I posted a couple of weeks ago on a paper by a couple of economists which argued in brief, that globalisation – taking a historical view – tended to fail for political reasons: effectivedly, those who lose from it put the brakes on. Cross-posting this to Shaping Tomorrow’s Foresight Network prompted a long and considered response by the futurist Stephen Aguilar-Millan of the European Futures Observatory (his blog here), who has done recent work on questions of globalisation. He argued that if you approach it from a geopolitical perspective you get a rather different perspective.
Fifteen years ago, or more I was on the board of the physical theatre company the David Glass Ensemble. At the time, physical theatre was still emerging from the shadow of mime. But going to two rather different productions recently, it’s clear that physical theatre is now right in the mainstream.
Arthur Clarke’s death at the age of 9o prompts the opportunity to re-post his three laws, evolved between 1962 and 1973. They seem to have some relevance for futures:
- When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
- The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
- Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
I’ve written here from time to time on the evolution of Britain as a surveillance society, and the trends embedded in it. Now the journalist Henry Porter, in a submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, has produced a list of the ways in which surveillance has been increased in the UK since the 1997 election.
A short paper by a couple of economists (one American, one Irish) takes a long view of the preconditions for periods of globalisation – and the circumstances in which it goes into reverse. It suggests, perhaps depressingly, that war (and military power) is often a precondition, and sometimes a consequence.
Just as we’ve got used to the idea that the moment of ‘peak oil‘ might be upon us (at the moment 2005 is the year of highest oil production) new figures suggest that the figures for world coal reserves might have been inflated. The widely held view that we are sitting on hundreds of years’ supply of coal may be wrong. This could be good news for climate change.