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WFS AZ Future Scenarios on American Politics

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During our March 2016 World Future Society AZ meeting, Rob Panacci and Eric Kingsbury led a scenario development process based on the classic 2X2 Scenario approach from the Global Business Network (GBN). Our topic was "American Politics." This document shows the outcome, including 8 scenarios in brief.

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WFS AZ Future Scenarios on American Politics

  1. 1. ARIZONA CHAPTER WFS Arizona Chapter March 2016 Meeting March 22, 2016 GBN 2X2 Scenario Exercise Future of American Politics, March 22, 2016
  2. 2. ARIZONA CHAPTER The Project During our February meeting meeting, the Arizona chapter of the World Future Society discussed taking on a think tank–like project and, as a group, tackling a future challenge. So for our March meeting, Rob Panacci and Eric Kingsbury led a scenario development process based on the classic 2X2 Scenario approach from the Global Business Network (GBN). In this approach, basically, one looks at trends and drivers, and then one maps on two axes the key driving trends. At the corner intersections of opposite axes, one builds the scenarios. For our two-hour exercise, we tackled something rather topical — "Politics in America." After a quick introduction to the 2X2 concept, we briefly considered the collection of signals and developing trends together, and then we split into two groups, Groups A and B, to discuss specifics further and work out our proposed future scenarios. At the outset, we suggested some potential drivers, but teams were free to come up with their own, and they did. In just two hours, the two teams came up with two very intriguing, but, we all agreed, complementary set of scenarios. The next two slides illustrate the two sets of scenarios. Team A’s scenarios were built around Public Service Governance vs. Private Service Governance, on one axis, and Isolationist vs. Globalist on the other. Team B built around Elite-Dominated vs. Populist on one axis and Public Engagement vs. Disengagement on the other. Team A provided, among other insights, the idea that you can hear in some of the current and past election rhetoric appeals to isolationist scenarios, which rarely play out in practice. Team B noted that the future is likely to go through a cycle of three of their scenarios as the public reacts to various political realities, but the preferred scenario is unlikely to occur. GBN 2X2 Scenario Exercise Future of American Politics, March 22, 2016
  3. 3. Isolationist Globalist Private Service Government Public Service Government Great America (Pre-WWII) UN on Steroids MNC World DominanceGated Community • A great deal of participation in global activities • Seeking to better the world and participate in climate and development initiatives • Open borders and emphasis on cultural exchange • Peace Corps kind of government • Active foreign policy focused on improvements. • Focus on social responsibility and solving problems. • Government that serves people • Patriotic and potentially racist and nationalist • Walls keep out immigrants • Great sense of community and public service • No interest in foreign policy; fortress mentality • Government seeks world dominance; involved in a lot of special interest activities • Government networks with elites around the globe • Corruption and unethical behavior • Seek to manipulate the world for benefits of the elite of the country. • County of great inequality • A lot of rules and regulations and monitoring • Walls keep out immigrants • The wealthy and socially connected dominate government • Social divides • Government represents special interest only • No interest in foreign policy; fortress mentality ARIZONA CHAPTER Team A | Outcome GBN 2X2 Scenario Exercise Future of American Politics, March 22, 2016
  4. 4. Elite- Dominated Populist Public Disengagement Public Engagement ARIZONA CHAPTER Best and Brightest Neo-Jeffersonians IdiocracyRunning Man Disruptive Potential of AI and Post-Scarcity Economics Clinton • Seriousness of political coverage • Commitment to governance • Non-partisan districts Trump GBN 2X2 Scenario Exercise Future of American Politics, March 22, 2016 [Stable] [Disruptive] • Radical outsiders • Non-politicians leading • Discontinuous • High turnover • Lawyers and bureaucocrats • Decades of experience • Strong continuity • Domination by political class • Self-interest, special interests • Autocratic, quasi-fascistic • Leadership by committed public servants • Technocrats • Aristocratic • Stable, continuous • Status quo • Country club The Cycle — There may be in the future (or may already be developing now) a cyclical progression from Best and Brightest to Running Man to Idiocracy, as the public reacts to various political and leadership realities. Power Corrupts Demagogue Takes Over Getting Things Done Matters Preferred but Less Likely — There may be in the future a Neo- Jeffersonian scenario where the public becomes the informed and engaged farmer- citizens that would create a different kind of democracy; technology could help facilitate this alternative future. Team B | Outcome
  5. 5. ARIZONA CHAPTER

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