Futurology and Development

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?