Personal Official Futures
Each individual has what is called an ‘official future’ they imagine. It is essentially a compilation of assumptions usually based on extending current trends into the future in a linear way. That means assuming the US Dollar will remain the world’s reserve currency because it is now, or that Russia and the US will always be adversaries, that China will rise, or that the West will always be dominant politically and culturally. These assumptions are dangerous because they create a bias that blinds regular citizens, analysts and policy makers to alternatives and to key indicators of change.
That’s an idea that’s novel to me but I think it’s useful. Is that common knowledge? I’d appreciate knowing its source.
It made me start thinking. What’s in my official future? I’ll need to reflect long and hard to identify my assumptions about the contours of what will happen globally in the future. I think they’re less in the form of discrete, isolated beliefs and events than larger operating principles. So, for example, I tend to believe that genuine changes in the character of nations are extremely rare. Russia will remain Russia; China will remain China; the United States will continue to be the United States.
Occasionally, there are real turning points in history in which a nation will turn away from its past. The French Revolution may have been one such although, as Mao Tse Tung noted, it’s too early to tell. Contrariwise I don’t think the Russian Revolution really changed Russia nor do I think that, however hard they may have tried, the Chinese Communists have changed China’s essential character.
I invite commenters to share their own official futures. Serious answers preferred!