Revisiting EU and U.S. Values, Utopia, and the State of the Future

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Volume 4,
Number 1
January 20, 2018

Why European and U.S. Common Values Will Fade

By Joergen Oerstroem Moeller

The European Union (EU) is in much better shape than is normally portrayed, with a strong economy and initiatives introducing new common policies or strengthening existing ones. In due course, a stronger EU may emerge, setting a course distinctly different from that of the United States. This analysis discloses how the EU and the United States choose a different approach on almost all major issues. Common and shared values once kept the Atlantic Alliance together, but divergent values will split the alliance. Brexit aggravates this somber outlook, as Britain in many ways acted as an interlocutor that understood both the United States and Continental Europe. The geopolitical consequences will be huge.

Brexit will weaken the EU, but while the loss of Britain’s economy and, even more so, its military capability are tangible, a weaker EU in the medium and long term is by no means certain. If one of the members doesn’t feel comfortable and chooses to leave, the remaining members may increasingly see the rationality of pursuing analogous policies. So far, this is what has happened. Britain has found it impossible to define its future relationship with the EU, which, for its part, has adopted a common and consistent stance, making it clear what can be included in a deal and what cannot. Unless Britain grasps that one cannot decide to leave and then cherry-pick to stay in and out according to one’s own preferences, the outcome will be no EU-Britain agreement. If so, relations will be governed by World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, connoting something close to chaos. ...

Continue reading “European Union Versus the United States: Common Values Fade Out of Sight” by Joergen Oerstroem Moeller, Foresight Signals Blog (January 10, 2018).

Utopia Revisited

Book review by Timothy C. Mack

Utopia by Thomas More. Supplement by Ursula K. Le Guin, introduction by China Miéville (Verso Books, November 2016).

When Verso Books in London released a new edition of More’s Utopia nearly 500 years after its first publication, it produced a bit of cultural shock. For many, the term utopia has come into some disrepute as a reactionary or even a delusional social goal, while among others, especially the technocracy of Silicon Valley, it is viewed as just another easily achieved social building project—all it would take is their unlimited funds. This latter approach, the techno utopia, has been quite popular over the last decade, driven in part by the aura of success in all endeavors that surrounds the “boy kings” whose disposable income often exceeds their experience in effective social engineering. This leaves the question of whether a cultural or technological strategy is most effective to pursue when contemplating a “brave new world.”

This new edition of More’s classic avoids the opt-out of the middle course, which can be summarized as “Let’s do both!” The more radical path is that taken by China Miéville, a highly lauded science-fiction writer and essayist. A professed Marxist, he is also an advocate of aggressive social change—what might be called a bare-knuckle futurist. In contrast, Ursula K. Le Guin, an even more highly lauded science-fiction author and essayist, takes a broader and more nuanced approach to the obstacles and opportunities facing making the world a better place. ...

Continue reading “Utopia Revisited,” a book review by Timothy C. Mack, Foresight Signals Blog (January 15, 2018).

Call for Papers: Foresight Signals

The Foresight Signals Blog seeks articles, essays, book reviews, and other submissions on topics of general interest to the futurist and foresight community. Ideally the text should be no longer than 3,000 words and include links to references, a brief abstract, “about the author” note, and contact information. Longer papers focused on futures methodology and applications may also be considered for AAI Foresight’s Foresight Reports series. Send submissions or queries to consulting editor Cindy Wagner, CynthiaGWagner@gmail.com.

Futurist Groups Name New Leaders

The World Futures Studies Federation has named Erik Øverland president of its executive board for a four-year term, succeeding Jennifer Gidley. Øverland works on multiple foresight projects in Norway and across Europe, including PhD in Futures Studies at the Free University of Berlin. He is an editor for the European Journal for Futures Research.

The Association of Professional Futurists has appointed Jay Gary its new board chair. Gary is associate professor of leadership and assistant dean of online programs at Oral Roberts University. His goals for APF in 2018 include strengthening regional member engagement as well as convening APF’s annual global meeting and offering webinars for professional development. Gary succeeds urban futurist Cindy Frewen, who served as APF’s chair for seven years. Read the story at APF.

Also serving on the APF board for 2018 are Bridgette Engeler (Melbourne); Joyce Gioia (Austin), vice-chair; Terry Grim (Houston); Tanja Hichert (Cape Town); Prateeksha Singh (Toronto); Jason Swanson (Pittsburgh); and Richard Yonck (Seattle), treasurer.

APF has also announced the recipients of its Student Recognition Program Awards for 2017:

- First place for work by Ph.D. student(s) is “Trust Makes This Organisation Unique. Looking at the Future of Work Through Two Human-Centric Organisations” by Sofi Kurki and Markku Wilenius, Finland Futures Research Centre. Download the paper (PDF) from Springer.

- First place for work by graduate individuals is “Arepas, Fufu, and Gado Gado: How Future Immigration Might Impact Canada’s Culinary Landscape” by Janice de Jong, Ontario College of Art and Design. View the paper at Researchgate.

Call for Submissions: Future Factors

For a forthcoming book, Fast Futures Publishing is seeking suggestions on key future factors that might shape the next five years, be it a megatrend, weak signal, or emerging possibility pertinent to decision makers. Deadline for submissions is January 26. Submit ideas here.

Fast Futures Publishing recently released the first two titles in its Fast Futures Publishing Book Series, The Future Reinvented – Reimagining Life, Society, and Business and Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Ensuring AI Serves Humanity.

Help Wanted: Futurist in Residence

Pennsylvania State University seeks a Futurist in Residence for its Teaching and Learning with Technology department. The incumbent will “lead the design and implementation of a new international program for identifying and disseminating key trends in learning technology.” Learn more or apply at Penn State.

New from The Millennium Project

The Millennium Project has released the latest edition of its roundup of global challenges and opportunities, The State of the Future 19.1 by Jerome C. Glenn, Elizabeth Florescu, and The Millennium Project Team.This edition highlights emerging technologies and new counterterrorism strategies and global scenarios and strategies related to work and technology by 2050.

In addition, SOF 19.1 updates the State of the Future Index and the 15 Global Challenges: sustainable development and climate change, water and sanitation, population and resources, democratization, global foresight and decision making, global convergence of information and communications technology, the rich-poor gap, health issues, education and learning, peace and conflict, the status of women, transnational organized crime, energy, science and technology, and global ethics. Learn more or order the volume at The Millennium Project.

The Millennium Project has also launched a new newsletter to keep the foresight community up to date on activities among the group’s international nodes. Learn more or subscribe at The Millennium Project.

Master of Foresight Program Offered

Beginning September 2018, Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic, will offer a new master’s degree program in English on foresight for environment and development. Coursework covers both the theoretical foundations and practical applications of foresight. The program will equip students to work in the public or private sector at the national or international levels. Learn more at Palacky University. (Signal courtesy of Pavel Nováček, head of the Department of Development and Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic.)

Mark Your Calendar

Undoing Aging, March 15-17, Berlin. Sponsored by SENS Research Foundation and Forever Healthy Foundation, featuring Aubrey de Grey and Michael Greve. Visit the conference website.

Future in the Making, June 4-5, Brussels. FTA (Future-oriented Technology Analysis) International Conference, sponsored by FTA and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. Visit FTA or European Commission.

Honors and Milestones

Thomas Lombardo’s latest book, Future Consciousness: The Path to Purposeful Evolution, has been awarded the Network Book Prize for 2017 by the Scientific and Medical Network. The award recognizes a book written by a Network member that makes the most significant contribution toward a new worldview. Lombardo will be a keynote speaker at the SMN annual gathering July 6-8 in Surrey, U.K., on “Evolving towards a Wise and Flourishing Future.” Reach him at tlombardo1@cox.net.

Peter F. Eder, longtime contributing editor to The Futurist magazine, received the 2017 Andrus Award for Community Service from AARP Connecticut “for his outstanding volunteerism and commitment to the community.” The award included the opportunity to gift a $3,000 grant to an organization of his choice, which was At Home In Darien, an aging-in-place organization. Watch the award presentation. Reach Eder at peterfeder@earthlink.net.

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