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Stalin-orchestrated Great Famine and the abhorrent communist rule culminating in the Chornobyl
nuclear disaster), Ukrainians have preserved their language and culture and are building up their
political and economic clout as a dynamic 47 million nation. This phenomenon of “survival
despite oppression” can be explained in many ways, some of which are worth rendering here as useful lessons for the future.
There are over 100 different ethnic groups residing currently in Ukraine. It has always been the land both very attractive and very tolerant to foreigners. Probably, the latter explains the first. For centuries Ukraine has had a very strong Semitic, Greek, Tartar, Romanian, Hungarian, Polish and other Slavic presence.
In recent years, due to enormous migration pressure, we hosted many Asians and increasingly also Africans. A peculiar feature of this cultural blending is that all arriving population
Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7

Your international platform for future related issues
See Ukraine, continued on page 13
PERSPECTIVES ON THE FUTURE from Armenia, Canada, France, Georgia, Germany, South Africa,
Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
First Annual Thematic Issue by Olexandr Aleksandrovych, Minister-
Counselor, Embassy of Ukraine in Washington DC

The history of humanity is a story of continual survival. There are no reasons to believe that its future will be different. In that sense, Ukrainians have a valuable experience, because they are champions of survival. Being conceived from various nomadic and settled tribes inhabiting the territory of modern Ukraine as early as the 4th century A.D. and having established an enlightened European Princedom around the beginning of the second Millennium, Ukrainians subsequently have lived through centuries of foreign oppression. Mongol Tartar invasions were followed by local wars against Turkey and Poland until the Moscow dominance settled in for many years stretching into the Russian tsarist empire and
the Soviet Union. With the exception of bright glimpses of relative independence during the Cossacks republic and right after the turmoil of the World War I, Ukrainians have never before lived in their own sovereign state until the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Yet, despite many natural and man-made
calamities (suffice it to mention the The Irresistible Soft Power of Ukraine

From the WFS President 2
A French Touch 4
Louis Tuvée
Futures Studies Activities in Germany: 9
Towards a Perspective of Foresight
Cornelia Daheim
A Multicultural Millennium 15
Jennifer Butler
Revolution of Traditionalism: 20
Look at Future
Mamuka Tsereteli
Armenia 23
Karinne’ Hovnanian &
Emanuel Mkrtchian
Future Trends: Culture vs. Institutions 26
Bengt-Arne Vedin
Africa: Fast-Forwarding into the Future 30
Carolyn Stauffer
Getting to 2025: Inspiring Cross-Culture 34
David Day
The State of Culture 2025: the 38
Nathaniel Wade
Reflections on Identity in An Increasingly 41
Interdependent World
Linda Groff
Free Accommodations for Futurists, 33
Jecheon, South Korea
We’re doing it again! 37
Thematic Issue Encore!
WorldFuture 2007 Conference: 48
Fostering Hope and Vision for the 21st Century
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 2
This special issue of FUTUREtakes represents a central goal of the International Office of the
World Future Society – building bridges between cultures for mutual understanding.
The process of building this special issue moved from embassy offices out to a wide range of interested parties, including Armenian- American students, German foresight firms, American academics,
racially and ethnically mixed student groups, South African futurists and Swedish officials. And the manner in which they approached the question of cross-cultural understanding included cultural theory, trend index and social dynamics, ethnic and religious tolerance, values and social goals, Africa’s acceleration into the future, culture and identity, the revolution of tradition, national versus global perspectives, cross-cultural leadership and cultural symbols and their meaning.
What has resulted is an extraordinarily rich collection of insights on cultural dynamics and how cross-cultural undertakings function (or fail to function). Added to this are the provocative and highly useful classroom questions, which will allow educators and students to use this material as a springboard to further explore the issues that have been raised.
However, this is also an area of significant personal interest, and I am honored to be asked to add to this discussion. Accordingly, I have provided an overview concerning the forces driving global cultural change. As a macro approach to cultural change, it may enhance these discussions,
and is offered in that spirit.
Pre-industrial societies shared common characteristics
that can be considered traditional cultural values: the importance
of religion and God; absolute standards of good and
evil; importance of family life; deference to authority. In
contrast to these traditional values are secular-rational values,
sometimes called modern or postmodern cultural values.
Secular means nonreligious, while rational refers to the
rationalization of society, including the use of reason, logic,
science, and means-end calculations rather than religion or
long-established customs to govern social, political, and economic
life. These values include generally lower levels of
religious belief, relative standards of good and evil, acceptance
of diversity, relative gender equality, and less deference
to authority.
Another way to think about cultural values is the division
of societies into opposing groups that have differences
that cannot be reconciled. One camp assumes the source of
values and moral judgment exists outside the self in God
(i.e., religion, regardless of the title of the deity) or in the
authority of society, while the other locates the source of values
and moral judgment in the self— i.e. absolutism and relativism.
And as the growth of the influence of technology,
including digital technology, on modern cultural patterns
continues to increase, other secular values have gained in
importance. It is unlikely that the impact of technology
could be neutralized, but a better understanding of the
direction of cultural changes may assist in shaping the
nature of that impact.
Efficiency, for one, has become a very important value
in modern culture. The desire for efficiency reflects openended
aspirations toward the consumption of both things
and experiences. However, if efficiency is now a pervasive
value in modern culture, it may well be challenged for
supremacy during the next decade by a counterforce, best
defined as “tranquility.” The desire for calm, peace, quiet,
serenity and simplicity will become more important in the
future for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the population
of modern nations is aging and there seems to be a
greater desire for these qualities in later life. As desire for
tranquility grows, more traditional notions of leisure and
living leisurely may reassert themselves. Graceful living
may soon be desired more than the ownership of expensive
possessions, especially for those whose material needs are
largely met.
Even as global economies and communication systems
have become increasingly internationalized and interdependent,
a growing counter-trend has been Balkanization within
cultures. The notion of commonweal fades where people
start to define themselves based on ethnicity, entitlement
status, addiction, religion, gender, occupation, age, political
affiliation, leisure interests, victimization, lifestyle, or
numerous other statuses. Digital communications technologies
have increased our awareness of multiple and
conflicting belief systems. There is a growing suspicion
that many belief systems are social constructions, so the
basis for deciding what is true cannot be attributed to any
single method, belief system, or variable.
The aftermath of the 9/11/2001 attacks in the United
States, subway bombings in London, terrorist attacks in
Egypt, Spain, and elsewhere have all sped up the use of
surveillance technology in everyday life. Random searches
are more common and law enforcement agencies and private
security forces use a variety of monitoring devices to
observe public streets, apartment lobbies, and parking lots
to reduce crime. Sense of place is, like privacy, being
affected by technology. The ability of people to travel from
their homes has increased dramatically. Higher levels of
technology have transformed travel, communication, and
the conduct of business, producing what President of the
European Bank of Reconstruction, Jacques Attali, called a
‘nomadic elite,’ a class of people who conduct their business
from anywhere in the world and owe no allegiance to
any country or territory. Towns, particularly suburban
areas, begin to look more and more alike in every modern
From the Desk of Tim Mack, President, World Future Society
See WFS President, continued on page 18
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 3
Editorial Board
Dave Stein
Managing Editor
Jay Herson
Director, Special Projects
Tommy Osborne
Regional Editors
José Cordeiro, Venezuela
Alphan Manas, Turkey
Julio A. Millán, Mexico
Youngsook Park, South Korea
Carolyn Stauffer, South Africa
Mohan Tikku, India
Louis Tuvée, France
Associate Editors
Monika Aring
Jay Herson
Joel Coulter
Lindan Lee Johnson
Juanita Tamayo Lott
Tommy Osborne
Arthur Shostak
Stephen Steele
Associate Editors, Educational
Tim Mack, Lois Neuman
Book Review Editors
Lisa Roney, Carolyn Shettle
Chapters’ Corner Column Editor
Verónica Cruz Zamora
Public Relations
Natalie Ambrose, Lisa-Joy Zgorski
Exchange Editor
Gina Mostafaie
Circulation Manager
Carl Pinches
Design Editor
Henry Fung
Editors-in-Chief, Emeriti
Andy Hines, Richard Mayer
Give Us Your Perspective on the Future
We are looking for people with vision in
any area of interest or expertise to write a
future-oriented article for FUTUREtakes.
Your vision may come from personal
experience, reading, lecture notes, or a
topic that in your view is important for the
future. Please share your thoughts with
our chapter members, preferably in 1500
words or less. Send your contribution to
published quarterly
ISSN 1554-7744
FUTUREtakes welcomes contributed
articles that promote a reasoned
awareness of the future,
advance serious and responsible investigation
of the future, and promote the
development of futures studies
methodologies. In addition,
FUTUREtakes publishes book
reviews, future studies exercises, discussion
threads, letters to the editor or
equivalent correspondence, and summaries
of chapter programs. All published
material will normally follow
the guidelines delineated herein for
contributed articles.
To promote free dialog and the
exchange of ideas on matters concerning
the future, FUTUREtakes does
not align itself with political parties,
political action committees, or political
platforms. In addition,
FUTUREtakes does not advocate particular
ideologies or political positions.
Any article published in
FUTUREtakes including any original
article written by FUTUREtakes editors
represents the viewpoint of the
author(s) and does not necessarily represent
the official position of the
greater World Future Society or any
World Future Society chapter.
The copyright of any article published
in FUTUREtakes remains with
the author(s). By submitting an article
to FUTUREtakes, the author(s) certifies
that he/she owns the article and
that FUTUREtakes will not violate
any copyright by publishing it. By
publishing an article or accepting it for
publication, FUTUREtakes has the
implied permission to submit it to
other publications with which
FUTUREtakes has an official or de
facto reciprocal exchange agreement.
Such other publications include, but
are not limited to, other publications of
the greater World Future Society as
well as publications of other organizations.
Local electronic and/or printed
reproduction of FUTUREtakes is
authorized, provided that the issue is
distributed at no cost to the recipient
(beyond reasonable printing costs), is
reproduced in its entirety, and is not
altered or otherwise misrepresented.
FUTUREtakes, providing futurist thought and education to the
WFS Chapters and members worldwide, brings professions, disciplines,
nations, ethnic groups, and cultures together to study the
future from a non-partisan perspective. Its articles and program synopses
generally explore alternative futures as well as the cross-cutting
implications of social trends, technology advances, and policy decisions.
In addition, FUTUREtakes is an educational resource, complete
with discussion points to inspire student and faculty thinking,
articles, and research projects. Distribution includes interested individuals
as well as selected think tanks, other professional societies,
WFS chapters worldwide, and selected educational institutions.
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 4
See French, continued on page 5
A deep and serious thinking on
cultural perspectives for the future
would have needed to question the
semantics and differences of terms as
Culture and Civilization. Civilization
is contingent, Culture is (more) permanent,
and Culture is more individual –
even if shared with others –
Civilization more easily referring to
collective values; personal “life of the
mind” for the former, collection of the
“conditions of life” for the latter.
Differences between life (daily) and
Life (long), what we do in life and
what we do of Life with the corresponding
values (small v) as learned
answers to problems and Values (big
V) as ethical rules and aspirations (see
Edgard Schein). This point is not just
semantic debate as those distinctions
often create self tensions, drive choices
and are a permanent search of creative
Leaving those considerations to
further elaboration, I will present the
“French Touch,” i.e. the French perspective
as I can see it, in other terms
from my experience as manager and
consultant, and from my contacts,
readings, and personal research.
On the horizon, Cultural Values
will be “Human-Centered” and
“Human-Minded.” We will, more than
today, rediscover the importance of a
human approach having in mind the
permanence of questions since Greek
philosophers that Man put to himself,
his environment and the Future in
comparison of his unique, but in a
way, limited skills to answer them
with satisfaction in spite of progresses
of all kinds.
Throughout history, humans relegated
the power to God, then to Nature
“It is more easy to change culture than nature.
However, it is difficult to change culture as it is
like nature.”
– Aristotle (Ethic to Nicomaque, VII – 10)
Louis Tuvée
Coordinator W.F.S. French Chapter
and often to other humans. We are
discovering, with some hesitation, that
what matters are social links, respect
for nature and what it really means to
be human.
Ecology will become after
Biology the main value, not only for
the environment’s sake and for the
objective of sustainable development
but also as the new paradigm, a type
of philosophical posture and, of
importance for our subject, a frame of
The basic principle of Ecology is
“All living species need to survive to
live in harmony with their environment.”
We are a living specie and our
environment means not only nature
but generally speaking “Others”: civilisations,
cultures, religions, gender,
ages, generations, minds, bodies and
physical appearances. Ecological
thinking and framing will naturally
bring tolerance, openness, empathy,
and support to promote new goals
illustrated by new processes as
“Inclusive Design” and “Eco-design.”
The same consciousness will lead to
the development of Fair Trade, respect
for Mother Earth and decent heritage
for Future generations.
This trend will have its countertrend:
the search for definition up to
fighting to defend oneself and impose
I feel by experience that such
“symbolic tools” (used by Joel de
Rosnay in The Macroscope) as
Symbiosis and Co-Evolution could be
complementary and of great help in
understanding the present, finding
emergent “Patterns,” and enabling
foresight; but this will need another
There arises the question of what
it means to be old or young and how
the definitions that have already
evolved will change again in the future
as a function of demography.
Remember that old has been segmented
between seniors (over 50) and as
we say in France, the “fourth age”
refers to people over 70 or 80.
In this domain, the main concept
seems to be Generation. Social peace
will depend on our ability to find an
equitable role in society for all generations
and mainly solidarity between
the young and the elderly. At the present
time, youthfulness is a trend, nearly
a value, and we have even created a
neologism: “jeunisme.”
In the near future, I envision that
we will recognise the importance of
the elderly who will make a “comeback”
in society and business because
of increased longevity and also
because of quantitative and qualitative
needs for specific competencies.
There is also a recent but strong
awareness of the value in mixing experience
and risk taking in complex situations
and projects.
New jobs will appear mainly in
the information field for the “engineering”
of information in the spirit of
“Information ecology” (Davenport)
and the necessity to distinguish data
from information (Data, Information,
Knowledge, and Wisdom, or DIKW).
Innovation will be needed in all fields
and as the only “sustainable” answer
to global competition.
The majority of new jobs will be
interdisciplinary or better trans-disciplinary
with tasks given to groups or
networks more than to individuals.
Examples can be found in very different
areas such as cognitive sciences,
mechatronics, biotech, and nanotech.
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 5
continued from page 4
See French, continued on page 6
Management and business scopes will
be extended, suggesting the possibility
of design courses in top business
schools or creativity as a topic in
More jobs will concern new issues
as security, worldwide governance,
strategic intelligence, sustainable
development, new energy sources,
health and personal care but also in
specialized high-tech products as
R.F.I.D. and sensors needed in a huge
variety of business-to-business or business-
to-consumer products. Those
types of components are also strategic
as leadership in innovation, and
monopoly in production will hurt competitors
and make users dependent. In
the past, the Japanese have called this
type of basic electronic components:
“Industrial rice,” and the metaphor is
Innovation will be needed in all
fields to overcome complexity and as
the only “sustainable answer” to global
competition. Good times are ahead for
creativity and right brains. After the
knowledge workers identified by the
great Peter Drucker – as all businesses
are becoming intelligent or at least
smart businesses – we will be looking
to “idea workers,” who are not the
same and in some aspects opposite.
Today few people are aware of the difference
and able to imagine the idea
business in all aspects of management
from strategy to finance. Fighting to
find and to keep this type of talent
exists, but will be intensified among
companies. Education that has
focused more on how to teach than
how we learn must rethink and revise
programs and teaching methods to
speak with efficacy to right brains.
We don’t know exactly how the
future will be but I bet that
Information, Innovation and Relation
will be core competencies nurtured by
what I call three C “stainless skills”:
Curiosity, Creativity and
The star-system will lose its dominant
position to produce celebrities.
The show will not go on … alone!
Authenticity will at least partially
replace superficiality, and this split may
become the new transversal segmentation
for people and artefacts. In a world
of turbulence, complexity and threats of
all kinds and sources, and urgent
requests for risk taking and quick
answers, I anticipate that courage will
be the most admired quality. Courage
in politics, business, education, and all
domains where decision has to replace
demagogy and quick fixes.
In this respect future studies are
still too much “reserved” to public
affairs and big companies that have the
time and financial resources to be
“Ambidextrous” – optimizing current
business while preparing for the future.
Unfortunately, managers of small businesses
– which represent the largest
part of French economy, employment
and jobs creation – “keep their noses
in the handlebars,” as we say.
In the political area, I think that
the best way to illustrate the problem
is given by the following quotation:
“The horizon of politicians is the next
elections, for statesmen the horizon is
the next generation.” A signal of
politicians’ myopia is that
Commissariat au Plan in charge of
national planning created by De Gaulle
in 1946 has been abolished by the
Prime Minister in 2005. This at a time
where France needs some guidance,
strategic thinking and industrial policy.
The commissaire Alain Etchegoyen,
who was a professor in philosophy in
favour of real future studies methods,
was replaced by a governmental official
who focuses more on government
specific issues and projects and more
with an inside-out approach than one
based on global scenarios.
To summarize, if future studies
exist in France, their use is still too
limited compared to the various benefits
that “Futuring” represents. I think
that the tipping point will be reached
when anticipation is recognized as a
need and a strategic tool for business
and the state and … taught in school.
Maybe the established and promoted
interest for innovation will be of some
help. The Big Picture is for me the
best way to think out of the box!
Because of globalization and the
countless reminders of it, the people
know they belong to the so-called
Global Village and are conscious that
they are under an obligation to share
daily practices via the Internet or the
English language to communicate or to
adopt lifestyles as fast food or be
inspired by foreign tested solutions in
national issues, but they want to maintain
the fundamental features of their
culture. In general they try to mix,
balance or share, even in a paradoxical
behaviour, “roots” and “imported values.”
MacDonaldisation is a word
used to describe the fact to stupidly
adopt Anglo-Saxon rules and attitudes.
But … France is the leading market
for MacDonald’s in Europe. People
condemn outsourcing and delocalisation
but they enjoy buying cheap
Chinese products.
They adopt and adapt, using a
DIY psychology.
As regards values such as work,
the attitude largely differs among the
public and encompasses extreme positions
– workaholics on one part and 35
hours a week aficionados on the other
extreme. Same thing between “digital
natives” and “digital immigrants,”
trend setters and traditionalists, etc.
They group together according to
affinities within tribes, communities,
and networks.
I have also noticed some disturbing
underlying patterns that one should
take into consideration for future scenarios
as the switch of status from
Need to Value and reverse. Work that
was a value is becoming a need,
whereas safety was a need and is now
positioned, lived and demanded as a
value. Same from need to rights.
Health and accommodation were once
regarded as needs, but they are now
considered as rights.
At the individual level, complexity,
newness, diversity, and speeding up
of changes do not give to human
brains the time to adapt by learning
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 6
continued from page 5
and mainly unlearning; we are really
living “future shock.” This creates not
only tensions but also despair or “mal
de vivre.” Mid-life crisis occurs at all
life stages!
The different aptitudes – psychological,
social, and economic – to integrate
the change and attain a fair level
of resilience, increases the break-up of
society into social nodes, networks and
“hubs.” We define this as a “mosaic
The essential national consensus
on vision, main issues, and projects
will definitely require a type of society
reconciliation; shared vision starts by
sharing visions. I think that the main
driver for success – or not – in this
field will be tolerance. Tolerance for
differences in culture, values,
lifestyles, and respect for choices from
religion to politics with the conviction
that one’s own rights end where others’
rights start.
In addition, a rising trend of
Feminine Values is also anticipated.
• Persuasion rather than Force
• Consensus rather than Authority
• Compassion versus only peaceful
• Affective relation instead of competition
• Nuance preferred to clear cut
These trends may ease the evolution
and, reinforced by the importance
of old population, will help to build a
calm but dynamic diversity and richness
of individual and collective energies
and forces to deal with XXI century
opportunities and threats while also
ironing out internal fights to maintain
past privileges and corporatism.
From the power over to the power
to do. From egosystem to ecosystem.
I know that it is quite an optimistic
view and that society may crumble, but
I am convinced that people feel the
limits of partisan and selfish mentality.
As usual, the future will be somewhere
between opposite scenarios.
In a broader scope, Europe is tired
of centuries of wars including conquest
or colonial ones, and recent experience
has reinforced the feeling that good
and evil is a relative notion and even
that the value of an adult or child life
is not so shared on our planet. We are
convinced that what we call progress
or civilization in its strong and first
meaning cannot be imposed by force.
It is the case for the French republican
principle and value: the famous
Republican Universalism that we
always hoped to export for the benefit
of other nations and that is now only
applied to some aspects inside our
nation, for instance to immigrants. So,
we are supposed to cautiously qualify a
value as universal.
For daily life we have a figurative
expression, borrowed from a poem and
used as a slogan: Metro – Boulot –
Dodo (Subway – Work – Sleep) which
is supposed to represent the daily
rhythm of people living in Paris or big
cities (French scale). This taken for
granted, commute syndrome is managed
and “customized.” People view
their cars as mobile homes and, thanks
to cellular phones, as telephone booths.
The fad for SUV’s is part of that trend.
In a recent study on French people’s
opinions, they declared the following
objects as essential to their
daily lives:
1. Cellular phone 53 %
2. Home P.C 38 %
3. Microwave 35 %
Plus CDs, DVDs, MP3, disposable
products and … Post-It® notes!
Everyday life is already influenced
by other cultures. In food (pizza, the
Big Mac, Couscous, Paella), dress (US
Jeans or Nike, Friday wear), made in
the UK weekends, time spent watching
reality shows on TV, or hours with the
company of Mister Google and Miss
Wikipedia or our favorite eBay storekeeper.
This openness to other cultures
is balanced by the resistance to
preserve “French exception” on the
national level in the arts, movies, public
policy, and social and private life
through many expressions of touch
and taste.
I envision that no other culture
will be dominant – as such – one day
in France. Integration does not mean
normalization and standardization.
To be integrated and “nationalized,”
foreign cultures must be first
known and secondly understood. This
is the case in France presently with
Islam, where there is a convergent
effort of media (TV, radio, books, special
issues …) to go in this direction to
improve relationships and facilitate the
distinction of peaceful Arab populations,
including French citizens, from
What lessons useful for the challenges
of the future from France?
A very good question that calls for
an answer delicately balanced between
conviction and needed humility.
We can propose writers that built
our culture and our vision of the world
from Montaigne to Paul Valery, whose
lessons are time-honored. Let me add
that a real tradition for research from
Pasteur and Marie Curie to professor
Montagné and our leadership in several
high tech areas is often hidden
behind our image for food, arts, luxury,
entertainment, and tourism. I will
not hesitate to mention fathers of
French future studies and terms:
Gaston Berger (Prospective) and
Bertrand de Jouvenel (Futuribles) and
encourage our readers to go back to
their same founding texts.
But definitely I think that our core
value and historical and natural skill
useful for the journey to the future lies
in our sense of measure in both deepest
and broadest sense. Measure to
keep the sense of proportions in all
things from artifacts and architecture
to nuances in relationship and judgment
and the rule to always behave in
a moderate way.
For this future many challenges
have been identified and the consensus
on the key issues is real, even if some
discrepancies endure, sometimes due
only to personal exposure or sensitivity.
From my viewpoint what intrigues
See French, continued on page 7
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 7
continued from page 6
me more is the impact on future society
of a variety of existing but new, on
a long time scale, lifestyles, habits,
and social trends. I will not judge
them as positive or negative but I
think only that we take them as granted
with no further analysis practices
for which we have no real hindsight
and only short experience.
I will mention in order:
Homosexuality and homosexual couples,
combined family, daily use of
psychotropic drugs or monthly visit to
psychiatrists of all sorts, sometimes
narcotics, unemployed youth,
teenagers or even children becoming
consumers and brand addicts before
starting to work, interbreeding, intangibility,
ubiquity, and virtual reality
even in toys. Those social trends,
combined with the weakening or even
decline of “structuring institutions” as
traditional couples and families, religion,
the Army, education, and the
nation, may have a noticeable impact
on future society.
In this domain we have to take
into account not only the specific
impact of a particular trend but also
the hidden potential of convergences
and cross-impacts.
Pursuing the same idea, we have
to examine various potential consequences
of this human history first:
the cohabitation of so various generations
or cohorts in the sociological
sense. To complete this analysis we
must integrate the evolution of the
characterization itself of generations
as X, Y and other “boomers” and the
shortening of time spans.
In the “Wild Cards” register,
encouraged by the advice to “think the
unthinkable” and “expect the unexpected”
(Roger von Oech), I dare to
put forward two hypotheses. First:
A crisis of consumption in
developed countries.
By the confluence of very different
trends – from satiation of needs,
ecology issues, the oil crisis, the wisdom
of the elderly, the search for spirituality,
the rising leadership of “cultural
creatives,” and a clear and persuasive
answer to the question, “How
much is enough?” – hedonism is
replaced by asceticism, and products
stay on shelves and cars in dealers’
parking lots. What will become global
business, economies of emergent
countries, weakening purchase power
of the “Base of the Pyramid” and
attached strategies?
Marketing people will have to
make a quantum leap in creativity to
escape unemployment! Even if this
scenario is not probable, scenarios,
company strategies, and nations’ plans
based on an implicit assumption of
increasing needs and purchases is
And a wilder hypothesis:
Free Western world governments
have to negotiate with official
representatives of an alliance of
terrorist territories and groups
after a series – in a short period
of time – of “successful” 9/11s .
We have to imagine what would
be the conditions, the demands of terrorists,
and the amount of latitude of
the free World … just to take preventive
measures and check the adequacy
of our national and international Early
Warning Systems, crisis management
training programs and preventive
After such an unacceptable scenario,
it is difficult to see the optimistic
side except if we refer to the
humorous expression: a pessimist is an
optimist who took time to think!
More seriously, the situation is paradoxical;
people are not satisfied but a
majority is “optimistic with realism.”
Optimism is more on an individual
basis, except in the fields of employment
for the youngest and retirement
conditions for the eldest; pessimism is
collective expression but mixed with
hope of change.
For a while France has suffered a
lack of trust, living a depressive nostalgic
mood, assuming a period of
repentance for several past historical
events. This convergence of pessimistic
attitudes has been kept going
by media who invented the term
“Declinology.” People are forecasting
a period of change – reinforced by the
recent presidential elections and candidates’
programs – and foresee an
upheaval of the society (50 %); meanwhile
they build and develop a strong
individual “resilience.”
We can outline the main aspirations
of French people:
• A welcoming and consensual society
• An equilibrium between Economic
and Social
• A protection of the weakest.
They request more security and if
needed will accept more authority.
Their values are (in rank order) Family,
Honesty, Tolerance, and Freedom.
They are worried about the planet’s
future and start to show true ecological
behaviors in their daily life and talk.
To summarize the French people’s
perspectives on the future, I will say
that there are three levels of consideration:
a) France, b) the World and c) the
future place of France in that future
world. For the French nation, everybody
is convinced that the status quo is
not bearable, and agree that if not
declining, France is “Stalling.”
Comments show the sharing of
this need to recover. “Time has come
for France to choose its future”1 and
must find the “Taste of the Future”2.
In anticipation of this situation,
Nicolas Bordas asks us to consider
“optimism as a civic duty”3. And J.
Attali4 hopes that the leaders of the
country will know how to “make possible
to be happy with life in France
and to implement a human ideal made
of measure and ambition, of passion
and elegance, optimism and insolence…”
In front of this issue – except left
extremists who, by ideology strictly
refuse globalization and capitalism
and, as such, present society – the vast
majority is in one way or the other
ready to participate to the change
…without revolution! A real leader
with a vision and a project can break
the “shell” of individualism or indifference.
See French, continued on page 8
1 Gerard Mermet, sociologist, in Francoscopie
2 title of book by J.C Guillebaud
3 Vice Président, TBWA France, in Le Monde
4 latest book, A Short Story of Future
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 8
continued from page 7
Our two key factors of success
are on one side a rebuilt trust in government
and on the other side a real
desire to share the efforts to overcome
past divergences for future common
good. Major issues are civism, education
in a broad sense, improved economic
knowledge among average citizens,
a fair conception of identity
avoiding the hard line, and above all a
quantum leap in future consciousness.
Internationally, France shares
with other countries threats and fears
as terrorism is linked with atomic danger,
impact on the economy, competition
primarily in low-wage industries,
the demographic imbalance of the
working population vis-à-vis retired
people, and some others ….
In foreign relations, we have definitely
to re-launch the building of
Europe after our “off the subject” vote
and to deal with the complexity of
enlargement. Solving the delicate
problem of immigration is also of
prime importance. We have proven in
the past that we strongly reject any
and all hegemony from anywhere,
whether the would-be hegemon is the
USA, China, or the new Caliphate.
But reasonable people are convinced
that the there is no alternative
to the power of states for the large
scale protection of our freedom and
values in this turbulent and aggressive
world, often at the edge of madness.
This needs a common effort to find
the best way to resolve the tension
among the allied and aligned.
It is difficult to give priority to
present issues for the future, but after
deep careful consideration I may propose
the following.
First and foremost we have to
rebuild trust and overcome differences
to rediscover the feeling of belonging,
national impulse and the sense of
The core question for France –
after making the inside effort to
change to anticipate and adapt – is: to
what extent the future outside world
will permit us to preserve not all but
our fundamental ways of thinking and
living? This in accordance with the
true motivation to be a good and fair
player in the global team of volunteers
for a better world to participate in
peaceful efforts on hunger, respect for
women’s rights, child protection,
healthcare for all, ecology, and freedom.
If we look back in our history, we
had always these same types of goals
with our share of mistakes, utopias,
confusions in ways to achieve, and …
It is not so easy to accept being a
relatively small country while feeling
and acting to stay a great nation.
But, as a people, we are intimately
convinced with Jerome Bindé of
“The desirable futures, for human
societies in their diversity, are those
giving to humanity a human future.”
(send comments to
• Tuvée refers to the lifestyle extremes
of workaholics and “35 hours a week
aficionados” that are found in contemporary
France. Various other
nations in Europe are also characterized
by balance among work, family,
and leisure, as evidenced by longer
vacations, for example. By contrast,
many US workplaces are a working
lunch, eat-at-your-desk, eat-whileyou-
drive, and “being sick is not an
option” culture – with some companies
even mandating uncompensated
overtime. In the present globalization
environment with multinational
corporations, which working
lifestyle will prevail in your country in
• Tuvée envisions that in the near
future, the elderly will make a “comeback”
in society and business
because of increased longevity and
also because of quantitative and
qualitative needs for specific competencies.
Will this comeback make
some societies less youth-oriented
and more age-oriented (including
increased respect for the elderly),
and if so, which ones? Furthermore,
how will this comeback affect the
ways that people of all ages live and
• Tuvée observes that “There is also a
recent but strong awareness of the
value in mixing experience and risk
taking in complex situations and projects.”
Does this awareness herald a
new business model – and if so, in
what timeframe and with what role
for risk? (As one data point, a new
business often starts on the basis of
a vision that is seemingly a “wild
idea” but later becomes risk-averse –
as expressed by the old adage,
“Don’t bet your company on a wild
• Several nations can be characterized
as left-brain societies, as suggested
by their emphasis on mathematics
and science education. Do you
agree with Tuvée that good times are
ahead for right-brained people and
idea workers? If so, in which parts
of the world?
• According to Tuvée, “The star-system
will lose its dominant position to
produce celebrities.” In 2020, who
will the celebrities be, and why?
• Tuvée further anticipates that
“Courage in politics, business, education,
and all domains where decision
has to replace demagogy and
quick fixes” will be the most admired
quality. In various parts of the world,
people are increasingly disillusioned
with political leaders, especially
when the “cast of characters”
changes but the “drama” remains
invariant. Furthermore, in various
professions – even the military,
which traditionally has valued leaders
– one can find so-called leaders
who are nothing more than “go
along, get along” managers. In
2018, will leaders in politics, business,
and education be primarily
conviction leaders or consensus
leaders? (See other articles on leadership,
this issue and prior issues.)
Will they be more likely than many of
today’s leaders to think and act
beyond the “quarterly earnings statement”
and the next elections? In
what other ways will the leaders of
tomorrow and those of today be different?
• Tuvée observes that (at least in
France) future studies are primarily
the realm of large companies that
have the time and financial
resources to commit to them. In
2015, will more small companies in
your country conduct or utilize future
studies or otherwise become more
See French, continued on page 9
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 9
• The article states that “People condemn
outsourcing and delocalisation
but they enjoy buying cheap Chinese
products.” For how many more
years are outsourcing and delocalisation
as now practiced, including
the delocalisation of capital and
investment, sustainable? Explain
the basis for your estimate.
• In 2015, what will be regarded as
rights as opposed to needs, and in
which nations?
• Tuvée anticipates a resurgence of
feminine values. Do you agree –
and if so, what will be the impact?
(Also see David Day’s article, this
• Tuvée notes that “recent experience
has reinforced the feeling that good
and evil is a relative notion…” Is
moral relativism sustainable through
2015 – and if so, with what impact
on intercultural relationships?
• Tuvée envisions that no other culture
will displace contemporary French
culture within France. Which other
nations and peoples will maintain
continued from page 8
Acknowledging this background,
it is easy to understand why foresight
and future studies have played a more
and more important role in Germany
in the last years. One central influence
furthering this development was surely
the support of the European Union
for foresight activities and the funds
provided for research activities in the
Futures Studies Activities in Germany:
Towards a Perspective of Foresight
their cultures through 2020, and
which ones will experience substantial
• Among the social trends that Tuvée
has observed are a weakening of
“structuring institutions” such as traditional
families as well as religion
and even the nation. What is the
long-term prospect for these structuring
institutions, especially the
family, in your country – and with
what consequences?
• Tuvée anticipates a crisis of consumption
in developed nations – the
result of several factors including
satiation of needs – perhaps culminating
in unemployment for marketing
people. Indeed, the consumer
economies of several nations are
based on creating and then satisfying
discontent, but progressively
more people are finding that material
possessions and even social status
do not bring fulfilment. What will
follow the economy based on discontent,
and in what timeframe?
by Cornelia Daheim, Z_punkt GmbH The Foresight
Company, Germany
field, which seem to continue growing
on the national as well as on the
European level. This article presents
an impression of the variety of futures
studies and foresight activities in
Germany, though, facing some limits
of time and space, I will only be able
to offer a glimpse into the field.
As the foresight scene in Germany
is so diverse, it is difficult to give an
overview of the main subjects that are
at the centre of futures activities at the
moment. Without aiming at completeness,
however, one can say that subjects
being discussed strongly include:
• Demographic Change: rapidly ageing
and shrinking population, and
the consequences for society and
• Future of Bio- and Nanotechnologies
• Sustainability – with focus on energy
production, climate change etc.
• Shift to Asia, transformation of markets,
relocation of production sites to
the East
• Knowledge Society and Economy
The German “scene” of futures
studies and foresight is characterized by
a “patchwork structure” of a variety of
actors and activities in the field.
Although there is currently no university
teaching futures studies in Germany
(in contrast to the situation in Finland or
the USA, for example), methods and
subjects of future studies are being
taught in the context of other disciplines.
For example, in strategic marketing
at the private University of Witten-
Herdecke, “trends and issue management”
is taught by Prof. Liebl, which
includes a section on scenario methods
and the like, and Peter H. Mettler teaches
at the University of Wiesbaden with
his background of Societal Science and
Sociology of Planning and Technology.
In addition, at the Free University of
Berlin there are efforts underway to
establish a department for future studies
(“Institut Futur,” Prof. de Haan).
In general, one can say that the
In an age of globalisation and new working worlds,
foresight1 is a major challenge for policy makers, governments
and businesses. Pushed by new technologies, tempestuous
markets and uncertain social developments, planners
have to see beyond the end of their noses in order stay
in control of the situation for the years to come. This
makes an extensive knowledge framework about changes
in business and society indispensable, or else one risks
wriggling helplessly in the snares and pitfalls of this fundamental
1 We use the term “foresight” in an opensense
(see the dominant definition
“Foresight is a systematic, participatory,
future-intelligence-gathering and medium-tolong-
term vision-building process aimed at
present-day decisions and mobilizing joint
actions,” Gavigan et al. 2001: V), but do not
want to imply an opposition to activities that
work with the term futures research or
futures studies.
See Foresight, continued on page 10
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 10
See Foresight, continued on page 11
continued from page 9
field is undergoing change. For example,
the Academy for Technology
Assessment in Baden-Württemberg
was recently closed, which was one of
the main institutions with public funding.
On the other hand, there was a
visible growth in state-funded activities
(as in the process “Futur,” see
below), in the whole field of regional
foresight as well as in the sphere of
corporate foresight. One could say that
one of the main recent developments
seems to be the diffusion and integration
of foresight into “regular” strategic
and research activities, as in integration
of future questions and tools
into research agendas and calls for
proposals by the German Federal
Ministry for Research.
To name some of the most important
institutions in the field, these are:
• The Office for Technology
Assessment at the German
Parliament (TAB)
• Research Institutes:
- SFZ Secretariat for Futures
Studies, Dortmund,
- IZT Institute for Futures Studies
and Technology Assessment, Berlin,
- Fraunhofer Institute for Innovation
and Systems Analysis ISI,
- Institute for Technology
Assessment and Systems Analysis
- Future Technologies Consulting,
German Association of Engineers
(VDI-TZ), http://www.
• There is also a number of companies
specialized in foresight, trend
monitoring and the like, including:
Z_punkt GmbH The Foresight
Company (us), Trendbüro,
Zukunftsinstitut, SCMI, Prognos,
FutureManagement Group, …
• And, not to be forgotten, there is a
growing number of departments or
individual specialists in major corporations
who are concerned with
Corporate Foresight, for example at
Daimler Chrysler, Volkswagen,
Siemens, BASF, and Deutsche
In order to give an impression of
what kind of activities are being undertaken
in the futures field at the moment
in Germany, I will concentrate on
some examples which show the variety
of subjects as well as of organizational
and institutional forms involved.
Surely the German project that has
received most of the international
attention in the last years is “futur –
The German Research Dialogue” (see
http://www.futur.de, English version
available), conducted by the Federal
Ministry for Education & Research.
This large-scale process, which has
involved more that one thousand participants
since it started, aims at the
identification of research demand, and
produces as its output interdisciplinary
“Lead Visions” for the Ministry. After
a selection process, these are implemented
in the form of new research
Another rather new but rapidly
growing field is Regional Foresight
Activities, where foresight is used to
improve regional planning and focus
this on future-oriented action. Some
time ago, the “Four Motors Foresight,”
an EU-funded project, was conducted
in Baden-Württemberg in cooperation
with other European regions. At the
moment, there are regional foresight
activities all over Germany, from the
level of individual cities up to larger
scale entities such as the German
Länder. Currently, Z_punkt works with
two other partners in the EU-funded
regional foresight project “SPIDER
Project: Increasing Regional
Competitiveness through Futures
Research Methods” (http://www.spider
-project.net). It is supported in the
Regions of Knowledge Program of the
European Community, and with the
partners Turku School of Economics
and Business Administration/Futures
Research Centre (project coordinator,
Finland) and The Destree Institute
(Wallonia, Belgium), it focuses on
improving regional foresight methods
for improving a region’s innovation
systems and competitiveness. The output
will be regional visions and a concept
of “future knowledge regions,”
wherein the research on the regions’
competitiveness will back up the work
on visions, using Delphi and workshop
formats and methods.
Apart from these rather new
developments of large-scale state-funded
participatory processes and the diffusion
of foresight into regional planning,
there are also still the traditional
forms of studies on the future. I have
picked out one example, which, interestingly
enough, was not produced by
one of the specialist research institutes
of futures studies, but by the German
Federal Agency for the Environment
(Umweltbundesamt) – which proves
the point of futures studies’ integration
into regular research, planning and
strategy activities. The study focuses
on the future of sustainable development
in Germany and works with 3
scenarios to point out options and risks
analyzing consequences in different
fields, such as energy and climate
change, mobility and transport,
tourism, industry and natural
resources. The study as a whole is
available only in German, but an
English summary is offered on
daten-e/daten-e/p-1897-e.htm .
The German Futures scene is quite
well connected to the international
level, and one example of these connections
is the German Node of the
Millennium Project. The Millennium
Project (American Council for the
United Nations University) is an NGO,
an international think tank working on
global trends, perspectives and challenges.
Annually, it produces the report
“State of the Future” (see
http://www.acunu.org). Z_punkt officially
formed the German Node of the
Millennium Project in March 2003,
which spreads the results of the MP
work in Germany, brings in experts
from Germany for surveys, conducts
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 11
See Foresight, continued on page 12
continued from page 10
its own research and, generally speaking,
connects regional and global
future perspectives. A Planning
Committee to support the work of the
Node has been founded, embracing
the main futures studies actors in
Germany, whose members are:
• Dr. Günter Clar, (now Steinbeis
Academy, formerly European
Commission, Research DG)
• Dr. Kerstin Cuhls (Fraunhofer
Institute for Systems and Innovation
Research ISI in Karlsruhe)
• Robert Gaßner (IZT = Institute for
Future Studies and Technology
Assessment in Berlin)
• Prof. Dr. Gerhard de Haan (Free
University of Berlin, educational
• Prof. Dr. Peter H. Mettler (FH
Wiesbaden – University of Applied
Sciences, Societal Science and
Sociology of Planning and
• Dr. Axel Zweck (VDI-ZT = German
Association of Engineers, Future
Technologies Division, Düsseldorf).
Recently, as Z_punkt’s 2002 survey
has shown, Corporate Foresight is
on the rise in Germany (see
http://www.z-punkt.de for a summary
of the results), and more and more
major corporations work with methods
of future studies and foresight for their
strategy or innovation development. In
addition, there is a re-orientation from
a technology-centred towards a more
holistic perspective, as well as a tendency
to use more qualitative methods
and combine and link these with and
to the established quantitative
approaches. Practical experience as
well as other sources seem to show
that this is more or less the case in
many other countries as well2. For
example, the conference “in the long
run” has brought together practitioners
from the field from the USA and
Europe, exchanging and discussing
experiences (see http://www.
inthelongrun.de ). Representatives
from companies such as Volkswagen,
Deutsche Bank, Telekom, Shell and
Philips Design reported on their corporate
foresight activities – showing a
variety of organizing forms and a
growing knowledge of methods which
are known, used, being improved in
the process and even invented. For
example, Shell works with combining
scenario methods with real options
analysis (Cornelius 2004: 12). Philips
Design works with the concept of open
innovation, moving from a technologycentred
perspective to a “more human
centric and social focused approach”
in their foresight activities (Green
2004: 14). Deutsche Telekom uses corporate
foresight in a holistic approach
within their innovation strategy development
(Aukes 2004: 23), while BASF
continually develops and works with a
number of regional as well as global
scenarios (Heinzelbecker 2004). Ove
Arup & Partners have developed usercentric-
processes (Luebkeman 2004:
30), and Deutsche Bank works at the
connection of quantitative and qualitative
methodology in their project
“Global Growth Centres” (Schneider
2004: 43).
Some other conferences or workshops
have proven the same point of
the professionalisation and growing
implementation of corporate foresight,
for example the two Strathclyde
International Conferences on
Organizational Foresight3 (in the year
2002 and 2004) or the EU-US
Scientific Seminar on New Technology
Foresight4, which also featured a number
of contributions from the private
sector. A further not-so-weak signal
concerning this trend is the growing
interest in an exchange of experiences,
as evident for example in the work of
a German network of practitioners (the
so-called Rauchfangswerder
Gespräche, co-managed by Z_punkt),
or of the Association of Professional
Futurists or the Corporate Foresight
This rough sketch of observations
from Germany implies a positive outlook
of a growing future orientation,
especially as it is happens in the private
as well as in the public sector
(and also seems to be a tendency all
over Europe; see for example the activities
in the field of regional foresight
all over Europe6 or the foresight initiatives
in the new member states of the
European Union7). However, foresight
activities and implementation still face
a number of problems and challenges.
The obvious tendencies for growth in
public as well as private sectors call
for a stronger exchange of experiences
as well as for answers to the problems
of integration into decision-making
processes. What is interesting is that
the development in the private and
public sectors does have more in common
than the simple tendency for
growth, such as, for example, the
shared growing awareness of the need
to widen the horizon, the tendency to
include a variety of actors in the
process, and the orientation towards
social and societal developments
replacing a focus on technology forecasts.
There is, quite obviously, a number
of gaps that need to be closed in
order to face the above-mentioned
challenges: the gap between the
amount of already existing methodological
work and the lack of knowledge
about it, and also the gap between
the foresight / futures research and
2 See for example Becker (2003) for an
analysis overview of corporate foresight in
Europe or van der Duin (2004) for a case
study from the Netherlands.
3 See the Website of the last conference:
foresight/2004/ .
4 EU-US Scientific Seminar: New
Technology Foresight, Forecasting &
Assessment Methods in May 2004:
5 See the Website of the Corporate
Foresight Network:
6 For an overview, see for example
Keenan/Uyarra 2002, or the Website
http://www.regional-foresight.de/ on
“Europe’s Regions Shaping the Future - the
Role of Foresight.”
7 See for example eForesee, a project which
wants to “address challenges faced by policy
makers implementing foresight activities for
smaller economies and regions”:
12 FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7
continued from page 11
futures studies community and their
work results and its practical applications
in business and public sectors8.
The gap between the persisting “report
culture” in many foresight activities
and the need for action and communication
on the other hand also seems a
major challenge. Therefore, a major
threshold for foresight, in order to
grow and become even more successful
– and not only in Germany – lies
in the connection of the qualitative
and the quantitative as well as in
developing flexible yet stable frameworks
for foresight and its integration
into decision-making.
General Information on Z_punkt
Z_punkt GmbH The Foresight
Company (http://www.z-punkt.de)
• founded in 1997 by Klaus
Burmeister and Karlheinz
• located in Berlin, Essen and
• Staff of about 15 employees
• trend and futures research projects
for business and institutional clients,
esp. technology leaders
• clients include Deutsche Telekom
AG, Bayer AG, Degussa AG, TUI
• research activities for ministries,
EU-funded etc.
• partner and service provider for
future workers and strategists
• free English language Newsletter
Future News informing on Foresight
and Futures Research News (global
8 Bridging gaps towards the technology
assessment community can be added to
this list – see Malanowksi et al. 2002 for a
summary of the application of technology
assessment in corporations in several countries
and their future perspectives. The
authors also come to the conclusion that
more dialogue and cooperation between the
business and the scientific community is
Aukes, Hans Albert 2004: “Innovation
@ Deutsche Telekom.” In: Z_punkt The
Foresight Company (eds.) 2004: Abstracts
from In the long run. International
Conference on Long-Term Thinking in
Business: Corporate Foresight and Global
Change. Essen, Berlin 2004. P. 21-23.
Becker, Patrick 2003: “Corporate
Foresight in Europe: A First Overview.”
European Commission Community
Research Working paper. Luxembourg
Burmeister, Klaus; Neef, Andreas;
Albert, Bernhard; Glockner, Holger 2002:
“Zukunftsforschung und Unternehmen.
Praxis, Methoden, Perspektiven.” Ed. by
Z_punkt GmbH. Essen 2002 (available in
German only; a summary of the main
results in English can be downloaded from:
Burmeister, Klaus; Neef, Andreas;
Beyers, Bert 2004: Corporate Foresight.
Unternehmen gestalten Zukunft. Hamburg
2004 (available in German only, the introduction
is available from
http://www.z-punkt.de )
Cornelius, Peter 2004: “Three
Decades of Scenario Planning at Shell:
Experience and Possible Extensions for the
Future.” In: Z_punkt The Foresight
Company (eds.) 2004: Abstracts from In
the long run. International Conference on
Long-Term Thinking in Business:
Corporate Foresight and Global Change.
Essen, Berlin 2004. P. 10-11
Cunha, Migueal Pina e; Palma,
Patricia; da Costa, Nuno Guimaraes 2004:
“Tracking Changes in Organizational
Foresight.” (Conference paper, presented at
the 2nd international conference on
Organizational Foresight Graduate School
of Business, University of Strathclyde
2004, and available at the website
foresight/2004/ )
van der Duin, Patrick A. 2004:
“Innovating for the Future.” In: Thinking
Creatively in Turbulent Times. Ed. by
Howard A. Didsbury and the Staff of the
World Future Society. Bethesda 2004. P.
Fichter, Klaus; Kiehne, Dierk-Oliver
2004: Trendmonitoring im Szenario-
Management. Eine erste Bestandsaufnahme
Unterstützungspotenziale. Stuttgart 2004
Gavigan, James P; Sciapolo, Fabiana;
Keenan, Michael; Miles, Ian; Farhi,
Francois; Lecoq, Denis; Capriati, Michele;
Di Bartolomeo, Teresa (eds.) 2001: A
Practical Guide to Regional Foresight.
Seville 2001
Glenn, Jerome C.; Gordon, Theodore
J. 2003: Futures Research Studies
Methodology. Version 2.0. CD-ROM.
Washington 2003
Green, Josephine 2004: “Unlocking
the Future: Technology and Social Research
and Innovation.” In: Z_punkt The Foresight
Company (eds.) 2004: Abstracts from In the
long run. International Conference on
Long-Term Thinking in Business: Corporate
Foresight and Global Change. Essen,
Berlin 2004. P. 13-15
Keenan, Michael; Uyarra, Elvira 2002:
“Why Regional Foresight? An Overview of
Theory and Practice.” Paper prepared for the
STRAT-ETAN Expert Group on Mobilising
the Regional Foresight Potential for an
Enlarged European Union. Bruxelles 2002.
Liebl, Franz 2004:“Organizational
Foresight as Strategic Knowledge
Management: A Frame of Reference”
(Conference paper, presented at the 2nd
international conference on Organizational
Foresight Graduate School Of Business,
University Of Strathclyde 2004, and available
at the website
Luebkeman, Chris 2004: “Can you
imagine? Experience from Arup’s Global
Foresight and Innovation Team.” In:
Z_punkt The Foresight Company (eds.)
2004: Abstracts from In the long run.
International Conference on Long-Term
Thinking in Business: Corporate Foresight
and Global Change. Essen, Berlin 2004. P.
Malanowski, Norbert; Krück, Carsten
P.; Zweck, Axel (eds.) 2001: Technology
Assessment und Wirtschaft. Eine
Länderübersicht. Frankfurt, New York 2001
Pertrásek, Frantisek 2004:
“Forecasting and Decisionmaking: A
Permanent Problem.” Paper for the First
Prague Workshop on Futures Studies
Methodology, distributed at the conference.
Schneider, Stefan 2004: “A Search for
Future Growth Centres – Expanding
Strategic Foresight in Banking.” In:
Z_punkt The Foresight Company (eds.)
2004: Abstracts from In the long run.
International Conference on Long-Term
Thinking in Business: Corporate Foresight
and Global Change. Essen, Berlin 2004. P.
Tsoukas, Haridimos; Shepherd, Jill
2004: “Introduction: Organizations and the
Future. From Forecasting to Foresight.” In:
Tsoukas, Haridimos; Shepherd, Jill (eds.):
Managing the Future. Foresight in the
See Foresight, continued on page 13
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 13
See Ukraine, continued on page 14
Knowledge Economy. Malden 2004. P. 1-
Wright, George; van der Heijden,
Kees; Burt, George; Bradfield, Ron;
Cairns, George 2004: “Scenario Planning
Interventions in Organizations: An
Analysis of the Causes of Success and
Future” [sic]. Conference paper, presented
at the 2nd international conference on
Organizational Foresight Graduate School
of Business, University of Strathclyde
2004, and available at the website
Z_punkt The Foresight Company
(eds.) 2004: Abstracts from In the long
run. International Conference on Long-
Term Thinking in Business: Corporate
Foresight and Global Change. Held by
Z_punkt GmbH the Foresight Company in
Berlin in 2004. Abstracts, and presentations
available for download from
http://www.inthelongrun.de (Conference
proceedings to be published in 2005)
Cornelia Daheim
Project Director, International
Z_punkt GmbH The Foresight
Bullmannaue 11; 45327 Essen;
phone. +49 (0)201-747 27-12
fax. +49 (0)201-747 27-22
Email: daheim@z-punkt.de
German Node of the AC/UNU
Millennium Project
(send comments to
• Ms. Daheim observes that the technology-
centred perspective is giving
way to a more holistic perspective
and that there is new interest in
combining qualitative methods with
the established quantitative ones –
not only in Germany but also in
other nations. How will this impact
continued from page 12
the use of various methodologies in
futures studies – that is, which ones
will be used more frequently and
which ones less frequently? “Bonus
question”: what new future studies
methodologies will emerge within the
next decade?
• A common managerial approach, at
least in some parts of the world, relies
on financial statements (costs, profits,
etc.) and other metrics. However,
metrics typically fail to capture all of
the important information and are
often misleading – especially when
substituted for leadership. Against
this backdrop, will the new interest of
client companies and government
agencies in holistic perspectives and
qualitative methods result in a “seismic
shift” in business and government
leadership, and if so, in what timeframe?
(Also see other
FUTUREtakes articles on leadership,
this issue and past issues.)
• Identify additional consequences of
the renewed interest of futurists and
forecasters in qualitative methods and
a holistic perspective.
integrates fairly easily into the pan-
Ukrainian cultural and (to a certain
extent) language context. One might
venture a conjecture that an inborn nonviolent
nature of Ukrainians paradoxically
coupled with sharp witted humor
about themselves and all other ethnicities
or religions (something that would
be labeled as politically incorrect statements
elsewhere) are exactly the two
indispensable ingredients, whose
mélange give valve to hidden bias and
help transform potential animosities
into jokes and peaceful co-habitation.
Another telling characteristic of
Ukrainians is their inherent acceptance
of democracy as a natural form of governance.
Decades of Soviet rule
spawned around a myth that all former
Soviet republics are necessarily autocratic,
or that all Eastern Slavs are
serfs subjugated to their beloved dictators.
In fact, the communist regime
was an aberration rather than a norm
for all the peoples inhabiting one sixth
of the globe. At present, further disin-
continued from page 1
tegration of “old-type” political ties
and decadence of the CIS
(Commonwealth of Independent
States) prove that all these new nations
are very different, have always been
very different, and they are gravitating
now to different power poles.
Ukraine has had a significant
European tradition long before it was
eventually drawn into the Kremlin’s
orbit. As mentioned before, Ukrainian
(or old Rus` as they were called at that
time – an ethnic definition later “borrowed”
forever by Moscovia) Great
Princes of 10 to 12th centuries were
highly educated, respected and welcome
guests in many other European capitals.
Many of the existing European
monarchies have Ukrainian blood in
them. The brightest example was
Anna, daughter of Kyiv Great Prince
Yaroslav the Wise, alias granddaughter
of King Olaf III of Scotland and
Sweden, she married Henry I to
become Queen of France and mother
of King Philippe I. A part of her dowry
was a Ukrainian bible from her father’s
library later used by all subsequent
French kings to take their oath when
ascending to the throne. Anna was one
of few literate noblesse in Paris of
those times who could use her real signature
instead of a little cross.
The European vocation of Ukraine
was later carried on by the Cossacks,
whose military organization of selfgovernance
could be called a genuine
representative democracy. Throughout
the 15th to the middle of the 18th century,
when the rest of Europe was ruled
by self-appointed royalties, Ukrainian
military chiefs were elected at a general
assembly of all Cossacks whose
votes counted regardless of their social
hierarchy or property status.
In 1710, some 70 years before the
French revolution and the US
Declaration of Independence, one of
Ukrainian Cossack leaders Pylyp Orlyk
wrote the first ever democratic constitution
in Europe. The text may be called
imperfect by modern scholars, but it
envisaged the election principle for all
major “governmental” positions, as well
as distribution of power between the
legislative, executive and judiciary
branches, with respective checks and
balances. (Apropos, the Paris airport
Orly was named after the father of
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 14
See Ukraine, continued on page 15
continued from page 13
Pylyp Orlyk – Hryhoriy (George) – who
owned a village in the area to become
later eponymous for the airport).
The intermittent continuity of democratic
traditions in the history of
Ukraine reached its apogee in the phenomenon
of the Orange uprising in
2004, which in fact has no precedents
in the world history for an event of this
magnitude and spirit. As one of the US
journalists aptly put it, those dramatic
developments in Ukraine were like a
mixture of the fall of the Berlin wall
and the Woodstock festival. Millions of
people in the streets around the country
protesting against election fraud: not a
single window smashed, not a single
person beaten, crime level plummeted,
not a single case of flu reported during
17 days of non-stop standing out in the
cold. When rumors spread that the then
government was contemplating the use
of military force and gunfire against
civilians, the number of protestors doubled.
The world was a witness to the
quintessence of democracy – direct will
of the people, as opposed to the mob
rule, transformed the country almost
overnight from a post-Soviet republic
into a mature European democracy.
This is something futurists can rack
their brains about indefinitely.
Likewise, they can wonder what
prompted Ukraine to voluntarily
renounce its third largest nuclear stockpiles
at the beginning of the 1990s –
again, an unprecedented historical fact.
Against the background of the currently
re-enforced arms race and ardent desire
of several powers to procure weapons of
mass destruction, the act of Ukrainians
looks as an incredulous sacrifice. It was
not an easy decision. There was a heated
debate in the society and among political
elite. Ultimately, a combination of
various factors played in to favor the
non-nuclear option including simple
sound reason, the dreadful legacy of
Chornobyl, political image and, to a
lesser extent, economic dividends.
Whichever basic motivation can be discerned
behind the act, it did happen thus
making Ukraine a tangible contributor
and remain a significant player in global
politics. The Orange revolution testified
to the huge potential and allure of
Ukraine as a so-called soft power,
whose mere example can promote
democracy in the region. With a stable
and democratic Ukraine it will be easier
to forge coalitions of like-minded
and value-sharing democracies to meet
the challenges of continuously changing
global political environment.
Besides, bearing in mind the legacy
of Chornobyl, Ukrainians have since
been very sensitive about environmental
issues. Despite Soviet history of
resource-wasting economic development
and areas of heavy industrial production,
the Ukrainians at large try to
live in harmony with nature, and this is
their educated opinion and perception
of a safe and prosperous future. We
have a good tradition of parks development,
and our mountain and sea resorts
are mostly free from pollution.
With the very fertile soils (black
earth), it is possible that in the future
Ukraine will not only re-confirm its
status as the breadbasket of Europe, but
also become one of the leading producers
of ethanol and other bio-fuels. With
proper management and investments,
the vast agricultural landmass will suffice
for both food and energy.
Yet another experience of
Ukrainians, which may have positive
repercussions elsewhere though it is
probably not unique, is our preference
for homeopathy. People in Ukraine
have a long tradition of herbal medicine
that helps in supporting the health
of the nation.
In short, Ukrainians’ perspective
on the future is a politically multilateral
and co-operative, ethnically rich and
diverse, and ecologically friendly
humanity living in peace with itself
and exploring space and nature without
detriment to its own survival and
Olexandr Aleksandrovych is Minister-
Counselor for Economic and Cultural
Affairs, Embassy of Ukraine to the
USA. He has previously worked in the
Ukranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in
policy analysis and planning and was
posted at Ukranian Embassies to
to international peace and security.
The last chapter in this concise
country profile is free of political implications.
It is about Ukrainian culture,
and more specifically and maybe unexpectedly
– about food culture. Not only
shortages of food, but also healthy diet
belong to immediate challenges of the
future everywhere. It is not a mere trifle
to talk fearfully of new generations
being raised on hormones, additives,
preservatives, colorants, emulsifiers,
BHA and other “flavoring killers.”
Many tourists coming to Ukraine
would shun caviar as too salty, cream
cheese as too fatty, pork sausage as too
calorie-loaded… so they would gulp
down hamburgers, peanut butter and
Cola... something Ukrainians don’t
quite understand – trading good food
for junk. A theory goes that, in addition
to fast-food chains, the ubiquitous lowfat
and non-fat food abounding in
many advanced democracies nowadays
is the primary cause of obesity.
Because a 95% lean pork or beef tastes
like paper and can not satiate your
stomach in moderate quantities.
That is why Ukrainians welcome
those foreign food companies that
invest in Ukrainian domestic food
industry with respect to our organic
food culture.
I have just enumerated four areas
where my nation and its culture could
be of some use to humanity – ethnic
and religious tolerance, democracy
record, denuclearization and healthy
From a geopolitical point of view,
Ukrainians instinctively favor a multilateral
world. The above description of
Ukrainians’ nature shows that they are
averse to any kind of tyranny or dictatorship,
or unilateralism. The future
will probably see Ukraine as a classical
European pluralistic democracy, a hub
of humanitarian studies, with outwardlooking,
multi-lingual and dynamic
Such a Ukraine will be fully integrated
into the Euro-Atlantic structures
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 15
Council of Europe, BeNeLux, NATO,
EU and WEU. In addition to his native
Ukranian Olexandr is fluent in English,
Dutch and Russian and understands
basic German and French.
(send comments to
• The Ukrainian experience of cultural
blending and assimilation differs profoundly
from the experience of various
nations in Western Europe.
Furthermore, both differ from the US
experience. Minister-Counselor
Aleksandrovych identifies two characteristics,
an “inborn non-violent
nature of Ukrainians” and their
“sharp witted humor,” that have been
indispensable in transforming potential
animosities into “jokes and
peaceful co-habitation.” In other
nations, what factors influence the
experience of new immigrants – that
is, peaceful coexistence, cultural
clashes, or deculturation – now and
through the next decade?
Furthermore, what are the implica-
continued from page 14
tions for nations that are culturally
heterogeneous now, and for those
nations that are more culturally
• As the author indicates, survival
against oppression has had a substantial
role in shaping the Ukraine
experience. How will anticipated
economic, environment, etc. hardships
shape future nations and cultures
between now and 2025?
• Ukrainians try to live in harmony with
nature, as Minister-Counselor
Aleksandrovych indicates. Various
Native peoples throughout the world
have done likewise. To what extent
will these examples – together with
economic and environmental necessity
– shape the global economy of
2020? Will this lead to a new economic
utility function that captures
long-term costs and consequences
of near-term choices?
• The article contrasts the traditional
and healthy food culture of Ukraine
with the “junk food” culture of visiting
tourists. “Junk food” has migrated
elsewhere, too – especially to parts
of Europe and Asia. Considering
other relevant drivers – for example,
the imperative for fast food (and
even eating at one’s desk) in fast
Race relations at The George
Washington University (GWU) reveal
an interesting dynamic. The institution
claims to recruit, foster and promote
racial and ethnic diversity.
Conveniently located in the nation’s
capital that has a high volume of international
activity and a residential area
that is predominantly non-white,
GWU is physically in a culturally
strategic position. In terms of the university’s
statistics, the Multicultural
Student Services Center (MSSC)
reported that in 2004, the racial makeup
of the undergraduate population
was as follows: White: 65.2%,
Unknown: 10.9%, Asian: 9.3%, Black:
5.3%, Hispanic: 4.6%, International:
4.5%, Native: 0.2%. For undergraduate
students with known ethnicity
(total excluding unknown), 27% are
paced parts of the world, environmental
considerations (that is, the
food capacities of farmland vs. ranch
land), and cross-flow of health and
nutrition information among cultures
– which type of food will win the
“food fight” by 2015? Furthermore,
what are the long-term implications
to diet habits around the world?
• Minister-Counselor Aleksandrovych
points out that the nations of the former
Commonwealth of Independent
States (immediate successor to the
Soviet Union) have gravitated to different
power poles. In 2025, will the
constellation of world power be more
multilateral as Ukrainians instinctively
favor (considering all instruments of
national power as well as the growing
role of non-state actors), or will it
be more unilateral or bilateral?
• How do hardships, such as foreign
oppression, influence literature,
music, art, and theater?
• What characteristics have given
other cultures the means to survive
foreign oppression? Are these characteristics
useful in protecting contemporary
peoples against threats to
their cultures that are less extreme –
for example, cultural clashes, deculturation,
and assimilation?
A Multicultural
non-white (International, Black,
Native, Hispanic, or Asian).
There are mixed feelings among
the GWU population as to whether
these numbers represent diversity.
Although the institution remains predominantly
white, what one must consider
is the sense of community and
contribution to the university that these
minority groups maintain. There are a
myriad of organizations that support
and promote various cultures on campus:
The Black Student Union,
Organization of Latino American
Students, Asian Student Alliance and
Indian Student Association, just to
name a few. These organizations serve
to unite their respective ethnic communities
and raise awareness of their cultures
through community service and
social events throughout the year.
People of all races and ethnicities are
welcomed to experience cultural foods
and customs and to discuss relevant
political and social issues in efforts to
facilitate communication, understanding
and cooperation between and
among cultures.
Under the umbrella of the
Multicultural Student Services Center
Jennifer Butler
President, Racially and Ethnically
Mixed Student Association
The George Washington
Washington, DC, USA
See Millennium, continued on page 16
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 16
See Millennium, continued on page 17
(MSSC), these organizations create a
multicultural atmosphere; however, it
is inherently divisive. Each organization,
more often than not, acts exclusively
within their own racial group,
rarely working with other organizations.
At the same time, there is
another population that belongs to the
multicultural community: those who
are of mixed race backgrounds. Many
of these students who identify themselves
as such do not feel comfortable
in racially monotonous settings, as
their cultural pride is more ambiguous.
A liaison organization was clearly
needed, not only to bridge the gap
between and among the cultural organizations
at GWU, but also to accommodate
those students who physically
embody the result of racial harmony.
The traditions of a dichotomous society
fail to fulfill the needs of the entire
population; in an environment that
claims multiculturalism, GWU lent
itself as an appropriate arena for a new
organization to support this category
of people.
Two biracial GWU students
acknowledged this large and unrepresented
group of students and with that,
co-founded the Racially and
Ethnically Mixed Student Association
(REMIX). The George Washington
University was the twelfth school in
the United States to sponsor a multiracial
student group such as REMIX on
campus. Although a progressive and
seemingly simple solution to the
“please check one” mentality, it is difficult
to unite a group of students with
so much diversity. However, as individuals
share experiences, trade ideas
and discuss issues, it becomes clear
that we are united, not despite our differences,
but because of them. Being
multiracial in America renders a
unique experience contingent upon the
individual and one’s environment.
The stereotypical identity crisis does
not necessarily arise from internal
confusion about one’s own heritage,
but because of others’ fixation and
need for a neat cultural classification.
continued from page 15
Therefore, society is prone to not only
ask these individuals to identify with
one race and not the other but also tell
these individuals that they are one
race and not the other.
REMIX is a community dedicated
to those individuals who live as a
bridge between two worlds that they
are not allowed to enter. It is a common
ground for those who are asked,
“What are you?” before asked, “What
is your name?” REMIX is a place,
one of few, where multiracial students
can learn about themselves from each
other. It is also a place to learn about
the real dangers and real struggles that
they face. The official REMIX mission
is to build a community for
multi-ethnic students at GWU; to provide
a forum for multi-ethnic students
to voice concerns or raise questions;
and to promote awareness of the
unique societal position of multi-ethnic
Individuals of
mixed racial and
ethnic heritage
have distinctive
advantages, but
they also experience
challenges. Those
who are socialized
as multiracial frequently
have an
enhanced sense of
self and of identity,
and greater
appreciation of
minority group cultures
as well as inter-group tolerance.
At the same time, the development of
such a positive, composite identity is
difficult. Characteristics are contingent
upon various societal pressures;
socialization within the family, among
friends, romantic interests and personal
feelings regarding identity choices.
Although this is one of the fastest
growing ethnic minorities all over the
nation, these pressures result in mixed
race individuals as having some of the
highest suicide rates and the highest
rates of being physically and sexually
abused. Prior restrictions of indicating
only one race forced the denial of people’s
true heritage. Failure to recognize
one’s racial mixing is also a health
concern, as the cure to diseases such as
leukemia and other bone marrow ailments
rely on donors with specific ethnicities.
Seemingly minor identity
issues give way to far greater concerns
of the multiracial population. If the
group as a whole decides to remain
silent, these problems will only get
worse. REMIX is, above all, a voice
for a group that has been ignored for
too long.
The lack of acceptance and understanding
has led to an absence of identity
and culture among multiethnic
individuals, only to be cured by the
creation of a community. All GWU
students – mixed and otherwise – are
encouraged to be involved and to help
overall awareness of this underrepresented,
yet substantial, populace.
REMIX looks to achieve these goals
by having monthly general body meetings
and information
sessions; hosting a
variety of events;
spreading the word
through listservs and
advertising; serving
as a cultural liaison
between and among
all cultural student
organizations; and
creating a social support
Celebrating multiracial
pride is not necessarily
a universal
or uniform salute
due to the variety of
mixes and the atmosphere in which
they have grown. Some individuals
succumb to the convenience factor of
being a social chameleon, conforming
with respect to the majority of one’s
environment; others maintain both (or
all) cultural values they have inherited
and celebrate the fact that they can
equally trump all aspects that make
them distinct from other minorities.
The largest barrier that REMIX
has encountered is the difficulty in
defining membership and helping
The lack of acceptance
and understanding has
led to an absence of
identity and culture
among multiethnic
individuals, only to be
cured by the creation
of a community.
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 17
those who do not yet feel comfortable
identifying themselves as multiracial
to be involved. Other cultural organizations
such as the Black Student
Union and the Chinese American
Student Association have obvious
membership: those who are Black and
Chinese, respectively, are automatically
and obviously welcome members to
the group. To be racially and/or ethnically
mixed, however, includes so
many different combinations and
identities that it is difficult to accommodate
for all the diversity and to create
a sense of unity.
In efforts to deal with this obstacle,
continuous effort and support is
encouraged and solicited through cosponsorships
and active participation
from the other student groups at
GWU. REMIX serves not only to
create a multicultural community but
also to promote awareness of such
mixed individuals. Therefore, membership
is open to everyone and anyone
who is interested in this population
and its unique societal position.
Additionally, to make students aware
that they can have dual or multiple
membership of any organization they
wish alleviates the decision to choose
between groups.
Because of the organization’s
constant promotion, mixed race is
being increasingly recognized as a
new and accepted racial category, evident
through the production of more
multicultural events on campus, more
invitations to REMIX from other cultural
orgs and an increased membership
of the group. There is certainly
more progress to be made, but what
has been done is quite substantial.
With the newly elected DC mayor,
Adrian Fenty, and a high-profile 2008
U.S. Presidential candidate, Barak
Obama – both of whom are biracial –
REMIX intends to draw attention to
multiracial public figures and provide
inspiration to students of similar backgrounds.
It is important to consider the
image of multiracial individuals who
are highly publicized and how they
portray themselves compared to how
they are portrayed by society. For
example, Halle Berry was the first
African-American actress to receive
an Academy Award only five short
years ago. Berry’s mother is, in fact,
Caucasian; however, she is still, and
most likely always will be, referred to
as black. On the other hand, Tiger
Woods – the multiracial poster child –
has continued to correct society’s
stubbornness to stamp him with a convenient
label. Eager, and sometimes
selectively ignorant, claims to his
identity as simply African-American
are rebuffed as he asserts his
“Caublinasian” background – and
rightly so. Embracing or rejecting
certain labels appears to test one’s
allegiance to the minority community,
as names were inherently created to
divide and separate individuals.
Regardless, with acknowledging only
a single aspect of one’s essence, the
other is essentially erased. However,
the future of racial classification lies
in the extension of social boundaries
and the denial of simply being a token
representation at the convenience of
Mixed heritage people and families
are not a novel phenomenon in the
U.S. As early as 1641 there were laws
that prohibited sex or marriage
between races in the American
colonies, laws that were upheld for
over three centuries. The U.S.
Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia
(1967) finally struck down all laws
banning miscegenation. The first time
that Americans were officially able to
record their true mixed heritage was
through the option of checking multiple
boxes on Census 2000. About
seven million people took advantage
of this new classification, furnishing a
more accurate reflection of the national
demographic. One in every forty
Americans was registered as belonging
to two or more racial groups; sociologists
predict that this ratio could
soar to one in five Americans by the
year 2025. And yet, despite this
national mixed race baby boom, few
people are aware of the unique needs
of this rapidly growing community.
Being able to choose a combination
of up to six different categories of
races, including “Other,” on the census
indicates that people can now officially
recognize the mixing of racial backgrounds
in American society. With a
continued increase in immigration and
interracial marriage, the multiracial
population is moving America far
beyond the black and white dichotomy.
Racial divisions may be weakening,
but they are not irrelevant. New color
lines may be emerging – the old blackwhite
divide is being replaced with a
new black- non-black sentiment. Yet
and still, the lines are becoming harder
to draw; the future of ethnicity as the
source of identity will be based on the
diversity of individuals as opposed to
the diversity of groups.
It is necessary to acknowledge that
those two students who were able to
channel their discomfort with the current
social situation at their school created
a pioneering organization. There
are too many individuals who are
silently being suppressed by racial
pressures who are just looking for a
means for change. It is crucial to
maintain a peer support group among
minorities to make sure that their
unique perspectives and identity are
not lost to societal pressure and assimilation.
Part of the growth of this population
is from a newfound willingness
to report their multicultural backgrounds,
which is a radical step considering
the country’s historical context
and the existence of the “one-drop
rule.” There are major improvements
needed in the individual and in the
home; but through positive representations
in the media, work place and
school environment, the more personal
problems will be less severe. In
America, we are usually taught that
change comes from within, but that
does not mean anything if one does not
have money or even the possibility of a
successful career. Point being: socioeconomics
also play a huge role in
implementing certain programs and
acquiring support. It is important to
see how minorities view mixed people
as well. Some civil rights groups did
continued from page 16
See Millennium, continued on page 18
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 18
not advocate for more than one box on
the census form due to concerns about
potential loss in their memberships,
reducing the effectiveness of programs
aimed at helping minorities. Either
way, it is a new perspective and a
name that might draw people in.
Mixed race individuals are neither
new nor unique to The George
Washington University or Washington,
DC. There is a need for national
recognition in the United States and for
the acknowledgment and representation
of multiracial heritage. An
increasingly diverse composition
reflects a clear and perpetual blending
of races and shifting of color lines.
The actions that the multicultural community
takes today are pivotal because
we are the physical embodiment of
racial harmony. We are the microcosm
of the future.
Jennifer Butler is a senior at the The
George Washington University, studying
Political Science and Socio-
Cultural Anthropology. She is a New
York native who grew up in a biracial
continued from page 17
household that celebrated Norwegian
and African American culture. These
influences have led her to become
President of the Racially and
Ethnically Mixed Student Association
at GWU. Upon graduating in May
2007, she looks to explore legal
aspects behind cultural relations in
Washington, DC and to continue to be
an active member of the multicultural
(send comments to
• Butler foresees that “the future of ethnicity
as a source of identity will be
based on the diversity of individuals
as opposed to the diversity of
groups.” Do you agree, and if so,
what are the implications?
• What is the future of mixed race
recognition and racial categorization?
Will multi-ethnicity itself be a new
source of identity – especially in this
era of rapid change that motivates
some people to cling to their “tribe”
(ethnic group) for a sense of identity
and stability?
• What is the future of “us-them”
dichotomization (counterpoint-based
identity) that underlies ethnic, religious,
and political strife today, and
throughout history – and with what
implications for partisan politics in the
next decade?
• Many people have referred to the US
as a “melting pot” in which immigrants
of various traditions and customs
intermingle and lose their native
cultures, at least in terms of their
everyday experiences. Another
descriptor, more recent, is the “salad
bowl,” in which diverse cultures and
ethnicities live amongst one another
in harmony but maintain their individual
identities. At the same time, the
US has developed its own business
culture and mainstream lifestyle (see
other “points for the classroom,” this
issue). What is the future of various
cultural traditions, values, and
lifestyles in the US and elsewhere?
In addition, which will prevail in your
part of the world in 2020 – cultural
clashes, deculturation, or cultural
• Butler’s article refers to socioeconomics.
Will other cultures bring new
“ladders of success” and concepts of
prosperity that are alternatives to the
mainstream US business culture –
especially considering other longterm
challenges to present ways of
life (challenges that futurists are
quick to point out)?
WFS President
continued from page 2
Constant change is our new global
status quo. As we enter the 21st
Century, new work patterns, the emergence
of capitalism in unexpected
places, the evolving urban environment
etc. are changing many cultural patterns.
Change in culture and changes in
how people work and play have often
been driven by advances in technology.
Migration from countryside to city
transformed many peasants into working
class. Previously partners in agricultural
work, many urban women
were subsequently constricted to more
limited work roles or homemaking and
childrearing as primary tasks. Last century’s
industrial revolution put work at
the center of social arrangements; free
time became what was left over. Many
of the same forces that are driving
changes in the way business and government
organizations function are
also reshaping culture.
In the marketplace, individuals
now have many more options as to
what products and services they will or
will not use and how they will live
their lives, and the rate at which these
options grow is accelerating. Many elderly
citizens value convenience and
want appropriate facilities. Modern cultural
movements have been launched to
minimize the urban sprawl and car culture
that characterize urban culture.
There seems little doubt that time
has become a more scarce resource in
modern society. Historians argue that a
speed-up of life has occurred since the
middle of the eighteenth century.
Social acceleration is not a steady
process, but evolves in waves (most
often brought about by new technologies
or forms of socioeconomic organization)
with each new wave meeting
considerable resistance as well as partial
reversals. Rosa has identified the
types of acceleration that take place in
a society as:
1. Technological acceleration—speeding
up of intentional, goals-directed
processes of transport, communication
and production.
2. Acceleration of social change—
acceleration of society itself. The
underlying idea is that rates of
change themselves are changing.
Thus, attitudes and values as well as
fashions and lifestyles, classes, or
milieus, social languages as well as
the forms of practice and habits are
said to change at ever increasing
3. Acceleration of the pace of life—the
See WFS President, continued on page 19
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 19
WFS President
continued from page 18
compression of actions and experiences
in everyday life. Measuring
the acceleration of the pace of life,
Rosa contends, can be done subjectively
by measuring individual
experiences of time or objectively.
This leads to measurable contractions
of the time spent on definable
episodes or units of action such as
sleeping, eating, going for a walk.
Acceleration implies doing more
things in less time.
Modern society is starving for
lack of time. ‘Rushing’, of course, is a
complex term and there are many situations
in which rushing would be
functional. If your house is on fire,
you should rush out of the building; if
a mugger is chasing you, run away; if
the wind blows your hat across the
field, rush after it. As a way of life,
however, rushing doesn’t sound very
The term ‘time deepening’
assumes that, under pressure of
expanded interest and compulsion,
people are capable of higher rates of
‘doing.’ Rather than thinking of
behavior in ‘either-or’ terms, people
develop the capacity to do both activity
A and activity B. Time deepening
occurs in four ways. People may
attempt to speed up a given activity.
Individuals may substitute a leisure
activity that can be done more quickly
for one which takes longer. A person
may do more than one activity at
once. Someone may undertake a
string of activities with little tolerance
in the schedule.
Time deepening, while it may
have some advantages in terms of
accomplishment, can produce significant
stress. The ability to relax and
relieve such stress is positively associated
with reducing a variety of health
risks, from high blood pressure to
headaches and backaches to diabetes
to depression to heart attack.
Certainly there is a connection to what
most call the ‘quality of life.’ As a
cultural counterforce, the growth of
interest in health, spirituality and creative
“right-brain” skills across the
globe appears to balance the ‘time
deepening’ phenomenon. As well, the
increase in globalization-driven government
and business transparency
appears to portend cultural changes in
each country it touches. International
trade and investment dynamics are
reshaping and transforming many
countries’ culture, economy, lifestyle
choices – and these transformations are
shaped in part through the growth of
digital technology and transportation
efficiency and connectivity.
A central issue is how technology,
digital and otherwise, does in fact
shape the cultural direction of a country.
Such a discussion requires both an
understanding of how technology of
various types influences culture (as
well as economies, markets and political
structures) and an understanding of
what cultural goals are desirable for the
health and future vitality of a nation.
In the transportation arena, China
has made policy decisions which favor
an ‘automobile and highway’ system of
transportation, rather than the ‘bicycle
to train’ system which has been used in
India with some success. This decision
may mean that the number of automobiles
in the world overall will increase
dramatically. If the Chinese model their
travel patterns after the United States,
China could be the world’s largest auto
market within the next 15 years, and
perhaps the world’s most polluted
country. While not as pervasive as the
impact of digital technologies, choices
concerning energy, transportation and
other lifestyle-related areas work interactively
with communications and
ubiquitous connectivity to shape the
cultural character of a country.
And technology is not the only
driver of change….just as powerful is
the impact of demographics. Japan is
in a transition in which the percentage
of its population age 65 and over has
grown from 7.1 percent in 1970 to a
projected 33.2 percent in 2040.
Comparable percentages for Germany
are a growth from13.8 percent to 30.9
percent. Declining birth rates, in combination
with rapid aging, will mean a
transformed labor force.
On a macroeconomic level, labor
is becoming relatively scarce in the
more rapidly aging countries, while
capital becomes relatively more abundant.
This precipitates changes in the
relative price of labor, will lead to
higher capital intensity, and might generate
large international flows of labor,
capital and goods. Thus, an older “resident”
population and a much younger
and usually less educated “immigrant”
population may exist in many countries,
even developing nations. Puerto
Rico will have more Dominicans,
Australia more Indonesians, Sweden
more Turks, and Canada more
Chinese. Even Iceland, whose policies
consciously seek to minimize immigration,
is experiencing more immigrants
from Thailand and elsewhere.
Accordingly, the ‘culture’ of these
countries will be strongly affected by
this influx of new influences.
Divergent demographic trends, the
globalization of labor markets, and
political instability and conflict will
fuel a dramatic increase in the global
movement of people through 2015.
Legal and illegal migrants now
account for more than 15 percent of
the population in more than 50 countries.
These numbers will grow substantially
and will increase social and
political tension and perhaps alter
national identities, even as they contribute
to demographic and economic
dynamism. The top fifth of the
world’s people now have 86 percent of
the gross domestic product and the
bottom fifth about one percent. In part
as a result of these transformative
immigration patterns, the line between
crime and war is disappearing and, as
that happens, low-intensity conflicts of
attrition will largely replace wars
fought along traditional lines.
While it is often assumed by
English speakers that English has
become the international unifying language,
the percentage of the world’s
people who speak English is declining,
constituting about 7.6 percent of the
world’s population. Indeed, all Western
languages in combination are spoken
See WFS President, continued on page 21
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 20
The future hides many different
uncertainties. The combination of
large numbers of variables will determine
final shape of the cultural environment
of 2025. For those of us who
like to focus on the long view of the
future, but can only pretend to see
some possible developments in the
range of twenty to fifty, and maybe
hundred years, 2025 may appear to be
not far enough away for a futuristic
exercise. On the other hand, the events
before 2025 pretty much will determine
the shape of the rest of the century.
So, by looking to drivers that will
determine the cultural environment by
2025, we may describe the potential
future of not only twenty years from
now, but far beyond.
There is a common future for all
cultures, and that common future will
be determined by many different factors.
In the political arena, the world is
left with one sole superpower, the
United States, but the system of international
relations is still run by numerous
players, and even the sole superpower
is not capable of dominating the
world. The war in Iraq first of all has
a cultural consequence. The US managed
to weaken itself by entering into
the campaign without a deep understanding
of the cultural environment of
the country it was invading. So the
cultural consequence requires an indepth
analysis. The war in Iraq is an
ideological war, and one can not win
ideological war without understanding
the cultural environment of the operational
theater. There is no doubt that
the US is still the world’s most powerful
nation militarily, and it has no
match in that regard. But other forces,
Revolution of Traditionalism:
Look at Future
Mamuka Tsereteli,
Executive Director
of the America-
Georgia Business
Council and part
time faculty member
at George
Washington and
Universities in
Washington, D.C.
both traditional and nontraditional
ones, cannot be disregarded and some
of them will play increasing roles in
the years to come. The world’s security
environment is greatly influenced
by newly emerged powerful actors
such as terrorist and transnational
criminal groups that affect the politics,
the cost of business, economic development,
and international trade. The
other feature of the modern strategic
context is the fact that in a globalized
and interconnected world, there are no
distant or isolated threats, although
geographical proximity to problematic
areas increases the threat levels.
Here are some other common features
of cultural environment influencing,
and determining the common
• A growing population of the developing
world, coupled with growing
demand for food, water, and energy.
• An aging population in Western
countries, and particularly in Europe,
along with a diminishing workforce
and a changing demographic composition,
that will affect the military
capabilities, market structures, and
labor and service requirements.
• HIV/AIDS and other diseases that
will significantly affect the demographics
of many countries and
regions of the world, including
Russia and Eastern Europe, China,
and Africa.
• A growing demand for energy by the
U.S., China, and India and the growing
dependence on imported energy
resources in those countries, along
with growing competition for energy
sources among leading powers.
• Resources and markets are generally
located far away from each other.
The high mobility of goods, people,
capital and information creates a different
type of economic environment,
where access to those factors of production
is more important than political
control over territory. Hence global
economic competition for access
to resources will continue to be the
important driving force for international
• The world will experience the greater
penetration of the Anglo-Saxon business
and media culture, and we may
see different type of cultural reaction
to it in different parts of the world.
• Information flow and new means of
communication bring “culture of
action” closer around the world.
Although the messages of the Al
Jazeera are somewhat different from
the messages of the CNN or Fox,
the culture of delivering the messages
(“press culture”) is all the
• Technology is a critical element of
competitiveness, and the education
is the key to technological advancement
and to the quality of human
capital, so that both technology and
education are key factors of the
international economic system,
affecting security.
The world is experiencing the
beginning of the revolution of traditionalism,
driven by radical forces.
Today the revolution of traditionalism
is visible in US, where evangelical
Christians and other religious groups
based on traditional values, are playing
increasing roles in the broader societal
life and are actively challenging moral
values of the media- and Hollywooddriven
mainstream America. We have
to assume that this process will
deepen and by 2025 we may see more
radical clashes between two dominant
groups, which in turn may have a profound
effect on the cultural environment
in the US. The predominant feature
of the cultural environment in US
will be less tolerance between the
rival ideological groups, but no dominance
will be achieved by any of those
groups and some balance will be maintained.
This revolution of traditionalism is
more visible in Muslim countries, primarily
because of the events of recent
years, including 9/11 and the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan. The anti-
See Revolution, continued on page 21
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 21
by only about one out of five people in
the world. By 2025, 50 percent of the
Christian populations will be in Africa
and Latin America, and another 17 percent
in Asia. This trend has already
occurred in Catholicism, where Euro-
Americans are the minority in global
terms, another significant shift in cultural
While tourism has massive
impacts on the local economy, environment
and culture in which it takes
place, these impacts are just beginning
to be understood. Even theories of
tourism reflect this uncertainty, viewing
tourism in a variety of lights: as a
form of play, or imperialism, as relations
among strangers, as a search for
the authentic, as a form of economic
development, as a means of promoting
understanding and world peace, and as
a postmodern phenomenon that diminishes
both ideology and sense of place.
Most tourism in the world continues
to be mass tourism—that which is
done using travel agents, tourist hotels,
standardized “packages of travel, lodging
and sometimes transportation.” In
such experiences, travelers never get
too far outside their “cultural bubble.”
Ecotourism, however, which, while
hard-to-define, includes rural tourism,
heritage/cultural tourism, nature-based
tourism, and adventure/experiencebased
tourism, and even ‘poverty
tourism’ has been experiencing growth
in excess of mass tourism. The
International Ecotourism Society
defines ecotourism as “responsible
travel to natural areas that conserves
the environment and improves the
well-being of local people.”
The biggest group of tourists, and
still growing, is older people. The
World Tourism Organization has projected
that tourism will continue to
grow dramatically with East Asia,
Southeast Asia and the Middle East
experiencing faster growth rates than
other, more established tourism
regions of the world, while Europe
will decline comparatively.
As the globalization process –
enabled by advances in digital technology
– goes forward, the complexity
and unfamiliarity of the world around
us might prove overwhelming to some
groups and individuals. In response,
understanding of the dynamics of cultural
change, the options, and the values
that should be preserved will be
critical in guiding change and making
wise choices for the future. New technology
is very often driven by innovation
and imagination. Awakening the
imagination can be a time-consuming
process, and while the business world
continues to mover faster and faster,
innovative ideas are often found by
WFS President
continued from page 19
slowing down, stepping away, and
allowing time to reflect. It is also clear
that the open market system alone cannot
provide enough shape and form to
a set of optimal futures for any country.
There is considerable survey evidence
that the global public is beginning
to recognize the downside of
open-ended consumption.
As the digital and technological
cross-fertilization of cultures continues,
values will continue to play a central
role in the satisfaction of those
affected by these changes. There is a
strong case to be made that it is consummation
rather than consumption
that people increasingly seek, i.e. taking
pleasure to an achievable degree of
intensity, and not just having more
things, money or free time. Of course,
there are always counter trends in cultural
dynamics. It is very likely than
both developing and developed cultures
will continue to reject the message
of ‘enough’ as long as there is
economic inequality and people struggling
to come out of poverty who have
not tasted satiety.
The challenge for the 21st
Century will be how to balance the
increasing clash of cultures, the
impacts of technology, the demands of
environmental stability and the need
for viable economic growth. This will
be no easy task. The goal is making
sense and meaning out of a complex
set of forces and how they interact to
form unique futures.
continued from page 20
Americanism and anti-Western feelings
are on the surface, but deep inside
we see the greater cultural solidarity
between different Muslim states and
revival of religious, as well as traditional
values. The pressure from the
West, as well as from Shia Iran, will
cause greater Sunni consolidation. It is
natural to assume that ideas of radical
Muslim groups to create a Sunni
Caliphate will be gaining the ground.
The process may have some resistance
in secular circles, but most of the
moderate citizens of the Muslim countries
are not happy with the rule of
corrupt dominant political elites, so
they are for change and that increases
the constituency for radical forces.
The only serious resistance may come
from those who are in power and face
the challenge of losing both power and
wealth. The case of Iran of 1979
shows that the strength of these
regimes, and level and effectiveness of
support from their Western (i.e. US)
allies should not be exaggerated.
At the same time, the case of
Dubai shows that very traditional
Muslim cultural environments can coexist
with one of the best Westernstyle
business environment in the
world. So, by 2025 we may see the
Dubai economic model and Al Jazeera
media model spreading around the
Muslim world, creating traditional
value based societies, but economically
more competitive and effective,
thus creating the base for different
type of Caliphate.
The ongoing revolution of the traditionalism
in Russia is completely
ignored by the outside world. The
Western world is hardly aware, and
clearly doesn’t understand the internal
dynamics of Russia. President Putin
See Revolution, continued on page 22
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 22
continued from page 21
See Revolution, continued on page 23
revived the nationalism as a major ideology
of the country. Historically
Russia was a nationalistic state and
empire. Even in the Soviet times,
when the need emerged with the invasion
by the Nazi Germans, Stalin
changed his Soviet/Bolshevik rhetoric
to a Nationalistic and Traditionalistic
one. In the first day of the invasion he
approached the Soviet population with
the term Brothers and Sisters, instead
of comrades, thus emphasizing the
nature of the events and setting up the
context for dealing with them. It is not
an accident that the war was immediately
given the name of Second
Patriotic War, the first one being the
invasion by Napoleon in the 19th century
during the rule of Emperor
Alexander the First. President Putin
came to power exploiting nationalistic
feelings of Russians against the
Chechen independence movement, and
that rhetoric set up the stage for two
parallel process: one is the emergence
of radical and aggressive nationalistic
movements, much stronger than
before, that target minorities in the
streets, as well as public life of Russia;
the second is the emergence of the
stronger and more mainstream traditionalistic
forces, who still see the
future of Russia as a powerful state
that is in charge of the developments
at least in its immediate neighborhood,
if not far beyond. Unfortunately, there
is a big probability that this may be
not a smooth process.
The powerful revolution of the
traditionalism will most probably take
place in Europe. There are many signs
that this is coming, and it will require
the huge effort to avoid the radicalization
of the process, if it is possible at
all. The signs of this upcoming revolution
are the recent referenda on the
European Union (EU) constitution in
France and the Netherlands; the
European reaction on the Turkish bid
for EU membership; the increased
anti-immigration movements in all
countries and the fact that most of the
immigrants are not integrated in the
mainstream societies and are greatly
separated culturally; and increased
European divide between “old” West
and “young” East, where France and
Germany lead the West, and Poland
and Baltic states lead the East.
The myth of Europe as one nation
is under serious threat of being reconsidered.
Most European nation-states
experience a substantial growth of
nationalism. The mistrust in the huge,
slow and ineffective EU bureaucracy
is a major contributing factor. Most of
the developed countries have growing
societal problems, including crime and
tense inter-ethnic relations, which are
related to the isolation of their immigrant
populations. Unfortunately, in
many countries a public discussion on
these issues is a taboo. As a result,
these societal problems evolve into
cultural problems, affecting the mindset
of both the local and the immigrant
population, with long-term consequences
for both.
The only region that may not be
experiencing the revolution of the traditionalism
today, is Pacific Asia,
because they are and always were culturally
traditional and they managed to
avoid the radicalization of either end,
although potential still exists for the
radicalization in Communist China, if
economic growth slows down and
opportunities are no longer there to
meet expectations of the broader societal
The cultural environment of the
world in 2025 will most probably be
more traditional than today. The revolution
of traditionalism may fail, meaning
that traditionalism may not take the
lead in most of the countries of the
world. At the same time it will leave a
very profound trace on the world’s cultural
environment. And despite the
penetration of the Western type mass
culture in every corner of the world,
the language, religion and traditions
will have larger roles to play with some
serious consequences for both national
and supra-national structures. The most
important results of this ongoing revolution
in the long run will be:
• A greater European divide and subsequent
strengthening of the nationstates
in Europe;
• A more radical internal divide in the
United States, with the potential for
serious reduction of the US role in
the world affairs;
• Greater potential for the creation of
the spiritual, if not the actual political,
Sunni Muslim Caliphate in the
Middle East;
• Substantial radicalization in Eurasia,
where processes described above, as
well as internal and external conflicts
of Russia and the increased
role of China will have the greatest
These are only the few of the
potential futures that may result from
the new, but ever evolving cultural
environment in the world by 2025.
Mamuka Tsereteli is the executive
director of the America-Georgia
Business Council and part time faculty
member at George Washington and
American Universities in Washington,
D.C. His areas of interests include
multidisciplinary strategic analysis,
economic and energy security, business
environment and development.
(send comments to
• Tsereteli identifies several consequences
of the revolution of traditionalism.
What possible additional consequences
can you identify?
• The article states that there will be
less tolerance between rival ideological
groups in the US. At the same
The powerful revolution
of the traditionalism will
most probably take
place in Europe. There
are many signs that this
is coming, and it will
require the huge effort to
avoid the radicalization
of the process, if it is
possible at all.
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 23
time, cultural relativism (increased
acceptance of and respect for other
cultures) is gaining ground in some
places. If intolerance prevails, will it
be based primarily on identity, or will
it be a “veneer” for underlying issues
such as socioeconomic disadvantage
and disenfranchisement?
• Certain factors favor the establishment
of a Caliphate, observes
Tsereteli, who further discusses
alternative possibilities for the
Caliphate. However, the Middle East
has been characterized by intertribal
strife for more than two thousand
years. Which will prevail, “fusion” or
continued “fission”?
• More generally, given the independence
movements in Chechnya
(Russia), Quebec (Canada),
Scotland (the United Kingdom), the
Kurds (Turkey) – and the contrasting
experiences of the former
Czechoslovakia, the former
Yugoslavia, and the European
Community – is “fission” or “fusion”
the wave of the future, and why?
• Tsereteli refers to the US as the sole
superpower. Considering all instruments
of national power – economic,
diplomatic, and military – and the
increasing role of non-state actors,
will the US continue to be the sole
superpower in 2018?
• Tsereteli considers the possibility of
reactions to the penetration of Anglo-
Saxon business and media culture
into other parts of the world.
Concurrently, there are traditionalist
backlashes against this business
and media culture, even in the US.
Will this prevailing culture be displaced
by a new one, complete with
new values and lifestyles – and if so,
in what timeframe?
• What underlying factors are driving
the revolution of traditionalism, within
diverse nations and cultures, that
Tsereteli discusses?
Disenchantment with the present
socio-political-economic system or
value system? Nostalgia? A search
for identity?
continued from page 22
The Armenian people and culture
trace back to pre-Biblical times. The
nation of Armenia, however, is a rather
recent birth, celebrating its independence
between 1923 and 1925, and then
again in 1991. Throughout their history,
Armenians have rooted themselves
in the Christian faith, proudly exclaiming
to be the first nation to accept
Christianity as a state religion in 301
AD. This connection to their church
can be accredited, in part, to the
Armenian survival through years of
suffering, genocide, religious wars,
migration, and communism. In addition
to their faith, their emphasis on
food, family values, language, literature,
music, and icons have kept the
Armenian spirit strong. This article
will touch on each of these aspects, but
Armenia By Karinne’ Hovnanian & Emanuel Mkrtchian
Co-Presidents, Armenian Student Network
The George Washington University, Washington DC, USA
Armenia, a country within the landscapes of Western
Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, is a land rich
with an ancient heritage and mystical beauty.
something incredible to consider when
reading is that these descriptions are
not limited to those Armenians living
in the modern Republic of Armenia,
but rather they pertain to almost all
Armenians living in the world, a community
called the Armenian Diaspora.
Being such a close-knit culture as
Armenia is, community has helped
these traditions survive, just as the
Armenian people survived through
times past. And while we seem to be
in a state of globalization, where there
is an interaction between Western and
Armenian ideas through such things as
building golf courses in the countryside
or the recent booming of restaurants
and luxury hotels in a financially
struggling Armenia, there is still firm
footing in the traditions and values of
the Armenian people. This footing
lies in preserving an appeal for traditional
home cooked meals over habitually
eating out, which is more western
in nature. In addition, Armenians
prefer customary hobbies such as
playing backgammon or chess
because these practices are more relevant
to their heritage.
Upon every introduction to an
Armenian, food is often the first base
to cover: are you hungry? Traditional
Armenian cuisine is unchanged from
times past, sharing roots with
Mediterranean and Middle Eastern
foods. Armenian menus have had cultural
exchange with traditions of their
neighboring peoples (e.g. Turkish,
Greek, Lebanese, and Russian).
Armenia has also been known for
their sweet wine and famous brandy
from the Ararat Cognac company that
has been distributed worldwide. Aside
from their wine and brandy, a large
portion of Armenia’s internal economy
revolves around farming and livestock.
A traditional Armenian meal
may include foods like dolma (cabbage,
eggplant, tomatoes, or grape
leaves stuffed with ground beef,
onions, rice, oil, and lemon), lavash,
cheese, khoravadz (barbecued lamb or
pork, sliced vegetables), onions and
parsley, tan (yogurt drink with mint
and cucumbers, sometimes with garlic
if from Mediterranean traditions), and
fresh fruit or baklava for dessert. With
tan, another staple beverage at the
table might be Jermuk which is carbonated
water from the Jermuk region
of Armenia, also referred to as “medicinal
water.” Fresh fruits of Armenia,
depending on the season, may include
apricots, watermelon, cherries, and
tangerines. One of the unique attributes
to the Armenian tradition is that
similar to the ways in which cuisine
draws from different regions, also
varying in how food is prepared or
See Armenia, continued on page 24
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 24
continued from page 23
the ingredients of certain dishes, how
a meal is enjoyed remains constant.
The table is like the hearth of the
home for an Armenian family. For
example, a guest to an Armenian home
will be offered the dearest of dishes,
flavors, and hospitality as he eats with
the family at their table. Cooking is
something Armenians do well; but
they also eat well. Food is an experience,
and as the elders and older children
traditionally prepare the food in
the day with care and delicacy, the
family and guests enjoy the meal in
the evening graciously and slowly,
drawing out the time to be with loved
ones. Following dinner, as the dish of
fruit is put on the table, song and drink
come in celebration of another day of
The concept of family goes
beyond the biological relations that are
most commonly thought of when
referring to their family. In other
words, beyond the father and mother,
the children, and grandparents living
together in a home, there are familial
connections with those outside of a
home as well. Within an Armenian
community, neighbors or friends call
each other aghper or kouyro, brother
or sister respectively emphasizing the
close bond between them. Friends are
‘part of the family’ in a sense, endearingly
welcomed in with the use of the
word jan. Jan is another example of
something which is not solely
Armenian. Shared with the cultures of
Armenia’s neighbors, jan is a beautiful
way of addressing someone. As is part
of their nature, Armenians’ expression
of hospitality and acceptance is also
expressed through this term. However,
the specific nuances of the Armenian
language are unique to different communities
of Armenians in the Diaspora
and in Armenia.
There are two main dialects of the
Armenian language, commonly
referred to as “Western Armenian” and
“Eastern Armenian.” Western
Armenian comes predominately from
Armenian from Anatolia (modern-day
Turkey) and is spoken today by the
Diaspora and some northwestern
regions of Armenia, and Eastern
Armenian is the dialect spoken predominately
in modern-day Armenia.
The differences in the dialects are
found in the grammar and certain
word usage; Western Armenian drawing
more upon Greek, Turkish, and
Arabic structures or expressions, and
Eastern Armenian drawing more upon
Russian, due to Armenia being a member
of the Soviet Union for 75 years.
Today, however, the topic of language
shifts from knowing its origin to creating
ways of maintaining it. It is a challenge
for an Armenian living in
America, for example, to preserve fluency
or pass on his native tongue to
the next generation due to the imposing
“necessity” to speak English. Does
this pose a threat then to the stability
and traditions of the Armenian language?
As long as there is a sovereign
country of Armenia, the answer is no,
for the language cannot die away. The
Armenian language has its own alphabet
which was created by Mesrob
Mashdots in the year 405 AD. He was
also the same man who created the
Georgian and Ethiopian alphabets.
Now with the tools of a written alphabet,
the Armenian people flourished in
the art of manuscripts (Biblical stories
and pictures painted on animal skin),
literature, and documenting their faith,
transcribing the stories of the Bible.
Literature of Armenia began as
building a tangible collection of religious
stories. As time went on,
Armenians began to explore the art of
writing, putting on paper the elements
of struggle and oppression in their
lives. And as they continued to survive
and their spirits overcame the hardships
of life, they wrote of their pride
for their nation and aspirations of their
dreams. A few well-known authors
are: Khachatur Abovian (author of the
first Armenian novel), Gregory of
Narek (theologian, scholar, and author
of prayers), Yeghishe Charenz (poet),
and William Saroyan (Armenian-
American poet, novelist, icon for diasporans).
Having an alphabet truly kept
the Armenian traditions alive, for not
only was it a tool to write down centuries
of oral traditions, it also offered
a venue for minds to stretch out and
Armenia to become “published.”
Like many other aspects of
Armenian culture, music has played
and continues to play a significant
role in the daily living. Throughout
history, music, like faith, helped pull
Armenians through difficult times, but
such mournful music is not the only
melody heard from Armenia today.
While that music, which is often
recalled as “the songs my grandmother
sang,” will forever live in the hearts
and run through the blood of
Armenian people, there is experimentation
with a newer and Western
sound in music. Perhaps in the year
2025, Armenian musicians will still be
experimenting, but we must wonder
about the influence such rich melodies
could have on Western cultures. There
is sacred music (originally sung a cappella
by men in churches in order to
emphasize the natural acoustics), classical
music (operas, symphonies, etc.),
and secular music including traditional
folk tunes and modern “pop.” The
classical and secular songs speak of
love and patriotism, rejoicing for life
and remembering the past. Though
some music was westernized, adopting
the scales and instruments of
western music, folk music has
remained true to the Armenian sounds.
Such sounds are of pig-skin covered
hand drums similar to an African hand
drum (dumbeg), wooden stringed
instruments either bowed, plucked, or
strummed (kamancha, kanoon, and
oud respectively), reed instruments
(duduk and zourna), and if the folk
music is from Anatolia, there are often
zills (finger cymbals) played. To the
beat of the drum, the people dance to
their music often in lines connecting
to one another by arms on shoulders
or pinkie to pinkie. Women are traditionally
expected to move more grace-
See Armenia, continued on page 25
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 25
fully and fluidly drawing attention to
their hand and arm movements, while
men are expected to move with
greater focus on their legs and feet,
taking larger jumps than women.
Dancing tells the story of the song, so
often the songs which are danced to
are those which depict a romance.
There are dances only for the women,
dances only for the men, and dances
for everyone! When the dance is for
the women, they move gracefully like
a flower; but if the dance is for the
men, they clasp arms together and
will display a “band of brothers.” The
“band of brothers” stance has become
a strong symbol of Armenian pride of
standing on each others’ shoulders
once again clasping arms signifying a
victorious battle in the early 1900’s.
The strong structure of the “band
of brothers” stance is found not only
in dance but also in facets of
Armenian architecture, restating a
proud success. The land of Armenia is
full of mountains, but there are two
mountains which are gazed upon by
Armenians with hope: Ararat and
Masis. These two mountains are
found so often in the art, song, carpentry,
and handcrafts, and are also
thought to be the landing place of
Noah’s Ark. The pomegranate is held
to be God’s fruit in the hearts of the
Armenians, holding on average four
sections and almost as many seeds as
there are days of the year. This is a
special gift from God, in a sense, for
the Armenians. The empty cross is the
symbol of the Armenian faith. And the
peacock, with his colorful eye-painted
feathers, is seen often in manuscripts
with the eye representing a protection
from evil. But all of these things, in
conjunction with the food, family values,
language, literature, and music
help to create something deeper than
words. These things form an identity
which holds a spirit that unites
Armenians together around the world.
Perhaps this spirit is what has made it
possible for such a small, close-knit
culture to cover grounds in modern
medicine, athletics (soccer and
wrestling), media, business, and academia
with great stride.
(send comments to
• As Hovnanian and Mkrtchian point
out, Armenian traditions have survived
many challenges because
Armenia is a close-knit culture. In
this present era of rapid change,
globalization, etc. – will the traditions
of other close-knit peoples continue
to survive? If so, which ones?
• Will Armenian cuisine, leisurely
meals, and family time continue to
survive, or will it give way to the fastfood
culture – itself an infrastructure
for a fast-paced life – that is becoming
pervasive in various parts of the
world? What will enable Armenian
cuisine to withstand the challenges
presented by the fast-food culture?
(Also see similar question appended
to Minister-Counselor
Aleksandrovych’s article, this issue.)
• The extended family and sense of
community, alive and well in
Armenia, were once the norm in
other societies and nations including
the early US and various Native
societies. However, in several
nations today, fast-paced life has
taken its toll on family and community
life. Is the fast-paced society –
with its impact on family and community
life – a nearly-inevitable
future for all peoples? If not, where
else (in addition to Armenia) will the
extended family and sense of community
be found in 2025? In fastpaced
societies, will increased
longevity, in conjunction with a quest
for identity and stability, drive a
resurgence of family and community
life? And – do you envision a new
type of community yet to emerge?
Elaborate. (Also see similar question
on geographic community
appended to article by Vedin, this
• As Hovnanian and Mkrtchian indicate,
the Armenian language will live
as long as Armenia itself lives as a
sovereign nation. But elsewhere in
the world, what other presently-spoken
languages face extinction?
• Music – tribal, sacred, patriotic, traditional
folk tunes, modern “pop” –
which kinds of music will prevail in
Armenia in 2025? Which kinds will
migrate from Armenia to other
nations and regions?
• What factors will ensure the continued
survival of Armenian culture and
identity as some of the other peoples
in the world experience “deculturation”?
• Hovnanian and Mkrtchian refer to
“Armenian survival through years of
suffering…” Within the next 20
years, how will hardships influence a
people’s sense of identity, their values,
and their creative works – that
is, the arts? (Also see similar question
appended to Minister-Counselor
Aleksandrovych’s article, this issue.)
continued from page 24
Joint WFS Chapter –
Classroom Activities!
Students, Teachers,
and Professors – Get
The “discussion points”
appended to the articles and program
synopses published in
FUTUREtakes are excellent
launch pads for articles, commentary,
and joint WFS-classroom
research projects. Designed to
encourage original, interdisciplinary,
futurist thinking in the classroom,
these discussion points
instill an awareness of the pervasive
impacts that often result from
social, policy, and technology
developments, including unforeseen
Now circulated to various
other professional societies in the
greater Washington DC area and
to WFS chapters worldwide,
(futuretakes@cs.com) invites you
to join with us to facilitate publication
opportunities for forwardthinking
students and faculty in
your geographic area. Let us help
you grow the next generation of
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 26
The artifact of one year ending
and a new beginning has given
impetus to compilations of prevalent
trends, sometimes heralded as
megatrends or metatrends. Seven
trends, judged holding for a more
extended future, selected out of
about thirty, drawn from some ten
different sources, will be considered
here, sometimes interacting1.
They will be analyzed from a cultural
perspective, using professor
Geert Hofstede’s five cultural
dimensions, described on the basis
of his very informative web site2. They
will also be discussed from the perspective
of political and economic culture:
freedom of the press, civil liberties,
and (lack of) corruption.
The Hofstede3 Power Distance
Index tells of the extent to which less
powerful members of organizations
and institutions (like the family) accept
and expect power to be distributed
unequally. This represents inequality
defined from below, not from above,
suggesting that a society's inequality
level is endorsed by followers as much
as by leaders.
Individualism versus its opposite,
collectivism, is the degree to
which individuals are integrated into
groups. On the Individualist side we
find societies with loose ties between
individuals: everyone is expected to
look after him/herself and his/her
immediate family. On the collectivist
side, we find societies where people
from birth are integrated into strong,
cohesive in-groups, often extended
families/clans, which continue to protect
them in exchange for unquestioning
loyalty. Here the word 'collectivism'
carries no political meaning: it
refers to the group, not to the state.
Masculinity versus its opposite,
femininity, refers to the distribution of
gender roles, another fundamental
issue for a society. Studies have
revealed that (a) women's values differ
less among societies than men's; (b)
Culture vs.
Future’s Trends :
Bengt-Arne Vedin
Eskiltuna, Sweden
What trends are shaping whose future? One caveat
would be whether to consider, e.g., a European in an
aging society or an African in a country suffering from
the HIV plague. Another question would be how culture
might influence the trajectories of trends.
men's values from one country to
another contain a dimension from very
assertive and competitive, maximally
different from women's values, on the
one side, to modest and caring, similar
to women's values, on the other. The
assertive pole is called 'masculine' and
the modest, caring pole 'feminine.'
Women and men in feminine countries
have the same modest, caring values;
masculine countries show a gap
between their values.
The Uncertainty Avoidance
Index deals with a society's tolerance
for uncertainty and ambiguity. It indicates
to what extent a culture programs
its members to feel comfortable in
unstructured, novel situations.
Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to
minimize such situations by strict laws
and rules, safety and security measures,
and on a philosophical and religious
level by belief in absolute Truth.
Here people are more emotional, motivated
by inner nervous energy.
Uncertainty accepting cultures are
more tolerant of deviating opinions;
they try to have few rules, and on the
philosophical and religious level they
are relativists, allowing many currents
side by side. People are more phlegmatic
and contemplative, not expected
to express emotions.
Long-term Orientation versus
short-term orientation is a dimension
was found in a study among students
in 23 countries around the world, using
a questionnaire designed by Chinese
scholars. It can be said to deal with
Virtue regardless of Truth. Values associated
with Long-term Orientation are
thrift and perseverance; values associated
with Short-term Orientation are
respect for tradition, fulfilling social
obligations, and 'face-saving.'
The trends selected here were chosen
on their merits of being mentioned
frequently; having long-term impact;
and not being too much overlapping.
Some may seem tired, others surprising
maybe. For economy of space, the
awakening giants China and India are
compared with the industrialized
world, while potentially important
future players such as Indonesia,
Brazil, Russia, and the southern neighbor
to the US, Mexico, mostly are
Centers of economic activity are
shifting profoundly, regionally and
globally. As a consequence of economic
liberalization, capital market developments,
new technology, and demographic
change, the world is in the
process of massive economic activity
realignment. Some industries and functions
– manufacturing and IT services
come to mind – will shift the most.
The story is not simply the move to
Asia and the emergence of the world’s
two most populous countries, China
and India, but shifts within regions: in
Europe, automotive producers have
relocated substantial production volume
to previous Soviet bloc countries.
See Culture, continued on page 27
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 27
continued from page 26
Interestingly, the two Asian giants
display considerably different cultural
profiles, as measured by Hofstede.
China is very high on Long-term
Orientation, India much lower though
above world average. China is particularly
low on the Individualist score,
indicating a less entrepreneurial mindset.
Both countries are high on Power
Distance, and both offer contrasts to
the US, which is Individualist and low
on Power Distance. Two Chinese entities,
Hong Kong and Singapore, actually
lead in economic freedom4,
Taiwan a bit down but beating
Norway, Spain, and (easily) Japan, the
UK beating the US, and France found
quite a bit down the list. China is 112
and India just 118, both preceded by,
e.g., Egypt and Zambia. Taiwan has
the highest marks for civil liberties
and fares well on freedom of the
press. These figures tally broadly with
the set of economic freedom indicators
compiled by the Heritage
Foundation, weighing together a larger
number of factors, including property
rights and taxation5. The top countries
on that list merit mentioning: Hong
Kong, Singapore, Australia, the US,
New Zealand, the UK, and Ireland,
while Italy, e.g., is way down.
Technological connectivity is
transforming people’s ways of living
and interacting: it is more about people
than technology and we are only at
the beginning. People will work
instantaneously as well as globally.
Reportedly, we do about a billion
Google searches a day (a contested
figure; anyhow, the number increases
monthly by 20 per cent), more than
half in languages other than English.
Geography is no longer a constraint
for social and economic organization.
This connectivity also comprehends
pervasive computing implying communicating
things, sometimes directly
with other things.
‘Growing up digital’ seems to be
associated with a strong entrepreneurial
tendency6. This would benefit the
US, which is high on Individualism
and low on Uncertainty Avoidance;
Catholic countries are high on uncertainty
avoidance with Ireland as an
exception (the Philippines is another);
Australia and Britain almost tie with
the US, with Canada, the Netherlands,
and Italy a bit further down. For connectivity
to mean more than just technology,
not only language proficiency
but also cultural “ability” is a must.
Universal, often free access to
information will change the economics
of knowledge. While knowledge is
increasingly easily available it is also
turning more specialized.
Organizations need to learn how to
leverage this new knowledge universe
– and avoid drowning in a flood of
information. The transformation is,
however, more profound than simply
broad access. New models for knowledge
production, distribution, access,
and ownership are emerging, such as
the organizing of knowledge communities.
We are seeing the rise of opensource
approaches to knowledge
development where often communities,
not individuals, become responsible
for innovation. But open source
and similar developments are not
restricted to computer software; a
German enthusiast is working on an
open source car, a group with concern
for the environment engages in better
open source energy consumption monitors,
and extreme sports enthusiasts
share designs freely which are better
than those sold commercially.
If we regard press freedom as a
proxy for free access to knowledge,
the US and Germany show the highest
rank among larger countries7. China is
conspicuously low on this factor (135
out of 150 countries), India much
higher (49, ahead of, e.g., Brazil).
World Audit made those rankings,
providing a list where “democracy” is
composed of press freedom and level
of corruption. The Economist
Intelligence Unit also produces a
democracy ranking8, somewhat different
from World Audit’s, characterizing
China as “authoritarian,” India as a
“flawed democracy,” high on civil liberties
(9.41 on The Economist’s scale
to 10 though just 3 out of 7 on World
Audit’s), China very low (6 on World
Audit’s scale from 1 to 7, 1.18 on The
There are two aspects to this
trend, one concerned with organizational
governance, one with transactions.
The Internet has been associated
with a potential flawless matching
between supply and demand, and complete
consumer, customer, or user
power. On-line consumers are skilled
at bargaining and organize communities
to share experiences and advice.
With digital cameras and videophones
more powerful, reviews of anything
will be multimedia, in real time and on
the spot, implying ever-shorter gaps
between a consumer experience (good
or bad) and the rest of the world conscious
of it. The sheer mass of reviews
will lead to daily and, well, hourly
reviews on just about any topic. Web
postings will unmask, outnumber, and
neutralize any fake reviews posted by
those trying to piggyback on the powers
of transparency.
Here again, the argument about
freedom of expression applies. For
governance, less corruption equates
with better functioning markets and
straightforward accountability. The US
gets a rather low Economist score for
functioning of government (France an
even lower, not to mention Italy),
lower than India; China much lower
altogether. By contrast, in World
Audit’s corruption ranking, India and
China tie for 57nd place (with Mexico,
Brazil, and Egypt also). And by
Heritage’s estimate, as well as
Transparency International’s9, Italy is
comparably corrupt, much more than
Spain; on this figure, small countries
like Finland and New Zealand shine,
among larger countries, the UK.
The unprecedented aging of populations
across the developed world will
call for new levels of public sector
efficiency and creativity – and as
growing prosperity associates with
See Culture, continued on page 28
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 28
longer life and less fecundity, demographics
are changing profoundly.
Public sector activities risk ballooning,
making productivity gains crucial.
Lacking productivity gains, pension
and health care burdens threaten to
make taxes suffocating. The problem
is not restricted to developed
economies: emerging-market governments
will have to decide what level
of social services to provide to citizens
who increasingly demand stateprovided
health and retirement support.
Here, several considerations come
into play. Certain cultures, notably
those with Confucian origins, hold
their elderly in high esteem.
Femininity rather than Masculinity is
associated with caring and humane
concerns, see below. A low Hofstede
indicator of Individualism, pointing to
its opposite collectivism as defined
above, would guarantee family or clan
support for the ageing – again, China.
On the other hand, that country is seeing
its demographic balance10 tilting
drastically towards a smaller support
base, in contrast to India. The US see
a comparably favorable demographic
development, while countries such as
Italy and Spain are in for serious trouble
(possibly solved through massive
migration?), not to speak of Russia.
Demand for natural resources will
grow, as will the concomitant strain on
the environment. As economic growth
accelerates – particularly in emerging
markets – we will be using natural
continued from page 27
resources at unprecedented rates. Oil
demand is projected to grow by 50 per
cent in the next twenty years, and
without large new discoveries or radical
innovation supply won’t be sufficient.
We are seeing similar surges in
demand across a range of commodities.
In China, for example, demand
for copper, steel, and aluminum has
nearly tripled in the last decade, sending
the world’s steel prices through the
roof. With the world's resources constrained,
water shortages in particular
will be the key obstacle to growth,
indeed to survival, in many countries.
And one of our scarcest, and plainly
essential, natural resources – the
atmosphere – will require dramatic
shifts in human behavior to be saved
from further depletion. Innovation in
technology, regulation, and resource
utilization will be central to creating a
world that can drive
robust economic
growth while sustaining
concerns would tend to
receive more attention
in cultures with a
Long-term Orientation,
though many observers
underline that it is
already a short-term
concern. This is also
one where the Hofstede femininity
caring values might be seen as coming
into play. Japan is very high on its
opposite, Masculinity, and here the
US, Germany, and Italy are also well
above world average. China and India
are about average, South Korea substantially
under as are most Muslim
countries and Spain, with the
Scandinavian countries being spectacularly
low on this dimension.
This trend is the odd one out: nanotechnology,
whose consequences will
play out in full only in the very long
term – but then affecting society profoundly.
Those effects are still to a
large extent to be invented and felt but
here is the basic thrust: traditional
manufacturing will be turned on its
head. This starts out with raw materials
that are reduced to refined elements,
components, and assembled
products. As an industry or a technology
matures, economies of scale
become all important. By contrast,
nanotechnology is all about streamlined
assembly, atom by atom. It holds
out the promise of economies of small
scale, with neither pollution nor waste.
To a large extent, production may
move to the home, assemblers becoming
standard household appliances –
with the need for firms producing
these items as well as the concomitant
Here, the Hofstede indicators
point in two opposing directions.
Nanotechnology is a long-term
prospect and would thus benefit countries
like China and Japan. On the
other hand, the rise of new technologies
is most often associated with a
flourishing of entrepreneurship, thus
with American Individualism and also
well functioning markets. A technology
almost the opposite of traditional
industrial production might particularly
benefit regions less steeped in, less
locked into, such a mindset and more
anchored in either agriculture or services.
One might speculate about
regional relocation of economic
strength within the US, perhaps
Canada, and Australia, perhaps also on
the emergence of some really new
player such as Indonesia.
Hofstede’s work on culture has
been both praised and severely criticized12.
A materialist philosophy
would argue that values reflect
changes in reality – an idealist one that
values affect reality profoundly. The
reasoned compromise would be to
suggest an interaction; and that interaction,
in a globalized, universally
interconnected world would take place
not in isolated islets but on the scene
of the world. Thus culture would
affect how globalization is being
played out, thus political systems
might co-evolve with economic development.
But cultures are pervasive and
ingrained. The comparison between
See Culture, continued on page 29
One of our scarcest, and plainly essential,
natural resources – the atmosphere – will
require dramatic shifts in human behavior to
be saved from further depletion. Innovation
in technology, regulation, and resource utilization
will be central to creating a world
that can drive robust economic growth while
sustaining environmental demands.
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 29
Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan
versus China gives pause. So does the
fact that there is a sizable Chinese
diaspora in southeast Asia, so thrifty
that Malaysia has instituted a policy to
hold it back, and that ethnic Chinese
in several countries themselves have
felt the need to change their names to
“local” ones.
From a developmental perspective,
we might argue that it is one
thing catching up, another to take the
lead in opening up new frontiers:
Japan’s hectic growth followed by
stagnation and soul-searching about
lacking creativity and entrepreneurial
spirits – Individualism? Emerging
countries have the opportunity not
only to learn from more advanced
ones but also to leapfrog development.
Why invest in a wired telecommunications
infrastructure to be written off
over forty years when cellular telephony
is available (besides having profound
positive effects to the economy
at large13)?
One effect, possibly offsetting
demographic challenges in countries
like Italy and Spain, was mentioned
only in passing: mass migration. This
would most probably involve massive
movements from the southern and
eastern shores of the Mediterranean to
the northwest – bringing about more
meetings, or clashes, of cultures; playing
out well in Spain but not at all so
in Italy, judging from Hofstede’s indicators.
There is a trek from the south
into the US, and nations created by
immigrants like Canada and Australia
are still accommodating them.
The Heritage Foundation economic
freedom index contains factors such
as monetary, investment, financial
freedom, and labor. On the last point,
rigid labor laws are one reason for
India’s lagging China in productivity
growth14. In explanations to the rise of
nations such as Japan and Singapore,
systems and incentives for savings,
thus for investments, have been highlighted.
Forgoing consumption now for
investments in tomorrow would seem
to tally with Long-term Orientation. A
putative trend not covered here is the
massive buildup of the US federal
deficit, potentially giving other countries,
such as China, economic and
political leverage.
Mississippi isn’t California, and
India is a sub-continent, organized as a
federation, so both cultural and political
or regulatory regimes may vary
considerably. Hofstede describes it as
81 per cent Hindu but it is also host to
one of the world’s largest Muslim pop-
continued from page 28
ulations. China is centralized but with
large chasms in development levels,
creating profound social challenges.
The descriptions about Italy would be
contested, and rightly so, in Lombardy.
Transparency, connectivity, and
the global knowledge exchange are all
associated with the time dimension:
managing to live with instantaneity
might turn out to be the route to success.
Reacting rapidly – instantaneously,
thus short-term orientation? –
would depend upon intuition, which is
culturally programmed. Or it would
require a high degree of humility, femininity,
a keen understanding of the
cultural gaps that need to be respected,
possibly turning them into benefits.
Bengt-Arne Vedin is professor of
Innovation Management at
Mälardalen University’s Department
of Innovation, Design, and Product
Development in Eskilstuna, Sweden;
author of 69 books on innovation,
futures, and information technology in
various combinations; once Chairman
of the Swedish Society for Future
Studies; Member for Life of the World
Future Society; Fellow of the Royal
Swedish Academy of Engineering
Sciences and of the World Academy of
Art & Science.
(send comments to
• What additional cultural descriptors
would you add to Hofstede’s set of
• In terms of Hofstede’s five cultural
dimensions, what is the ”wave of the
future”? That is, in 2020, will more
people or fewer people expect power
to be distributed unequally – and on
what scale (community, workplace,
national)? Will individualism or collectivism
prevail, and how will that
impact one’s source of identity?
What about masculine vs. feminine
values – which will dominate in various
parts of the world in 2020? Let’s
not forget the uncertainty avoidance
index. In which regions will people
be more spontaneous, or less so?
More risk averse? More contemplative,
vs. more stimulation and diversion
1 McKinsey Quarterly: “Trends for 2006
revisited”; Snyder, D P: “Five Meta-Trends
Changing the World,” The Futurist July-
August 2004 pp. 22-27: http://www.
innovationlab.dk; http://www.
futureconceptlab.com/; Trendwatching.com;
www.trendhunter.com; www.pfsk.com;
Institute for the Future Ten Year Forecast
2 http://www.geert-hofstede.com/ copyrighted;
Hofstede’s book Culture’s
Consequences (Sage) is a profound read;
the different editions make for interesting
3 “The GLOBE project” has expanded
Hofstede’s dimensions to 18; Hofstede’s
comments may be reached from
4 http://www.worldaudit.org/
5 http://www.heritage.org/index/
6 Intuit future of small business report,
Institute for the Future, January 2007
7 http://www.worldaudit.org/democracy.htm
8 http://www.economist.com/media/pdf/
9 http://www.transparency.org/policy_
10 http://www.census.gov/ipc/www
11 Glazer, R: Business in the Nanocosm,
Harvard Business Review, February 2007
pp. 44-45
12 For a recent application including a summary
of the debate, see Soares, A M et al:
Hofstede's dimensions of culture in international
marketing studies, Journal of
Business Research, Vol. 60: 3, March 2007
pp. 277-284
13 Enriquez, L et al: The true value of
mobile phones to developing markets,
McKinsey Quarterly 8 February 2007;
Hofstede has also summed up the critique
14 http://www.tcf.or.jp/data/2006120607_
20060803india.pdf See Culture, continued on page 31
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 30
As the globe’s second largest and
second most populous continent,
Africa daily negotiates a gauntlet as it
wrestles with multiple images of its
future prospects. It is perilously poised
on the tightrope between grandiose
‘African Renaissance’ rhetoric on the
one side and excessive Afro-pessimism
on the other. At the epicentre
of this fault line lays the debate
around what and who is ‘Africa,’ a
continent of 53 disparate nations, multiple
ethnicities, over 1,500 diverse
languages and an export of millions
repatriated in diaspora. Swirling
around overhead are conflicts related
to whose narratives will dominate
‘African’ history and who will appropriate
the power to create the templates
for its future.
Indeed the task at hand is one of
discovering and maximizing those
particular skill-sets and strategic
advantages that Africa can leverage to
engage with the challenges of kickstarting
its destiny in the 21st century.
But beyond its mandate to actively
engage with curing its own ills, there
lays a bigger objective, and that is for
the peoples of this resourceful continent
to capitalize on their unique contributions
to the global arena.
Moreover precisely at this time in the
story of our planet, there is a dire need
for the distinctive gifts and voices that
Africans can bring to the world stage;
proclivities that emanate precisely
from the connectivities between
Africa’s past, its present and its future.
Africa Africa
into the
Carolyn Stauffer
Republic of
South Africa
What is certain, is that Africans
(whether locally, in exile, or those
repatriated to other locations) offer a
unique matrix of diverse and underrepresented
outlooks and competencies
to the global equation. The
clinching character of these perspectives
has oft been forged in the kiln of
what Phillip Brian Harper calls experiences
of ‘marginality.’ This is a distinctive
theme that resonates amongst
much of the contemporary literature
on culture and identity in the postcolonial
era. As African American Yale
sociologist Paul Gilroy points out, collective
experiences of subjugation
tend to centralise a common womb of
‘subaltern knowledge’ that births
counter-hegemonic ways of seeing and
experiencing the world.
Latin American scholar Walter
Mignolo calls this phenomenon the
presence of ‘border thinking’ amongst
postcolonial people of colour. He uses
the term ‘border’ in two ways. First
he explains ‘border thinking’ as a type
of ‘post-occidental reason.’ Secondly
he explains (within the context of
America’s southern boundaries) what
border locations signify: in physical
terms borders symbolize exteriority.
In effect, what these scholars are suggesting
is that due to frequent experiences
of structural inequity and disenfranchisement,
many Africans are able
to intuitively tap into ‘border’ ways of
thinking and being. It has been precisely
this ‘border’ experience that has
opened the door for many African peoples
to see and think from both within
as well as outside of western ‘Empire’
In his classic The Location of
Culture, Homi Bhabha speaks of the
postcolonial identity as birthing mindsets
that embody ‘hybridity,’ echoing
what the black American forefather
W.E.B. Du Bois once called ‘double
consciousness.’ This ability to think
outside and beyond traditional binary
and dualistic thinking amounts to a
very particularist skillset that is key to
the future and is a singular gem being
offered by some of our African colleagues
and global family members. It
in fact represents one of the pivotal
qualities commending Africans to a
postmodern world. Gilroy suggests
this gift serves as an antidote or even
‘counterculture’ to the harshly structured
industrial paradigms of modernity.
He posits that it positively predisposes
these persons of colour with a
distinctive advantage as they launch
into an era of increasing global amalgamation.
Another pivotal 21st century skill
that has been superbly matured within
many African contexts is networking -
the ability to collectively, and frequently
informally, coalesce around
mutually beneficial outcomes. What
this particular brand of networking
See Africa, continued on page 31
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 31
• As cultures intermingle, will philosophical
and religious relativism prevail
in 2020, and if so, where?
• As the author indicates, Hofstede’s
uncertainty avoidance index deals
with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty
and ambiguity. It has been
argued that a desire to resolve
uncertainty characterizes the public’s
interest in the outcome of an election,
high profile legal trial, sports
event, or even a television game
show. Will the desire to resolve
uncertainty become more pervasive
among nations and peoples during
the next decade?
• As summarized by Vedin, Hofstede
associates thrift and perseverance
with a long-term orientation and
respect for tradition, fulfilling social
obligations, and ”face-saving” with a
short-term orientation. In terms of
these descriptors, China would be a
short-term orientation culture, and
the traditional US (at least, prior to
the era of ”instant gratification”)
would be a long-term orientation culture.
However, this is somewhat
counterintuitive, because the US now
has a quarterly earnings statement
modus operandi, whereas Asian
countries have traditionally focused
on the long-term in business, investment,
and even warfare. How can
these seemingly opposing characterizations
be reconciled?
• One trend discussed by Vedin is universal
connectivity. How will universal
connectivity export and import
cultures, values, etc., and (in contrast
with migration) to what extent?
Specifically, which cultures, values,
and perhaps lifestyles will be export-
continued from page 29
ed, and to which countries or
• How will universal connectivity impact
communities and the sense of community
– especially considering that
even now, an increasing number of
people have friends all over the world
but barely know their geographic
neighbors. What is the long-term
future of geographic community?
• How will universal connectivity
impact governance (including the
near-term vs. long-term focus of
elected officials) and the role of the
nation-state? (See related article,
”South Korea, Leader in EDemocracy,”
Summer-Fall 2006
• How will universal connnectivity
impact leisure time and “down time”?
Will people choose to be
“unplugged,” at least for short periods?
Conversely, is universal connectivity
addiction (now in several
countries) a creation of, or a result
of, a stimulation-oriented society
and/or an instant gratification culture
such as the US?
• How will universal connectivity
impact education at various levels?
How will it impact knowledge workers?
• What is the next information frontier,
after universal connectivity?
• In various parts of the world, how will
universal connectivity impact one’s
sense of identity?
• Another trend discussed by Vedin is
the global brain. What is the future
of open-source innovation and the
role of capital?
• Still another trend examined by
Vedin is nanotech. Will nanotech
lead to small scale economies – and
with what impact on business culture,
community, and the way we live
and work?
• According to the Hofstede indicators
as interpreted by Vedin, nanotech is
a long-term prospect that can benefit
China and Japan (which according to
other authors, are long-term thinkers
and planners) but is often associated
with US individualism and the US
strengths of entrepreneurship and
markets. So, where is nanotech
most likely to flourish?
• Vedin discusses aging in the context
of the Hofstede descriptors. In countries
characterized by respect for the
elderly, what will be the impact of
soaring costs to care for larger numbers
of them? In other countries,
what will be the impact of the aging
population on working life and family
life – especially considering de facto
extensions of retirement age to maintain
healthcare coverage or survive
pension plan failure? And, as various
cultures intermingle, will the societies
become more age-oriented or
more youth-oriented?
• Vedin refers to the US federal deficit,
which can potentially give political
leverage to other nations such as
China. What cultural factors, if any,
led to the trade imbalance between
the US and China (among other
nations)? Furthermore, it has been
argued that the trade imbalance is
not sustainable indefinitely; yet if
either nation were to precipitously
end it, both nations would suffer.
What is the long-term outlook for this
trade imbalance?
• Do you agree with Vedin that instantaneity
might be the route to success
– short-term orientation, intuition,
etc.? Why or why not?
• To what extent will cultural gaps
impact international business in the
continued from page 30
requires is a complex knowledge of
how the totality of the whole relational
system fits together and thereby how
various component parts can conjoin
their interests.
Whilst stereotypical (and essentialist)
characterizations of the African
continent point to the ‘communal’
aspects of its social makeup, it is
important to draw attention to what
James C. Scott calls the ‘hidden transcripts’
that configure social realities.
The story behind the story is that there
have been specific factors at play in
shaping ‘African’ conceptions of the
networked community. What needs to
be increasingly unveiled is the
antecedent history that informs why
networking has become a survival
modus operandi for many of the sons
and daughters of the African land.
In his fascinating book entitled
Citizen and Subject, Mahmood
Mamdani outlines the process whereby
colonial powers put into place a system
that essentially fostered the
growth of a small African elite which
was co-opted to serve imperial interests.
In this way colonial powers were
able to perpetuate a system of indirect
rule which followed a pattern of
‘decentralized despotism.’ Due to the
abuses inherent to this ‘divide and
conquer’ strategy, one of the most
salient legacies embedding itself
deeply into the psyche of this continent
is a profound mistrust (and
ambivalence) towards the Western-
See Africa, continued on page 32
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 32
continued from page 31
See Africa, continued on page 33
style institutional authority systems of
that day. These structures, though
feigning democratic ideals, essentially
entrenched a schema of abusive leadership;
what Alec Russell calls the
phenomenon of ‘Big Men’ (and ‘little
people’) across the continent.
Moreover the continent’s challenge,
facing scores of on-the-ground
Africans half a century after colonial
rule, is still the fight to circumvent frequently
inept ‘Big Men’ and to offset
the excesses of corrupt African (and
Western/transnational) elites. This
task has been undertaken primarily in
two veins on the continent. The one
route has been through strategies of
‘nepotism’ whereby assets are
stretched out amongst the broader network
of a powerful person’s family,
friends and cohorts. (This is very different
than in the West where assets
are viewed frequently as individual
The second survival strategy for
the continent’s poor and un-connected
has been to form informal and noninstitutional
alternative networks of
sustenance. This is evidenced all
across Africa, from the amazing ingenuity
of Bulawayo’s ‘black market’ to
the ‘street’ entrepreneurship exhibited
on the sidewalks of Abuja, Kinshasa
and Dar es Salaam. In their text entitled
Africa Works, Chabal and Deloz
call this the ‘informalization’ of
African economics. William Reno, in
his ground-breaking work on Sierra
Leone, puts a spot-light on this phenomenon,
examining the role and profusion
of these informal markets and
suggesting that their commercial
power and influence situates them as
an alternative to failing State authorities.
African informal networks therefore
become a ‘shadow State,’ effectively
reaching all sectors and strata in
a labyrinth of alternative points of
The de-institutionalization of
Africa’s economic entry and exit
points has marked the birthplace for a
plethora of non-formal networking
skills and modalities. This has imbued
many of the continent’s citizens with
prides itself with the claim of being
one of the few African countries with
pervasive first world amenities, still
has major hiccups in its infrastructure
and service provision track record.
Invariably, however, the message is
the same – adapt or become extinct.
In his book The Rise of the
Creative Class, Richard Florida cites
numerous business scenarios that illustrate
the need for leap-frog adaptability
as a critical new millennial skill.
Many African peoples find themselves
in an environment 24-7 where this is a
mandatory competence and reality for
them. Moreover having to exercise
this aptitude all the more rigorously
provides them with the opportunity for
a head-start on leveraging the leap-frog
mindset as an expertise.
Thrusting itself headlong into the
rushing waves of momentous global
change has left Africa feeling somewhat
damp and shy in the ocean
depths. It has also, however, offered
her the prospect of showcasing her
own lithe beauty and offerings on the
global catwalks of opportunity.
Standing at the threshold of what
Grant Farred calls the ‘crossroads of
postcoloniality and postmodernity,’
Africans have the chance to enter center
stage exhibiting their predispositions
and unique giftings; showcasing
the benefits of hybridity, the strengths
of networking, and the tenacity of a
leap-frog mentality. Ann El Khoury
refers to this opportunity as the shift
from an ‘oppositional’ to a ‘propositional’
mindset, and it will make all
the difference as Africans actively create
their own provocative futureviews.
Carolyn Stauffer, M.A., has lived and
worked for 13 years in Johannesburg,
South Africa, under the auspices of an
international relief and development
organisation. Stauffer writes academic
and freelance articles and has been a
member of the World Future Society
for the past two decades. Stauffer has
also lived for 16 years in the Middle
East, and for a number of years in
North America as well.
Stauffer is contactable at
the uncanny ability to form new networks
of community in whatever circumstances
they might find themselves.
Understanding and utilizing
interconnectivities, and capitalizing on
the matrix of formal as well as informal
webs of relationship, are skills on
high demand in the new millennium.
Many Africans seem to be ahead of the
West in this regard, having intuitively
sensed long ago that the days of solo
cowboys and lone rangers are over.
Catch-up time is at a premium in
Africa. From the frenetic streets of
Johannesburg to the bustling alleyways
of Dakar, time is standing still for no
one. What is starkly evident is that
people’s ability to adapt to new ways
and newer-still technologies is highly
developed. But the reason for elevating
this point to our attention is this:
while Europe, America, and most
northern hemisphere countries went
through a century-long process of
increasing mechanisation and development
(the Industrial Revolution) Africa
has never gone through a concerted
and uniform ‘industrial conversion’ of
that magnitude or duration.
What this means is that many
Africans, by default, have needed to
learn technological ‘leap-frogging’
skills. The common theme threaded
between the squatter shacks of Nairobi
and the mud huts of Luanda, is that
most residents will have some connection
or intermittent access to cell
phone usage. Whether through a
friend, relative or neighbour, through
honest or dishonest means, cell phones
are spreading across the continent like
wildfire. Totally bypassing and ‘leapfrogging’
over the older and more
infrastructure intensive land-line technologies,
the latest and newest mechanisms
are sported in Africa, and seemingly,
without a look backwards.
This is not to say that there are not
serious questions about the wisdom or
viability of advancing newer technologies
in environments that lack the
infrastructural backbone to support
them. This may be precisely why even
countries such as South Africa, which
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 33
(send comments to
• As Africa plays an increasing role in
world commerce and geopolitics,
how will the double consciousness
(the ability to think outside traditional
boundaries) impact world politics and
religion, much of which is based on
a binary, dualistic “us-them” mindset?
• How will the two survival strategies
(for the poor and unconnected) as
discussed in this article impact institutional
authority in Africa? Will it
have a similar impact elsewhere,
and why or why not?
• How will the double-consciousness,
perhaps in conjunction with the holistic
view within much of Asia, impact
the counterpoint-based sense of
identity that is so pervasive in the
West – “You know who you are
continued from page 32
because of people who are not like
• How will the African concept of networking
impact geopolitics and conflict
resolution – and for that matter,
future studies? To what extent will it
become more prevalent on other
continents by 2018?
• Excluding Antarctica, Africa is the
only continent that (in the views of
some, such as noted geographer
Hans Blij) lacks a single dominant
nation or alliance. Do you foresee a
dominant nation or alliance emerging
in Africa by 2015?
• Will “nepotism” as practiced in Africa
become more commonplace in other
parts of the world as various forces
change the family? Will wealth be
viewed as individual or as tribal in
more parts of the world by 2020?
(Recall that Native Americans had no
private land.)
• The nation-state is losing ground to
multinational corporations and other
non-state actors. Will the “shadow
If you plan to travel to Asia, consider that free accommodation
is provided by Semyung University Future Town for futurists
and family members in the world, at no charge and with no
limitation on length of stay. During the summer and winter
vacations, dormitories are available for as many as one thousand
visitors. During school terms, furnished houses and residential
areas are available also at no charge and for any length
of time the visitor desires. This is to promote Korean Futurist
Town, which is to be established and completed by 2008.
During your visit to Semyung University/Future Town, you
can also enjoy Oriental medicine and some free treatment for
healthy life. We plan to establish a Futures Studies Institute and
some courses at Semyung University starting in 2008. Semyung
University is located in Jecheon about 2 hours from Seoul in
Chungcheong Province. Semyung has 12,000 students enrolled
with some 400 professors and faculty members. Large libraries
and a convention center are located in the middle of the campus,
along with many high-tech dormitories and sports facilities,
which are available to futurist visitors at no charge. Jecheon
will be an ideal place for you to spend your sabbatical year and
summer and winter vacations. A tourist visa for Korea is good
for 90 days.
If you arrive at the Incheon International Airport, you can
travel to Dong Seoul Bus Terminal in downtown Seoul to take a
bus to Jecheon (1 hour 40 minutes, bus runs every 30 minutes)
and take a taxi ($3-$4) to Semyung University.
Jecheon is a city of culture, located 2 hours away from
Seoul with beautiful lakes and mountains. There are many historical
sites and Oriental medicine plantations. The city focuses
on health because it is the center of Oriental medicine and
herbs. Jecheon’s strategic location at the center of South Korea
will permit a visitor to travel back and forth to the whole of
South Korea. The bus runs every 30 minutes to Seoul and elsewhere
from Jecheon. Cultural festivals and events are held
throughout the year.
The purpose of this project is to publicize future studies in
Korea. The Futurist Town will have many futurists to give
talks to the Korean visitors or students during cultural events
to promote future studies as well as a global town atmosphere
(this is voluntary not mandatory). This can be a future global
town where global networking will be appreciated and new
thoughts and ideas of fast changing world promoted to
Koreans. It is also important for young Koreans to learn more
about the future world and global oneness. It is appreciated for
futurists to spend some time with Korean youngsters for sports
or hiking and some cultural activities. For this initiative, the
Mayor of Jecheon is very enthusiastic and has promised to
facilitate futurists requests and desires.
If you are interested, please contact the World Future
Society (WFS) Korea Chapter. The point-of-contact is
Youngsook Park, President, South Korea Chapter, WFS and
Chair, Millennium Project Korea Node
(futureclub@korea.com), or by telephone, 822-313-6300 or
mobile 82-10-7228-9494.
Youngsook Park (Mrs), Director, Public Diplomacy Section
Australian Embassy Seoul
Chair, AC/UNU Millennium Project Korea Node
state” in Africa also contribute to the
demise of the nation-state?
• How will citizen networks in Africa
inspire a new sense of community in
other parts of the world? What will
be the impact on traditional tribal cultures
in Africa?
• Is 24x7 the wave of the future worldwide,
and does it herald a complete
disconnection from nature? Why or
why not – and if not, what will
reverse the present trend toward
24x7? And, which region of the
world is the last bastion for those
who don’t want a 24x7 society and
the resulting disconnection from
• The article states, “Invariably, … the
message is the same – adapt or
become extinct.” Worldwide, what or
who is the “independent variable” to
which others must adapt – e.g., technology,
Western business culture,
etc. – and who are the “dependent
variables” (“adaptees”)?
Free Accommodations Provided for Futurists
by Semyung University, Jecheon, South Korea:
WFS /ACUNU Millennium Project Korea
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 34
“You must learn what you
want to ignite in others.”
-William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
In light of the major global trends
we face, we need to immediately
examine the changes in leadership
practices that will produce a future we
prefer. Later in this article we will see
those trends and understand that all of
them can produce quite a bumpy ride
for all around the world. But, as the
article concludes, we can land softly
from each bump only if, as leaders of
trade or any non-warring cause, we
carefully help other world entities survive,
prosper and grow – in ways they
prefer. Inevitably this means adopting
good cross-cultural leadership practices
as quickly as possible, or facing
an undesirable and more chaotic
Let’s first take a look at current
cultural leadership practices.
Well-known author and speaker,
Dr. Lance Secretan points out in his
book, One, that the prominent leadership
model emerging around the world
today is ‘leadership as one.’ In other
words, great leaders today are using
clear mission, vision and socio-economic
values to paint the picture of
their organization’s social destiny and
purpose. These leaders are connecting
constituents, at all levels, to act as
responsible lookouts for signals of
‘consumer/client’ needs, as designers
of adaptive strategies, and as willing
creators of cultural practises that execute
those strategies with targeted
By David Day
London, Ontario, Canada
excellence…acting as one. Some
examples in North America include
Timberlane, Southwest Airlines,
Walgreen’s, Girl Scouts of the USA,
FedEx and Vancity.
For structural evidence of this
collaborative, dynamic model, we
need only look at how any typical
organization’s constituent bodies have
expanded rapidly since the late 1990’s
from board members representing
shareholders to include first, its
clients/customers, then its employees/
volunteers and its suppliers. And,
most recently, it has added the social
community in which the organization
functions, e.g., the environment is
now recognized as a key, interfacing
element of most organizations.
But make no mistake about the
characteristics of these great leaders,
as Jim Collins reminds us in his book,
Good to Great. They are anything but
the heroes portrayed in fictional best
sellers, plays or movies. They are
humble, quiet and courageously relish
the ambiguities and challenges only
real life circumstances can provide.
They also possess extraordinary will –
a passion and determination for the
cause and great compassion and
respect for other human beings, of all
cultural origins. They exemplify what
they expect from individuals, groups
and teams – collaborating on critical
issues to deal with dynamic realities.
And, finally, they contribute their
energies to connecting constituents on
all levels of human need – from safety
and security, social-emotional, and
(role) motivational to personal fulfillment.
On the last point, in human relationship
terms, great leaders ignite the
burning desires of our whole brain,
helping us connect with our passions
and encouraging us to express ourselves
naturally, within the domains of
our personal expertise. They do this
intentionally, in order that we have an
ongoing excellent impact on each of
our collective responsibilities.
As creators of cultural practices,
leaders appear in all roles – initiating
patterned icons/images, actions, learning,
celebrations and stories that tell a
tale of organizational survival, effectiveness
and sustainable growth. They
challenge us to use inductive reasoning
(inferring a solution from an
observed pattern, or data set), deductive
reasoning (applying a known
solution from policy or practice to a
new situation) and abductive reasoning
(creating a solution from two or
more seemingly unrelated ideas or
And, as participants in this interactive
process, we experience accomplishment
and the full range of emotions
that goes with it, both good and
bad. But they are in it with us – and
most importantly – we feel alive. We
have a purpose, a cause, and a destiny.
We are committed.
In short, we feel both inspired and
fulfilled. We have a meaningful life
outside of ourselves.
Fast forward to 2015. What will
we have experienced?
Among the worldwide turbulence,
some patterns and related challenges
will likely have emerged, as Mary
O’Hara-Devereaux describes in her
book, Navigating the Badlands. Her
See 2025, continued on page 35
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 35
continued from page 34
premise is that the great economic,
(accelerating) technological and social
innovations shifts, witnessed by the
world in the last 50 some years, combine
to form an ‘historical cycle of disruptive
innovation,’ which she and her
colleagues estimate as 75 years in
length and ending around 2025. This
post-industrial cycle has been called
the information age, the knowledge
era, and is what Daniel Pink has
labelled the conceptual age in his
book, A Whole New Mind. But, whatever
we call it, O’Hara-Devereaux tells
us the major global impacts that its
three interactive shifts will have on
companies and organizations worldwide
by 2015 will be:
• An increased number of older,
healthy people.
• An increased number of non-traditional
• An increasing demand for higher
education, and, more educated, more
experienced women than men in the
world’s workforces.
• New digital technology, communications
infrastructure such as the
Internet, and 4 billion more people
competing (e.g., India and China)
have exploded emerging markets
growth, changing economic and
political balances.
• New investment driving innovative
technologies and productivity; creating
new wealth but not many jobs.
• Customers/consumers defining
what’s of value and how they receive
• Sustainability (e.g. Green) continuing
to grow in importance.
• The current trend of income inequality
increasing, in both emerging and
developed economies.
• The ‘globalization of the local’ dominates
the worldwide landscape, as
we grapple with the unrelenting
tsunami of cross-cultural flows created
by the three major shifts of our
new age.
Evidence for each of these expected
trends is already streaming, if not
pouring toward us, daily. So, we
urgently need to ask what leadership
practices must we adapt in order to
prepare for this future?
Among her prescriptions,
O’Hara-Devereaux calls for new
cross-cultural (diversity) leadership
skills, particularly an ability to weave
multiple networks as we create and
execute emergent strategies. She predicts
existing corporate cultures will
[evolve] as the economy and the need
for creativity and productivity grow.
She explains that what is good for
business also needs to be good for
people, so corporate culture will be
overcome by local cultures as new
bargains establish flexible ‘work’
norms based mostly on female values,
as female leaders redefine family and
other socio-economic relationships.
This likely means people will generally
value good relationships with leaders,
cooperation, security and living in
an area desirable to themselves and
their families.
One can conclude that over the
next several years, as these values
increase and as skills and talent
remain in short supply, there is likely
to be added pressure for work relationship
bargains for such things as
flexible schedules, work-life balance
and family leaves.
Largely, in spite of the growing
trend to ‘leadership as one,’ these new
values amount to a dream in our present
day corporate world. ‘Commandand-
control’ leadership remains rampant,
according to the multitude of
surveys from North American business
schools and consulting firms of
all kinds. Just pick up any Dilbert cartoon
to get a chuckle out of today’s
corporate cultural reality. It’s no wonder
many people in North America
have left or are attempting to flee their
current boss.
Now, looking broadly at O’Hara-
Devereaux’s trends, let’s assume for a
minute that they fully mature by 2015
and that leaders are using the required
skills. This scenario should help us to
see the potential future impact of
these combined factors on two cultural
realities in many, many countries of
today’s world:
1. Secular, cultural diversity by business
organization, including
NGO’s – with religious (cultural)
freedom, by individual.
2. Secular, cultural melting pot/mosaic
by politically networked boundaries,
e.g. European Union – with
religious (cultural) freedom, by
Most of us believe that these are
desirable conditions. So, we need to
ask ourselves, why are these two cultural
pillars likely to continue to grow
by 2015 and keep growing until at
least until 2025? The answer – the
moral foundation of leadership – is
fundamental to the human condition,
for which we are all accountable and
which we can all influence.
The moral foundation of leadership
remains constant over time across
all social units. As described by
Steven Robbins and Nancy Langton in
their book, Organizational Behaviour,
these moral guidelines are:
1. Truth telling: Telling the truth as
you see it, because it allows a
mutual, fair exchange or dialogue
to occur.
2. Promise keeping: Leaders need to
be careful of the commitments
they make and they need to be
careful about keeping those promises.
3. Fairness: This ensures that individual
constituents get their fair share
for their contributions to the
4. Respect: Telling the truth, keeping
promises, and being fair all show
respect for others. Respect means
treating people with dignity.
Successful leaders of institutions/
organizations understand, adopt and
insist on these basic moral principles
– and strive to maintain culturally
driven dignity. Conflict is assured in
any domain when leaders fail to keep
these tenants. In cases where these
simple acts of good faith are violated,
trust, peace and prosperity inevitably
become strained and difficult, if not
See 2025, continued on page 36
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 36
continued from page 35
Respect/Dignity are Culturally
• The extent people respect – or challenge
– authority, aka ‘power distance’
varies from one ethnic ‘cultural
family’ to another. Across areas
such as Asia, Latin America, France,
Spain and Africa power distances in
groups can be experienced as generally
high, whereas power distance in
groups in the US, Britain, Israel and
most of rest of Europe can be seen
as generally low.
• Where ‘individualistic’ social tendencies
are found, as in the United
States currently, people tend to
expect and encourage individual
responsibility and loose affiliations
to networks or groups. Whereas
those in areas with ‘collectivist’
social tendencies, as in Japan,
Mexico, Greece or Korea prefer to
establish group responsibilities and
more solid, networked loyalties.
• ‘High uncertainty avoidance,’ or a
low tolerance for uncertainty and
ambiguity can lead to a rule-oriented
society/organization, i.e. one with
many laws, rules, regulations and
controls – whereas a society/organization
with ‘low uncertainty avoidance’
has more tolerance for a number
of opinions and more readily
accepts ambiguity and uncertainty.
• ‘High masculinity’ in a society/organization
is a preference for male
domination, achievement, control
and power. A ‘low masculinity’ rating
indicates the society/organization
has a low differentiation
between the genders.
• Finally, a social entity with a ‘high
long-term orientation’ prescribes to
values of long-term cultural commitments
and tradition. In an entity
with a ‘low long-term orientation’
commitments are more short-term
and people can adapt to new norms
more readily.
In free regions of the world,
notwithstanding ethnic and regional
influences, none of this bodes well for
leaders heavily invested in ‘commandand-
control’ practices.
By 2025, will leadership practices
be fully adapted to ensure the freedom
scenarios we want? That depends on
our worldwide ability to grow leadership
throughout our business, economic,
political and religious institutions.
In any case, organizational leaders
who haven’t started to reflect on their
own impact behaviours are already
being left behind.
Finally, let’s imagine which systemic
issues will need attention in the
near future if we wish to shape our
world as just stated. What social innovations
can our leaders embark on in
order to maintain peace, prosperity
and happiness? As a start, these might
• Addressing public shareholders’
cavalier attitudes about short term
vs. long term profits. Much investment
behaviour is more like gambling
than investing. For example,
investors shoot themselves in the
foot when they pick a company
whose leaders do not insist that sustainable
financial excellence is driven
by client/customer interface
excellence, which is driven by
employee performance excellence,
which can only be created by leadership
performance excellence. To
stop this waste of investor capital,
individual stock market investment
in public firms could be buffeted by
a public system where shares could
be indexed by company-based
scorecard measures and audited by
qualified professionals. In fact, there
may not be a better place to apply
the moral leadership tenants in any
• A decidedly determined new moral
leadership stance at the United
Nations. All signatories could be
required to enlist in world peace and
mean it. Everything from pooled
regional support councils to
resources funding would have to be
reconsidered in order to create
measurably incremental effectiveness.
Outcomes might include disaster
prevention bodies dealing with
medical health treatment, famine,
drought, flood and renewable
resource issues with responsibilities
for planning and coordinating preventative
measures and advising ruling
governments regionally. All
world powers must be instrumental
in establishing and supporting these
new structures, if peaceful growth
and trade means anything to them.
Vetoes could be unnecessary. Those
governments involved in war or
genocide could be given standardized
cessation options with real consequences
decided by world courts. All
ethical decisions could be debated by
representatives in good standing, but
would be decided by court tribunals,
in keeping with moral leadership
• Similar new structures accountable
for major scientific strategies. These
bodies could collaborate to recommend
and advise governments of
alternatives and coordinate actions on
issues like global warming, disease
prevention, genome sharing, and
food and clean water development.
In conclusion, we have a choice to
make for posterity. We can take strategic
action to make things better in our
own organizations, and in our own
countries to make our world a better
place to live by reaching out for our
cross-cultural calling. Or, we can continue
piecemeal with less effective
leadership behaviours that focus strictly
on, and may have even caused, the
negative realities the recent past has
brought to us.
David Day–After a successful 15 year
career as a principal of the largest
Canadian foodservice company, David
became founding partner of Incite
Leadership in London, Ontario. Incite
is a human resources consulting firm
specializing in performance and talent
management, executive coaching, leadership
assessment and change management.
*Adapted from Geert Hoefstede’s Model,
and influenced by challenges to that Model
by Prof. Brendan McSweeney’s (University
of Essex, England) Human Relations, Vol.
55, No.1 [Jan], 2002. See 2025, continued on page 37
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 37
(send comments to
• The author states that leaders “…
contribute their energies to connecting
constituents on all levels of
human need – from safety and
security, social-emotional, and (role)
motivational to personal fulfillment.”
In 2020, will more people, on a percentage
basis, live at the self-actualization
level (from Maslow’s hierarchy
of needs) than today? Why or
why not, and what are the impacts
on the practice of leadership?
• What cross-cultural leadership skills
will be observed in the workplace,
volunteer-driven organizations
(interest groups and professional
societies), and the community, in
2010 and beyond?
• In group-oriented cultures, people
are less likely to be assertive. As
cultures intermingle (as a result of
increased information flow, tourism,
and international commerce), how
will leaders emerge in the future in
various parts of the world, and what
will be the cultural impacts on leader
emergence? Also, do Mr. Day’s
observations apply equally to emergent
leaders and appointed leaders?
• The US is often characterized as a
melting pot, more recently as a
salad bowl. Arguably, these
descriptors represent the experiences
of immigrants from diverse
nationalities and ethnic groups.
However, the US has developed its
own work and business culture that
is at variance with those of several
other nations, especially from the
standpoint of work-life balance.
Even uncompensated overtime (for
example, nine or more hours of
work per day with eight hours of
pay) still exists in a few places.
Turning the calendar ahead to 2020,
do you agree with Mr. Day that corporate
cultures will be overcome by
local cultures, with flexible work
norms (family leaves, work-life balance,
etc.) based mostly on female
• “Bonus question”! Will these
“female values” be accompanied by
a trend toward long-term sustainable
financial excellence and away
continued from page 36
© Incite Leadership, February 14, 2007
Prepared by David Day, Partner, Incite
Leadership® for FUTUREtakes (ISSN
from quick-turn profits (the quarterly
earnings statement)?
• More generally, which work and
business cultures will prevail in 2020
– those of the US (especially in
occupations for which talents and
skills are not in short supply), those
of Western Europe, or other ones?
• In 2015, will we see a preponderance
of conviction leaders or consensus
leaders? Task-oriented, people-
oriented, or process-oriented
Thematic Issue
This special thematic
FUTUREtakes issue, “International
and Cross-Cultural Perspectives on
the Future,” does several things:
• Reinforces the lessons that various
nations, peoples, and cultures
can offer to meet the challenges
of the future – lessons that might
otherwise be lost to deculturation
and increasing cultural hegemony,
• Highlights the cultural values and
alternative lifestyles of diverse
nations, peoples, and cultures –
values and lifestyles that can
impact the way that we live,
work, and think,
• Challenges hidden culture-based
assumptions, including values and
everyday lifestyles taken for
granted (for example, the alarm
clock – commute – caffeine syndrome,
or notions of prosperity or
identity), that may hamper futurist
thinking and constructive solutions,
• Furthers interdisciplinary education,
and cross-cultural learning
among students of diverse backgrounds,
• Extends constructive dialog on
the future to those cultures that
are often marginalized, thereby
giving a voice to those who otherwise
have none.
Meeting the challenges of the
But there is much more that we
must do together. Moreover, in addition
to the authors featured in this
issue, there are others authors who
had planned to contribute articles but
who did not have the opportunity to
do so. For this reason, we are
pleased to announce a second special
issue – same theme – to be
published in May 2008. As for this
issue, planned distribution
includes embassies, selected educational
institutions and international
think tanks, and various other
international, ethnic, and cultural
Watch for additional details that
will be posted on our Web page,
www.futuretakes.org. Share your
perspectives on the world stage!
Send your articles to
We’re doing it again!
FUTUREtakes www.futuretakes.org
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 38
The significant change in culture over the
next 20 years shall be the criteria, habits and
values that we understand to constitute culture.
At the moment, this is the single biggest feature
of cultural change: for both political and social
purposes, the culture which we recognise in our
environment and by which we differentiate our
identity, has been subject to significant change.
The question of what features of local or
global culture shall change over the next couple
of decades is itself implicit in a cultural paradigm.
“Give me a place to stand and I shall
move the Earth”: just as I cannot avail myself of a meta-language
with which to deconstruct my prejudice, so too it is
impossible to achieve a “cross-cultural perspective.” An
aggregation of culturally embedded perspectives should provide
a rounded view of what constitutes culture in the global
consciousness, but there is an equally interesting lesson to be
learned from an analysis of what people think the important
features of their “cultural perspective” are.
The question “what is a cultural perspective” highlights
some of the implicit assumptions of modern thought concerning
culture. At the moment “culture” is associated with
paradigms of art, society and thought. Although all three of
these are undeniably interlinked, the first two are the most
recognisable cultural features and those most easily
analysable. The idea that there are paradigms of thought, and
that these are subject to change, is the hardest to deconstruct,
let alone make predictions concerning. However, there are
some trends evident in (Western) society at the moment from
which one can extrapolate.
The departure point for a discussion of cultural change
is a description of the present state of culture – or in this
case, answering the “meta-question,” a description of the
categories which constitute culture. Hopefully, to a greater or
lesser extent, this can be accepted on all hands.
Culture is intimately associated with personal and group
identities: depending on the context in which one is asked
about one’s culture, the answer will vary according to scale.
For instance I might describe myself as either “Southern” or
“Northern,” depending on whether I was placing my identity
at a national or continental scale; similarly, a person might
be a “liberal” with regard to abortion legislation by one person’s
standards, but “conservative” by another’s or regarding
a different issue.
Cultural identity describes the ethnic, political, moral
The State of Culture 2025:
Nathaniel Wade, United Kingdom
and aesthetic determinants which confer both
group membership and personal identity.
Cultural identity is in this sense a useful fiction,
a self-reinforcing narrative which a postmodernist
might say is more substantial in the
telling than in concrete instantiation.
Nonetheless, such narrative identities are an
important feature of our personal (moral) identity,
which allows us to place ourselves in a
complex conceptual model of our physical and
cultural environment, making us conscious,
contemplative agents.
Though cultural descriptions (i.e. what is “good,”
what constitutes a “reason,” what is art, what is “just,”
etc.) and the identities they create vary hugely, descriptions
of “culture” itself are largely the same. All descriptions
of culture function to describe moral and aesthetic
identities. It is at this point that a de-constructivist analysis
of our concept of culture can help to show any more fundamental
differences, which might be subject to change
over the next 20 years.
The features of “culture” that are changing at the
moment are the concepts of “value,” “progress” and “identity.”
They are changing both intrinsically and extrinsically;
in themselves and in relation to other concepts. Firstly,
here is a summary of a popular view of the cultural
dynamics at work in Britain.
The dominant rhetoric of the “clash of civilisations”
sees identities in direct conflict at both the personal and
the group scales. Similarly, descriptions of national identity
in Britain are being sculpted against the heavily politicised
background of high levels of immigration and a perceived
decline in law and order: British nationals are moving
to French villages to enjoy the last bastions of “British
values.” Thus, at the moment, it is easier to give a negative
description of the British culture than a positive one and
British values are most easily conceptualised in opposition
to alien values, or even the absence of values altogether.
The “clash of civilisations” has replaced political
opposition as a broader description of the dialectic of
progress in our societies. Party politics looks more like
identity politics, and political values are ensconced in
broader ideologies. But, the mechanism of progress is
largely unchanged: two competing paradigms are set in
opposition in such a way that the better adapted survives
or a compromise is reached. Hence, our culture as it is
See Meta-Question, continued on page 39
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 39
continued from page 38
now is the product of an inexorable
progress, the genealogy of which can
be traced through all of history. In this
sense all Western culture is relentlessly
In this model of culture there is
little room for manoeuvre when it
comes to reconciling difference.
Values are not commensurable, and to
a great extent, culture itself is incommunicable
– a source of conflict rather
than the arena of compromise and
Thus, culture, though undetermined,
is on a trajectory plotted by the
last 10,000 years of civilisation. The
next 25 years will see the cultural
homogenisation of parts of the world
which are colonised by the cultural
values of the most successful cultural
group. The dialectic between ideologies
shall continue and we shall be the
pawns in a larger conflict of identities,
the victor of which shall succeed on all
levels, the cultural and political, and
thus, the shape of progress over the
next 25 years shall be determined.
This is, of course, all contingent
on a certain way of thinking, which is
itself probably wrong.
All these aforementioned ways of
thinking about culture are under threat:
they will not survive the next 20 years
in the same form. This is because the
way in which we have until now
understood value, progress and identity
as distinct, discernible and quantifiable
qualities and processes, is not easily
sustained in the face of the integrated
and nebulous values, processes and
identities of globalisation. Values cannot
be incommensurable if they are
communicable; progress, in the context
of value, is not obviously the product
of the dialectic fiction; identity is more
productive understood positively rather
than negatively. Some evidence for
each of these assertions follows and,
though it remains unprovable, the evidence
of experience should at least
suggest that the predicted trajectory of
culture in the next 20 years is based
on a view of culture which is itself
due to change.
In the West, the concept of value
is changing. On an institutional level
the emergence of corporate social
responsibility is evidence of this. CSR
can be traced to two different origins:
firstly, the view that it makes good
economic (business) sense to pursue a
socially responsible course; secondly,
there is the existential concern about
what exactly the purpose of these
large companies is. This new existential
angst is also evident at the individual
level, where The Economist reported
that people have started to value
experiences more than assets – part of
a special edition addressing exactly
the problem that people didn’t seem to
be getting happier as they got wealthier.
Similar stories concerning the disjunction
between wealth and worth
pervade all the British media.
People are certainly not totally
abandoning materialist ways, but there
is a more obvious desire to identify
and pursue the very stuff of value
itself: the lifestyle and purpose that is
intrinsically satisfying. This relocation
of value is in evidence in a number of
ways but broadly amounts to a new
existentialism: people and groups
analyse what they do in terms of their
identity. As such, what one values, and
how this is manifest is becoming more
important and decisions will increasingly
reflect such conscious moral
commitment and the new economics
of ethics. If a revised value judgement
that connects closely to personal identity
is the growing factor in the cultural
movement of the West, it is nothing
new for religious communities, and in
fact it is not wholly new for any society
in the world.
The second cultural change is the
changing concept of progress and the
dialectic. The concept of progress is a
pervasive assumption of popular
Western historicism, and it is beginning
to look awkward in the context of
the nascent broader understanding of
value mentioned previously. The failure
of the historical dialectic and
doubts about what progress might
mean are mutually reinforcing ideas.
Just as one sees the “ideological conflict”
used to explain any number of
diverse political actions, with increasing
irrelevance and impotency, so the
idea that this process is part of some
larger mechanism that is inexorably
“progressing” becomes harder to conceptually
reconcile with one’s experience.
This is particularly poignant
against a background of political rhetoric
which is full of moral terms,
wholly disconnected from meaningful
Thus, “progress” itself works as a
rhetorical tool, seamlessly introducing
a normative element to any historical
or atavistic declaration, without justification.
A general return to identifying
and pursuing what is valuable might
disturb the conviction that culture has
progressed over the last 10,000 years,
but it will soon be harder still to maintain
the idea that all of our activities
are part of the relentless progression
of a dialectic of ideologies. This conviction
of inexorable progress has
been exposed already in part by the
recent popularisation of environmentalism:
people are simply less convinced
that cheaper air travel is necessarily
“better” or represents progress.
In relation to the changing concept
of cultural identity, a new understanding
of values shall also precipitate
a constructive move to positive
identification. The change in the concept
of identity is perhaps the most
important and noticeable change that
will take place over the next 20 years.
The more contemplative views of
value and progress, and the post-modern
cynicism about the super-structures
which underlie our very idea of
culture, will also be evident in the way
we think of ourselves both as individuals,
and in the context of societies.
Identity formulated as the negative
space between the cultural “other”
gives rise to questions about what
kind of positive description of cultural
See Meta-Question, continued on page 40
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 40
continued from page 39
identity can be offered. If this positive
description is to be at all meaningful it
must have concrete content which distinguishes
an individual or group.
Such thought experiments will
become increasingly common in a climate
of existential angst for both individuals
and groups; such positive
identities have also become more realisable
with the creation of manifold,
overlapping communities, precipitated
by increased interdependency, communications
and the internet. No features
of identity (that are not banal or
meaningless) are common to all people,
however, in articulating one’s
identity one is likely to find that all
parts are held in common with some
group – and this is extremely unlikely
to be co-extensive with the national
Multiple, overlapping, interconnecting,
contextually-relative identities
are already common-place. This is
leading to exactly the kind of curiosity
about value mentioned previously, and
also to a realisation that the nomenclature
of political representation as it
stands, is divided on arbitrary or useless
divisions, and is certainly not
democratic. This realisation will give
renewed momentum to reform of the
UN as a forum cleaned of arbitrary
political structure. Perhaps more
importantly, this will disarm those
people who would use identity politics
to argue for some bigoted agenda;
identity shall no longer have intrinsic
direction but will be the very arena of
serious thought and debate about principled
action. It is, therefore, this realisation
of multiple identities that will
redress the status of identity and value
in our cultures; these concepts will no
longer be uncompromisable and
incommunicable and whatever is
claimed to be so shall be exposed as
the domain of bigotry.
So what will replace these ways
of thinking and what will the practical
upshot be? In brief, the practical ramifications
of this cultural change – that
is a change in what is considered as
culture – will not necessarily be obvious
in 20 years time. However, I do
think that people will more readily
understand the claims of the global
community on their local community,
and will be able to see the connection
between these two through the lens of
value which will have a more central
role in all Western lives. International
politics shall be mediated in a new
sympathetic environment that recognises
commonalities and compromise.
Whatever of culture is communicable
and benign should survive globalisation,
but the malign and meaningless
cultural artefacts are likely to be
shown to have no content or die out
under the pressure of integration into a
broader community. It will doubtless
take much longer for the institutional
structure to respond to this cultural
It took 2000 years for any significant
change to be made to the form of
the kouros statue. Its stylised shape
took on great symbolism throughout
the dominance of Egyptian civilisation,
and only changed in the middle
of the ancient Greek period.
Eventually, experimentation and material
cost led to the increased realism in
the later statues but in what sense had
the culture progressed or the associated
values changed?
What is certain is that the statues
were more realistic, but, beyond that,
the cultural change is not directed.
The same abstract values could be
realised in many very different cultural
manifestations. To suggest that statue
making had progressed is rather to
reveal one’s own cultural prejudice
than to divine anything essential about
that of the ancients.
Over the next 20 years there shall
doubtless be many changes in the various
cultures of the world, but the
more significant, if less obvious
change shall be in the assumptions
about what our aspirations for humanity
and the world as a whole are.
These ambitions are only now taking
shape in an environment that can
allow the articulation of universal
value and “human identity.”
Nathaniel Wade is from South East
England and studied philosophy for
four years in Edinburgh before continuing
to study at Kings College
London. Since then he has worked for
various advocacy, research and campaign
organizations with a particular
interest in human rights. He is interested
in the potential role of political
philosophy in the aritculation of the
particular problems raised by the various
phenomena of globalization.
(send comments to
• Wade discusses the prospect that
present ways of thinking about culture
will not survive the next 20
years, at least not in the same form.
Do you agree, and why or why not?
• In 2020, will culture continue to be a
criterion by which people differentiate
or define their identity in 2020?
Why or why not?
• The author states that British nationals
are moving to French villages to
enjoy the last bastions of British values.
Meanwhile, in the US, some
people are becoming disillusioned
with “the American dream.” Will they
likewise migrate to other parts of the
world at some point, in quest of “the
American dream,” and will similar
migration patters be observed for
other nations?
• Will cultures continue to be a source
of conflict vs. an arena of compromise
and diplomacy? If so, will the
conflict be fueled primarily by identity
issues or by the loss of one’s way of
life – examples of the latter including
Aboriginal and Native peoples,
small-scale farmers (as on the family
farm), and the individual worker after
• What are possible alternatives to the
dialectic as a mechanism of
• Referencing The Economist, the
author points out that people have
started to value experiences more
than assets. Will this become more
pervasive, and in which countries or
regions? In which nations or regions
will people be most likely to have the
experiences that will give them fulfillment?
As more and more people do
this, what is the long term impact on
national and regional economies and
See Meta-Question, continued on page 42
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 41
Dr. Linda Groff
Director, Global Options Consulting
Global Futures, Peace, &
Intercultural/Interreligious Synergy.
Professor, Political Science and Future
Studies, and Coordinator, Behavioral
Science Undergraduate Program
California State University, Dominguez
Hills, Carson, California, USA
This article is a short think piece
on some of the many issues related to
identity today as the world becomes
increasingly interdependent, and as the
great diversity of humanity – different
races, cultures, civilizations, ethnic
groups, religions, and nationalities –
increasingly interacts with each other,
and where the boundaries between all
these different identity groups that
humanity has traditionally belonged to
are increasingly blurred. Indeed, it is
argued that identity is a fascinating
and increasingly complex issue today
for these very reasons.
This article looks at what identity
is, at some of the many factors –
including a number of cultural factors
– influencing our sense of identity,
making us increasingly complex, multileveled
beings, and discusses a number
of cultural examples showing how
identity has indeed become more complex
in our increasingly interdependent
world. This article concludes
with three different scenarios for the
future, based on whether we deal
effectively with all the complex influences
on identity today, in our increasingly
interdependent world, or react
from fear to these factors and retreat
into our old cultural identity groups,
avoiding interaction with, and judging
those who are different from ourselves,
or engage in conflict or even
violence and war against those we
view as too different from ourselves.
First, what is identity? Identity
deals with who we think we are, and
what gives meaning to our lives, as
Reflections on Identity in An
Increasingly Interdependent World
well as how other people see us.
There are thus both external and internal
aspects of identity. External influences
on identity include when people
impose an identity on us by our looks,
i.e., our skin color, sex, languages
spoken, dress, or other apparent looks
(which can be deceptive), or when we
are socialized into a particular culture,
race, ethnic group, religion, or nationality,
often over many years, from
whom we learn aspects of our identity
(including beliefs, values, lifestyles,
even histories, and a sense of belonging
to one or more groups). We also
develop an internal sense of identity
re: who we think we are, what groups
we identify with, and what values are
important to us and that motivate our
behavior – though often more invisible
to others.
In earlier writing, this author has
argued that there are different stages
in the unfolding drama of evolution in
our universe, and that all these different
aspects of evolution (physical,
biological, cultural, technological, and
consciousness) all work through us as
human beings, making us complex,
multileveled beings (Groff, 2005a),
with all these layers also impacting
our identities in varying ways and
degrees, as follows. Our bodies are
made up of the atoms and “starstuff”
of the universe – our physical/atomic
level of identity. We also have drives
and automatic body processes that we
share with the animal kingdom – our
animal level of identity. Next we create
culture (defined below) via new
ideas that someone gets and tries to
manifest in the world – and we are
products of culture and learning,
which is what makes humans unique
and different from the animal kingdom
– our culturally-learned level of
identity. As technology (an outgrowth
of culture) continues to rapidly evolve
Identity deals with
who we think we
are, and what
gives meaning to
our lives, as well
as how other people
see us.
See Identity, continued on page 42
in many areas, our lives become
increasingly intertwined with technologies
that can also influence our identity.
And finally, one can argue that we
have the spark of divinity or consciousness
within us, which allows us
to “wake up” and become conscious of
all these other layered influences on
our identity, so that we can then begin
to consciously transcend those unconscious,
programmed influences as we
use our creativity and intuition to
become conscious co-creators – along
with the evolutionary forces at work in
the universe – of our future, rather
than just responding unconsciously to
physical, biological, cultural, or technological
factors programming our
behavior (Groff, 2005a).
As all the different cultures of the
world increasingly interact with each
other today, one can also argue that
this is forcing people to examine their
identities more consciously, rather than
just accepting the cultural programming
that they received in the past. In
short, identity is becoming more complex
as people no longer interact with
their own cultural group only, but
increasingly interact with individuals
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 42
on resource consumption? Will this
herald a transition to a new economy
that is not based on discontent?
• By which criteria, if any, can you
challenge the conviction of “inexorable
progress”? How will changing
views regarding “progress”
impact politics and policymaking?
• How will the demise of the careerfor-
life, and the increasing irrelevance
of the nation-state (according
to some viewpoints) impact one’s
sense of identity – or multiple identities?
(But will some regions and
professions not experience these
phenomena?) As stable reference
points disappear and the pace of
change itself accelerates, to what
will people turn for identity and a
sense of stability? One’s family?
Tribe? Ethnicity? Other?
• Wade discusses global community.
Will a global community emerge?
(Also see “fission vs. fusion question
and “identity-by-counterpoint” question
in Prof. Groff’s article, this
• Which useful lessons from some cultures
will be lost due to global community
or globalization?
• If a global community emerges, what
present day business and governance
structures will disappear?
continued from page 40
from other cultural groups who can
also influence their behavior and values.
For some people, their spiritual
identity and an evolving consciousness
is also an important part of who
they are, while for others, it is not.
We are all products in varying
degrees of culture and learning, which
helps form our sense of identity (we
also have individual personality differences,
as well as certain universal
human aspects of identity). Culture
here is defined in the broad
Anthropological sense of all of our
socially-learned behavior, which is
reflected in technology and tools,
social organizations of all types (political,
economic, family, education,
media, religion, etc.), and beliefs,
ideas, and underlying values. It is
often difficult to see how we are products
of, and influenced by, our own
cultural conditioning and learning,
unless we leave our own culture, experience
another culture, and then come
home and are able to see things in our
own culture for the first time, because
we now have some basis for comparison.
Before that, when one has never
left one's own culture, it is often difficult
to see how much one has been
influenced by different aspects of that
continued from page 41
culture, which become part of one's
identity and like second nature. Once
one becomes more sensitive to different
cultures and their different underlying
values and accepted behavior
patterns, one begins to learn the difference
between the map (one's particular
cultural conditioning and learned reality
frameworks) and the territory (ultimate
reality, which we can never totally
know, but which the world's spiritual
traditions all seek to connect to in
various ways). We are also not born
with culture; we start learning culture
– in all areas of life – once we are
The key question with culture is
whether we are unconsciously acting
out the cultural programming we have
received, or whether we can become
more conscious of how we have been
programmed by our culture (or other
cultures we've come in contact with)
and consciously choose which aspects
of culture we want to live by, so that
we can also begin acting more consciously
in the world, from an inwardly-
derived sense of identity then, rather
than just from external programming.
It is also important to recognize
that when one is from a minority culture
within a larger, more dominant
culture, that one often has to function
in both worlds in somewhat different
ways, probably also making one more
aware of the influence of the different
cultures on one's life than someone
who has never experienced more than
one culture.
Identity is to a great extent culturally
learned and thus it can differ in
more individualistic cultures, such as
the U.S. or Europe, versus in more collectivist
cultures, such as Japan and
many non-Western cultures. In an
individualistic culture, one is socialized
from the day one is born to
express oneself – including what one
thinks and feels as an individual,
which thus reinforces the development
of individual identity. In a collectivist,
group culture, in contrast, although
each person is indeed different, the
culture socializes one to subordinate
one's own individual needs to the
needs of the group, and thus group
identity develops more, where one's
identity is seen to be connected to the
different groups that one belongs to,
and whether those groups do well or
not. Thus, in such group cultures, a
clear, socialized or learned sense of a
separate individual self and identity
may not even exist, unless of course,
one has also lived in the West for a
period of time. (These comments come
from being from the U.S., but also living
in Japan for one year and another
time for four months.)
Cultures can be rated on a spectrum
from more individualistic to more
collectivist, or anywhere in between
(Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner,
1998, Chap. 5, pp. 51-69), with different
identities resulting from each.
Howard Gardner has written about
seven or eight types of intelligence,
one being “interpersonal intelligence”
(understanding other people well) and
another being “intrapersonal intelligence”
(understanding your self and
your inner nature well). While people
in all cultures need some interpersonal
skills, it is largely Western culture that
develops intrapersonal intelligence and
a separate sense of self or individual
identity. (Gardner, 1983, and later
books) Indeed, in Japan, for example,
a common idea is that “the nail [or
individual] who stands out [and promotes
oneself] is nailed down” [i.e.,
See Identity, continued on page 43
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 43
not accepted by a more collectivist,
group culture, where there is more
pressure to conform to the needs and
norms of the group].
What is really interesting today is
how identity is changing as people
from both more individualistic/
Western and more collectivist/Eastern
cultures increasingly interact with each
other in today's world. There are certain
creativity advantages that can
occur in cultures valuing individual
self-expression, and certain cooperative
advantages that can occur in collectivist
cultures. Perhaps in future we
will be able to combine both and find
a way, as Abraham Maslow (a humanistic
psychologist) once envisioned, to
create a “synergistic society,” where
the needs of the individual and the
needs of the group can both be met,
with identity, behavior, and values also
being similarly impacted. (Goble,
1970, Chapter 13, pp. 111-115)
Another interesting aspect of how
identity changes over time is how different
minority groups – at least within
the larger, dominant U.S. culture –
have been traditionally labeled with
names by the more dominant culture,
but later the minority culture asserts
itself and decides to take back its own
identity and to name itself. What is
most interesting here is that the label
they often choose to call themselves is
something that was previously considered
derogatory – such as “Black” or
“Chicano” – but they take this term
and make it into a positive term
reflecting pride in their cultural-racialethnic
heritage and traditions. Thus
“Blacks” were originally “Negroes” (a
“White” term), and later decided to
call themselves “Blacks” or “African
Americans,” while “Mexican-
Americans” took an originally more
negative term, “Chicano” (originally
referring, it is believed, to Mexican
immigrants to the U.S.) and
adopted it to call themselves.
Because humor is based on building
up tension and then releasing tension,
it has proven to be a great vehicle
by which people from different
minority groups within the U.S. have
been able to express their particular
cultural identities, as well as the difficulties
they've experienced – both historically
and today – in expressing
themselves within the larger, dominant
culture. Some of the most notable
Black comics in the U.S. include:
Dick Gregory, Richard Pryor, Eddie
Murphy, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle,
Bill Cosby, Woopie Goldberg, and
many others. A current Mexican-
American comic who deals with
stereotypes of all different culturalethnic
groups in the U.S. – is Carlos
Mencia and his “Mind of Mencia”
comedy routine. And now with the
constant news about Middle Eastern
conflicts and terrorism, a Middle
Eastern-American comedy group has
emerged which fittingly calls itself
“The Axis of Evil” (after George W.
Bush's famous use of the term in his
annual State of the Union Presidential
speech to Congress in January 2002,
in which he named Iraq, Iran, and
North Korea as all part of the “axis of
evil” in the world).
There are different types of conflicts,
but one type of conflict that has
recently received a fair amount of
attention is “identity-based conflicts”
(Rothman, 1997), where strong group
identities exist on both sides of the
conflict – often based on long historical
experiences and hardships suffered
as a group of people, which often create
grievances against their perceived
opponent or “enemy” in these conflicts
– making such conflicts more
entrenched and difficult to resolve,
since people's collective identities
become associated with their collective
group histories and suffering.
A good example of identity-based
conflict is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
which has created a “community
of pain” where both sides have strong
emotional attachments for very long
periods of time to the same land – in
this case the “holy land,” making
compromise difficult on both sides,
since people's group identities are very
tied up with the same land and history,
though in different ways. Hard liners
or extremists on both sides can keep
such a conflict going via ongoing violence
against each other, which only
tends to increase the grievances on
both sides. Jay Rothman, who has
done conflict resolution work in the
Middle East, has developed an ARIA
model (Antagonism, Resonance,
Invention, and Action) to help move
the parties on both sides forward
(Rothman, 1997), but when violence
gets too extreme on both sides, ongoing
communication can become much
more difficult and even totally break
down for periods of time. Here the
influence of an outside power to help
mediate the conflict, help set up a
series of “confidence-building measures”
on both sides, and also give economic
and political incentives to both
sides, could help. The United States
played this role in the Israeli-Egyptian
peace talks earlier, and needs to play
such a role again in the ongoing
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if anything
substantive is to result.
It is a common view and concern
by many that with increasing globalization,
we are creating a more
See Identity, continued on page 44
continued from page 42
“The wisdom and insights
needed for the future are not
exclusive to a single nation,
people, or culture.”
– Dave Stein
Editor-in-Chief, FUTUREtakes
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 44
See Identity, continued on page 45
continued from page 43
homogenized global culture based
especially on Western values and
lifestyles. (Indeed, the Islamist reaction
to what it perceives as the excesses
of Western materialist culture is
part of what is driving current conflicts
in the world, though the issues
are more complex). Along with this is
a danger that non-Western cultures are
being overrun by more dominant,
materialistic Western cultures. While
these concerns are real, and need to be
addressed, identity is, it is argued,
more complex.
This article presents an alternative
hypothesis about the effects of globalization
and increasing interactions
between peoples of multiple diverse
backgrounds on identity. People used
to refer to the United States as “the
melting pot,” implying that people
coming to the U.S. would all become
homogenized and “American.” The
intercultural communication field now
refers to the U.S. as “the salad bowl”
– being a culture honoring BOTH our
unity, as well as our diversity. There
is one salad, but it has many diverse
parts, which also makes for a better
salad or whole. It is proposed herein
that identity is likewise more complex,
including on a global level today,
where on a certain superficial level,
we are creating a global culture, but
underneath the surface, much cultural
diversity remains.
We are all products of our life
experiences and learning, which
includes what has influenced us not
only from our own original culture(s),
but also from other cultures that we
have interacted with in our lives –
including from particular Western,
Eastern, and/or indigenous cultures
worldwide, as well as in our own local
communities. Thus instead of the
whole world becoming more homogenized
and the same, especially with
Western values only, an alternative
hypothesis is that we will each
become a unique synthesis of all the
different cultures that have influenced
us and how we have each struggled
within ourselves to make sense of
these different influences and create
some kind of an integrated and multifaceted
sense of internal identity within.
For many people these identity
issues can be complex and evolving
As noted, this article argues that
on a certain superficial level, a global
culture is being born, but on deeper
levels, people still hold onto important
aspects of their own cultures. Indeed,
as the world increasingly changes and
moves rapidly into the future (often
driven by rapid technological change,
with many of these technologies originating
in Western cultures), people
also increasingly go back to their roots
to hold onto what is important and
meaningful from their cultural roots,
which are the important things that
have formed and molded their traditional
sense of identity.
The attraction of Western cultures
to the non-Western world, especially to
young people, is the freedom it offers
to become your own person and to
explore your own individual identity,
in ways that a total group culture
would traditionally not condone.
Western technology and “toys” are
also often attractive to people.
Whether one can accept Western technology
without Western values and
lifestyles that go along with that is a
fascinating question, and a path that
China has tried to walk. The attraction
of non-Western cultures to the Western
world also exists. Here, people who
have had a number of their basic material
needs met, in Western culture, then
find themselves attracted to Eastern,
traditionally more spiritual values, or
to indigenous traditions that feel connected
to the earth and value stewardship
of the earth. So cross-fertilization
between cultures is happening all the
time today and impacting people's
sense of identity in many different
ways. (A separate article discusses
how these different value priorities
also contribute to different aspects of
peace, leading collectively to an evolving,
holistic, integral view of peace,
with important input from all the
world's peoples and their cultures.)
(Groff, 2002)
Over time, humanity seems to
organize at ever larger system levels,
requiring new levels of identity to
emerge. For example, in Paleolithic,
Old Stone Age, prehistoric times, people
organized in bands and then tribes
that migrated around in search of food.
Then in the Neolithic, New Stone Age
(still prehistoric), agriculture began, as
people realized they could plant a seed,
and grow and harvest food later, and
thus stay in one location, leading to the
rise of villages. Later Ancient Empires
and Civilizations arose, as technology
evolved and people were able to study
the stars, create mathematics and
astronomy, and produce more than they
needed to survive, making conquest of
others more attractive, leading to
ancient empires and slavery too. Later,
Western civilizations arose, which were
furthered by the industrial revolution,
which then led to colonial empires
abroad as more developed, industrialized
countries sought resources in less
developed areas of the world.
It is also a common misperception
or fear, among some people, that as the
world becomes more interdependent
that people will have to give up precious
national and ethnic or tribal levels
of identity in order to add larger
regional or global levels of identity on
larger system levels. This is not correct.
Instead, we really have layers of
identity, and adding a layer of “planetary
citizen” today does not mean one
has to give up one's national and ethnic
identities. One can instead look at
these different layers of identity as systems
within systems within systems,
with each system being part of a larger
system and level of identity. In short,
one ends up with nested identities.
People's religious beliefs and practices
also changed through each of the
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 45
above periods, which no doubt also
influenced that aspect of their identity
in each period. In Paleolithic times,
people worshiped Mother Earth and
nature sprits in everything living –
whether streams, rivers, mountains, or
whatever. In Neolithic times, the fertility
of the soil was equated with the
fertility of females, who gave birth,
and the goddess was venerated (at
least in the view of some). In Ancient
Empires (such as Ancient Egypt, the
Indus Valley, and Central American
Civilizations later), people worshiped
both gods and goddesses, with both
the male and female principles represented,
and with the concept of One
God emerging behind all the different
gods and goddesses (which could be
viewed as each representing different
attributes of that One God). Then with
the rise of Western civilizations, and
the monotheistic religions, people
worshipped One God, who was portrayed
as “God the Father.” Today,
there is an interest is finding both the
male and female aspects of divinity
again, and honoring the divine union
of male and female. (Campbell, 1990;
and Groff, 2005b, Part III)
Many people say culture is about
all our (layers of) socially-learned
behavior, while the spiritual path is
about unlearning or peeling off all
those layers of socially-learned behavior
and identity, which keep us within
more limited boxes or frameworks in
regard to our identity and who we
think we are. Through prayer, meditation,
other psycho-technologies, or
even sometimes spontaneously, a person
can become so open that they can
experience a peak experience (where
everything seems to flow effortlessly),
or a sense of union with the whole, or
even on much rarer occasions, one can
tap into other dimensions of reality
–beyond this physical plane. These
direct experiences of expanded consciousness
and connection to something
much bigger than oneself (that
transcend the five senses) are what
mystics from all religions have always
talked about. Such experiences can
totally transform a person's life, and
totally expand their sense of identity
from their limited ego frameworks to
something much greater. (See, for
example, Burke, 1901; and
Yogananda, 1998.)
One example of such experiences
is the astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who
in space experienced being connected
to the whole cosmos, which he also
experienced as having purpose and
great beauty in it, which put him into
a very calm, peaceful inner being
state. This experience so transformed
his life that he founded the Institute of
Noetic Sciences (IONS) in San
Francisco, California, after he returned
from space, to support ongoing
research on such expanded states of
consciousness as the deepest layer of
identity available to humanity.
(Mitchell, DVD, 2006)
Short of the mystical, expanded
consciousness experiences noted
above, there are many examples of
how the culturally-learned aspects of
identity have become much more
complex and often multileveled today,
as the increasing diversity of humanity
increasingly interacts with each other
in today's world. One aspect of this is
that we live in systems or layers of
identity (as noted previously). For
example, we belong to different racialethnic-
subcultural groups within larger
dominant cultures and nationalities,
which are furthermore interacting with
each other on larger regional and global
levels today, as well as within countries,
as people increasingly migrate to
other countries for educational,
employment, or survival purposes. In
addition, our identity is further influenced
by our sex, as well as our sexual
orientation, our roles in families –
as parents, spouses, siblings, children,
etc., and by our jobs and roles at
work, or as students in educational situations.
A few examples of how cultural
identity has become more complex
• More and more restaurants – especially
in larger cities – have items on
their menus which come from different
cultures, or which are truly
“fusion” or of “mixed” cultural
• Increasing numbers of people have
parents from two or more different
cultures, races, and/or religious
backgrounds, raising important questions
for such parents about how to
raise their children and whether to
educate them into both backgrounds
or largely one. Likewise, children
who are raised with parents from
two different cultures may or may
not be raised with equal familiarity
with both cultural traditions, or languages
spoken by each parent.
Similarly, children raised by parents
from two different religious backgrounds
may be raised in one or the
other religion, neither religion, or
both religions today, and the children's
identity will be impacted as a
• Many people in the U.S. are of
mixed racial backgrounds, but don't
always know this. According to the
crazy legacy of slavery and racism
in the U.S., any child of mixed racial
background who has any Black (earlier
Negro) blood in them, will be
labeled “Black,” even though they
are really of mixed background. It
is also interesting that many
“Blacks” in the U.S. have not only
“White” blood, but also Native
American or “Indian” blood in them,
but are also still labeled (until the
most recent census) as “Black.”
• The last United States Census added
a category of “mixed” which one
could check off as one's racial-ethnic-
cultural background. Increasing
numbers of people are of mixed
backgrounds today and don't like
being forced to select only one of
their ethnic-racial backgrounds as on
the old Census form. A good example
is Tiger Woods, who has a Thai
mother and a Black-American father.
He himself is now married to a
European-American, so if they have
continued from page 44
See Identity, continued on page 46
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 46
children, they will be a mixture of
Asian, African, and European
American stock. It is also noteworthy
that some political activist
groups also objected to this new
“mixed” category, since it would
reduce the number of people saying
they were of a particular ethnic or
racial background, instead saying
they were “mixed,” thus reducing
the possible funding available to
such groups.
Best Case Scenario:
People increasingly accept that
although the world is filled with
diverse races, cultures, ethnic groups,
nationalities, and religions, that we are
in it together. War is not really in
anyone's interests today (not yet recognized
by everyone), because we no
longer live in isolated communities,
and what happens anywhere, increasingly
effects everyone everywhere.
This means we are creating a global
system level of integration today,
where isolation is no longer an option.
With time, more and more people
begin to add another larger system
level of identity to their already existing
racial-ethnic-cultural, and national
identities, namely a sense of also
being “planetary citizens.” This will
require, however, that globalization is
increasingly seen to benefit not only
elites of countries, but also people in
their everyday lives and in their local
communities. Corporate and governmental
elites increasingly realize that
this must occur and begin adopting
policies more favorable to non-elites,
not just elites, in their respective
countries. This reduces people's
resistance to globalization.
Worst Case Scenario:
Globalization continues to be
seen by too much of the world's peoples
as benefiting only elites and not
ordinary people, middle class people,
or the poor. Outsourcing of jobs from
developed countries to developing
countries, where labor is cheaper and
labor and environmental standards are
weaker, by corporations, with government
acceptance, continues to fuel the
anti-globalization movement in developed
countries. At the same time,
while cheaper paying jobs are created
in many developing countries, child
labor, long hours, cheap pay, and poor
working conditions, in often
unhealthy situations, makes people
wonder how globalization is also benefiting
them, which fuels continued
resistance to globalization, except by
elites who largely benefit from it.
Anti-globalization – whether in developed
or developing countries – also
becomes part of one's identity, including
one's political identity.
In certain situations, Western
materialistic and sexually overt culture
is also seen as threatening traditional
values in non-Western cultures,
which along with poverty, and lack of
educational or job opportunities, fuels
a sense of hopelessness and anger,
creating ongoing breeding grounds for
terrorism as well.
Mixed Case Scenario – The Most
Probable Scenario:
The most likely or probable
future scenario is a mixture of some
of the factors from both scenarios
above. Thus, globalization continues,
but anti-globalization also continues.
The more developed countries realize,
however, that aiding educational and
job opportunities, and job training, in
developing countries, rather than
spending so much money on military
activities to fight terrorism, will lead
the masses of people in developing
countries to begin to realize sooner
that they will benefit from globalization,
which will also lessen their
resistance to it. In short, globalization
alone is not enough. Coupled with
globalization must be an attention to
localization and to local needs also
being met, including finding ways to
hold onto important elements of one's
traditional identity, while being open
to adding new elements from their
global interactions and interdependence.
The world is currently very polarized,
with much anti-Americanism
resulting from an overemphasis on
military spending and the Iraq and
Afghanistan Wars at the expense of
foreign aid for economic development,
educational opportunities, and even
attention to global climate change
issues – of concern to many other
countries. In certain developing countries,
identity is still more on tribal or
ethnic grounds, not yet on national
grounds, making nation-building still a
needed focus, before expecting people
to add a global level of identity.
However, in more developed countries,
especially amongst educated elites
with opportunities to travel for work or
leisure activities, this global level of
identity is being added.
As these different levels of identity
are added to different people's lives,
their own identities become more multilayered
and complex, and as all the
world's diverse peoples increasingly
interact with each other, all kinds of
new, creative mixes of internally-generated
senses of identity will emerge,
which will help take humanity into the
21st century with much new energy
and creative ideas as a result – if only
we can remain open to learn from each
other, and not come from fear or violence,
which results from fear and
which is currently dominating the
world way too much.
• Beversluis, Joel, Ed. Sourcebook of
the World's Religions: An Interfaith
Guide to Religion and Spirituality.
Third Ed., Novato, CA: New World
Library, 2000.
• Burke, Richard Maurice, M.D.
Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in
the Evolution of the Human Mind.
New York: E. P. Dutton and Co.,
Inc., 1901.
• Campbell, Joseph. Transformations
of Myth Through Time. Thirteen
continued from page 45
See Identity, continued on page 47
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 47
brilliant final lectures from the
renowned master of mythology.
New York: Harper & Row,
Publishers, 1990.
• Chandler, Keith. Beyond
Civilization: The World's Four
Great Streams of Civilization:
Their Achievements, Their
Differences and Their Future.
Rivendell Publishing Co., Inc.,
• Gardner, Howard. Frames of Mind:
The Theory of Multiple
Intelligences. With a New
Introduction by the Author. New
York: Basic Books, 1983, and 1985
Introduction. See especially
Chapter 10, “The Personal
Intelligences,” which can vary in
different cultures.
• Groff, Linda. “How Evolution
Works: Process and Substance,” in
How Evolution Works. Bellevue,
WA: Center for Human Evolution,
Proceedings of Workshop 3,
Foundation for the Future, 2005a,
pp. 167-218.
• Groff, Linda. “Insights on the
Evolution of Cultures, Civilizations,
and Religions: Past, Present, and
Future,” in How Evolution Works.
Bellevue, WA: Center for Human
Evolution, Proceedings of
Workshop 3, Foundation for the
Future, 2005b, pp. 139-166.
• Groff, Linda. “The Challenge of
Cultural and Religious Diversity
and Peacebuilding in an
Interdependent World,” Futures
Research Quarterly, published by
the World Future Society, Vol. 21,
No. 4 (Winter 2005c), pp. 23-54.
This article is a shortened version of
a longer draft article available from
the author.
• Groff, Linda. “Intercultural
Communication, Interreligious
Dialogue, & Peace,” Futures: The
Journal of Forecasting, Planning
and Policy, Published by Pergamon,
No. 34 (2002), pp. 701-716. Also
teach regular university course on
this subject.
• Groff, Linda. “Education for a
Holistic, Integrative View of
Peace,” Draft Conference Paper,
• Goble, Frank G. The Third Force:
The Psychology of Abraham
Maslow. With a Foreword by
Abraham Maslow. New York:
Washington Square Press, Published
by Pocket Books, 1970, especially
Chapter 13, “The Synergic Society,”
pp. 111-115.
• “Identity: America's Ultimate Game
of First Impressions,” current U.S.
T.V. Program, KNBC, where contestants
have to try to match different
roles with twelve different people,
based on their external appearances
which create a first impression.
• Mitchell, Edgar, Dr., Astronaut and
Lunar Module Pilot Apollo 14. “The
View From Space: A Message of
Hope”: DVD: SMPI/Sheilah
Mitchell Productions, 2006. On his
experiences of union with the cosmos
and sense of purpose in the
cosmos that he had in space while
an astronaut, which led him to
found the Institute of Noetic
Sciences, to explore consciousness
• Rothman, Jay. Resolving Identity-
Based Conflict in Nations,
Organizations, and Communities.
Somerset, N.J.: Jossey-Bass, 1997.
• Storti, Craig. Figuring Foreigners
Out: A Practical Guide. Yarmouth,
Maine: Intercultural Press, 1999.
Different Chapters each deal with a
different set of opposite underlying
values that motivate behavior in different
• Trompenaars, Fons, and Hampden-
Turner, Charles. Riding the Waves
of Culture: Understanding Diversity
in Global Business. Second
Edition, New York: McGraw-Hill,
1998. Different Chapters each deal
with a different set of opposite
underlying values that motivate
behavior in different cultures.
• Yogananda, Paramahansa.
Autobiography of a Yogi. With a
Preface of W. Y. Evans-Wentz. Los
Angeles, CA: Self-Realization
Fellowship, 1998, 1974, and 1946.
Note: See the above sources for
more extensive bibliographies on
cultures, civilizations, and religions.
Dr. Linda Groff can be contacted at
Global Options Consulting – Global
Futures, Peace, &
Intercultural/Interreligious Synergy
Tel/Fax: +1 310 821-1864,
E-Mail: ljgroff@csudh.edu
Political Science & Future Studies,
California State University, Dominguez
Tel: +1 310 243-3470,-3434
(send comments to
• Dr. Groff’s article refers to technology
as “an outgrowth of culture.”
How would the present state of technology
be different if various regions
of the world (and their cultures) had
been dominant during the past 300
• Technology facilities cross-cultural
interaction via communication and
travel. During the next decade, will
the primary impact of cross-cultural
interaction be increased understanding
and acceptance of other cultures,
perhaps resulting in their
learning from one another? Or will
technology-enabled cross-cultural
interaction tend to result in deculturation,
cultural hegemony, and/or cultural
• The article refers to a global culture
on a superficial level, with much cultural
diversity remaining under the
surface. In addition, it refers to
cross-fertilization among cultures,
Eastern and Western. To what
extent will the various diverse cultures
influence the values, lifestyles,
and general evolution of the global
culture? Or, will the global culture
develop a life of its own (as has the
US business culture), nearly independent
of the under-the-surface
cultures? In what ways will the
cross-fertilization impact global business
• The article refers to influences on
our identity – ethnicity, gender, family
roles, and jobs and roles at work.
Add socioeconomic group, political
affiliation, and position on con-
continued from page 46
See Identity, continued on page 48
FUTUREtakes Vo l . 6 , N o . 1 S p r i n g 2 0 0 7 48
continued from page 47
tentious political issues. In the US,
when people meet for the first time, a
common question is “What do you
do?” This can be considered identity-
by-counterpoint – “You know who
you are in terms of people who are
not like you.” Will dichotomy-based
identity continue to be a primary
source of identity in 2025?
• Is the Eastern holistic way of thinking
categorically better than the Western
binary us-them mindset for ensuring
that the best-case scenario, as
described by Dr. Groff, is realized?
(For example, sensitivity to the fact
that greenhouse gas emissions can
impact people who are far away?)
Why or why not?
• “Fission” vs. “fusion”! Some people
derive their identity from large groups
(for example, one’s nation), and others
seek identity with ever-smaller
groups (e.g., a tribe, clan, or minority
ethnic group). Other sources of
identity include religions, political
parties, professions, employers, professional
societies, socioeconomic
groups – and even street gangs. Is
there a limit as to how large a group
can be as an effective source of
identity? Consider the tribal-based
conflict in various parts of the world –
“Me against my brother, but me and
my brother against my cousin, etc.”
Can most people identify with all of
humanity as global citizens? Or can
they identify with a nation or anything
else that is large and seemingly
impersonal? If not, is this driving
identity with smaller groups (ethnic
groups, cause-oriented groups, etc.),
or are other factors involved?
• According to Howard Gardner (as Dr.
Groff points out), intrapersonal intelligence
and a separate sense of self
and individual identity are found primarily
in Western cultures – and in
Japan, for example, which is a group
culture, one who promotes
himself/herself is “nailed down.” By
contrast, self-promotion is more
acceptable in some other cultures
such as the US, and not surprisingly,
leaders emerge in different ways in
group- vs. individual-oriented cultures.
As these cultures intermingle
and transact international business,
what are the implications for the
ways that leaders of the future will
FUTUREtakes is distributed electronically, free of charge, to World
Future Society chapters worldwide, to interested individuals, and to selected
think tanks, other professional societies, and educational institutions. In
addition, it is available at www.futuretakes.org.
For further information or to submit articles, contact
futuretakes@cs.com. Chapters’ Corner contributions should be sent to the
Chapters’ Corner Editor, Verónica Cruz Zamora, at valy_0802@yahoo.com.
WorldFuture 2007
Fostering Hope and Vision
for the 21st Century
July 29-31, 2007
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Reasons to Attend WorldFuture 2007
1. Understand the impact of new technology. Confer with leaders in business,
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2. Build innovative communities. Actively participate with others in workshops,
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3. Develop new skills. Learn more about futures techniques such as trend
analysis, long-range forecasting, and creative thinking.
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To register or for further information, visit www.wfs.org or send an e-mail
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