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This report, just released in December 2012, details various “megatrends” the authors believe will shape the course of planetary human civilization over the next two decades. In the four “alternative world” scenarios envisioned: power is decentralized (both locally and internationally), networks come to prominence for orchestrating solutions to human problems, the connection between food, water and energy becomes central to political frameworks, and educational quality and integrity increasingly provide evidence of outcomes for human beings competing for resources, influence and access.
The positive trends that appear to emerge might surprise many: the report argues that for the first time in human history, the majority of the world’s population will be living above the poverty threshold, expanding middle classes and burgeoning democracies will be reinforced by the technological know-how and collaborative initiative of human individuals. This provides an opportunity to roll back the exercise of arbitrary and brutal power by authoritarian figures, but risks such as rogue militants, failing states, and resource scarcity will be a threat to that kind of progress.
The report suggests that we need to focus on sustainable policy choices that build value at the human scale, over the medium- to long-term, so that our society can retain its global influence, expand the scope of human prosperity and imagination, and continue the project of identifying and planning for both “megatrends” and “black swan” events. It is, in many ways, a good explanation of what we, at the HotSpring Network are doing—hunting the paradigm shift and working to collaborate in the building of a smarter, more humane future.