we do regularly, is what we are.
Habit and the Future
In some strong sense the future is about change, otherwise it would be as Lao Tze would have it, that if people kept their customs and worshiped the ancestors, he could tell you what life would be like in 10 generations. The point is that people do not keep customs and worship the ancestors as was done in the past. Things change, and even people change. This means that habits can change.
De futuris contingentibus non est determinata veritas. --Aristotle
How Then, Change?
How, then do we change? And is the discourse of change, or of the future, a part of this change? Or can it be a false substitute for taking action? I know I have been as guilty as anyone in terms of talking about the future more than taking the necessary steps to bring it into being.
The Role of the Discourse of Change in Actual Change
Of course it is possible that talking about the future is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for it to come into being. Sort of how we need to talk about change, engender belief in change, before we can have a candidate for change, who then can be elected and actually create change (we hope). End of part 1...