Scenarios that are more articulate about their underlying mechanisms

Note: this was posted in 1997 to an early internet
experiment. For more of my posts, please see
The Hyperforum on Sustainability.

a sustainable, global world -- the Earth

I also would like to add to these pleas for more specifics: more articulateness about underlying mechanisms. For two reasons.

Reason 1: There are doubtless too many mechanisms involved, and too many higher order interactions among these mechanisms, to have any chance of writing a scenario whose value is that it correctly predicts the global trajectory of the world to its state in 2050, and a fortiori not one whose correctness we can rely on now. The value of the scenarios and of the group discussion is that we might hope to come to understand the mechanisms and some of their low order interactions, with a view to being able to act more rationally in present circumstances — to locally change the trajectory towards one with better long term outcome.

Reason 2: If underlying mechanisms are not articulated (i.e. if the dicussion has no temporary rules) it is too easy to shift from talking about what does happen to talking about what we feel urgently needs to happen. Unfortunately, there is little hope of bringing about what needs to be if we don’t accurately understand what is and how it works. Having a worthy destination won’t enable you to drive at night with the lights out.

Thu, 13 Feb 1997 20:26:39 GMT

For more, please see
The Hyperforum on Sustainability.

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