The Tectonic Plates of Scenario Building
The fault lines for these plates are created by technology.
Long term social / economic inequity is not good for economies or the people themselves.
A recent Economist article notes that we are just about to pass the 400ppm (parts per million) Co2 level. In 1958 the reading at the key observatory at Mauna Loa was only 315ppm. That is a rise of a third in atmospheric carbon in 55 years.
A Matrix approaches to scenarios
In the diagram below I have three categories; trajectories (such as existing economic development pathways), technologies and economic consequences.
Now, for each of these categories what I have listed are only a sample. All three categories can interact in unpredictable ways.
For example, continued development in China will increase the demand for energy, raising the price. That can lead to a general economic stagnation for everyone because as soon as growth starts the price goes up. It can drive innovation as we have seen for new ways of exploiting existing resources (fracking natural gas), but this then as negative consequences for climate change which may then start to genuinely effect economies - with less predicable weather and crop failure / water resource issues - which may slow fracking because it needs water. Lastly it can and will induce greater uptake of alternate energy innovations.
Although I scan the scenario and foresight literature, I only recently came across an article which comes close to taking this rather complicated view of foresighting, although I don't think the article develops the idea far enough. Yanuar Nugroho and Ozcan Saritas (2009) 'Incorporating network perspectives in
foresight: a methodological proposal' Foresight VOL. 11 NO. 6 2009, pp. 21-41