The Third Round Questionaire for the Historical Panel

Round 3

The Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution and The Futures Group invites you to participate in the Third Round of a unique international panel on the uses of history in creating scenarios and other future-oriented studies.

The first two rounds of this "Lessons and Questions from History" study were sent to macro-historians. They identified and rated lessons and questions from history that might serve as a "check list" to help improve future-oriented studies. The purpose of this third round is to ask people engaged in futures research and who use futures tools to evaluate and add to the suggestions already provided by the historians.

In addition to the "Lessons and Questions from History", the Millennium Project is also conducting other studies available at, including the "Global Lookout" study on opportunities to improve the human condition, construction of global exploratory and normative scenarios, clarification of environmental security, and explorations of educational applications of the project's work. The results of these studies plus the enclosed third and final round of the "Lessons and Questions from History" will be published in the 1998 State of the Future. All those who respond to this round will receive a copy and their names will be listed in the appendix. Your responses will be kept confidential.

As you know, The Millennium Project is designed to provide a global capacity for early warning and analysis of long-range issues, opportunities, and strategies. Its purpose is to assist in organizing futures research, up-date and improve global thinking about the future, and make that thinking available through a variety of media. Current financial support is provided by the Ford Motor Company, Monsanto Company, Alan F. Kay and Hazel Henderson Foundation for Social Innovation, Motorola Corporation, Army Environmental Policy Institute, Hughes Electronics, Shell International, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, and The Foundation for the Future. The project is also assisted by nodes (cooperating groups) in Beijing, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Lismore (Australia), Madurai (India), London, Moscow, Olomouc (Czechia), and Tehran.

Please send the complete questionnaire by 8 December 1997 via e-mail (if that is possible) to Jerome Glenn, at: with copy to: If not, then please respond via fax or airmail. Details are on the enclosed instructions.

If you have not already done so, please send us a copy of your resume and permission for it to be added to the project's web site. If you have any questions please contact us at anytime. We look forward to your responses.

Sincerely yours,
Theodore J. Gordon and Jerome C. Glenn
co-directors, Millennium Project

Lessons and Questions from History - Round 3 Instructions:

This questionnaire makes two requests:

1. Review and rate the usefulness of the enclosed "lessons from history" for scenario construction or in assessing future policies and plans. Please add other lessons from history that might be more useful; and

2. Review and rate the usefulness of the enclosed "questions from history" for scenario construction or in assessing future policies and plans. Please add other questions from that might be more useful.

The table in Part 1 presents a set of historical lessons (and illustrative historical context) suggested by the panel of historians as being important to the study of the future. The criteria they used in identifying important historical lessons included the number of people who were ultimately affected, the severity and permanence of the effect, and the generality of the situation. From your own experience, please provide your judgments about the utility of these lessons, using the following scale:

Utility in creating scenarios or evaluating policies:

1 = Extremely useful; should always be considered.

2 = Useful most of the time.

3 = Useful about as often as not.

4 = If it were used, it would be harmful most of the time.

5 = If it were used it would be extremely counterproductive; should never be considered.

You can simply list the item number followed by your rating, rather than include the text of each item.

Please add other "lessons" to the list in the space provided at the end of part 1, and include historical illustrations.

The table in Part 2 presents the set of the "questions futurists should ask" provided by the panel of historians. Please judge the usefulness of the questions using the same scale above and add other "questions that futurists should ask" to the list in the space provided.

You can simply list the item number followed by your rating, rather than include the text of each item.

Please complete the questionnaire and return it to us by 8 December 1997. Please respond by e-mail if that is possible to: with a copy to otherwise fax to 202 686 5179 or mail to:

The Millennium Project
American Council for the United Nations University
4421 Garrison St. NW Washington, DC 20016 U.S.A.

No matter which mode of response you choose, please include your name and post mail address, and - if possible - your electronic mail address, phone number, fax number, and resume.

If you would like to receive a hard copy of the questionnaire or as Ms Word file, please send email to:

Part 1 Lessons of History

1 Communication and information-processing capabilities are important to the establishment and survival of political (as well as other) organizations. Historical examples include the impact of literacy, printing, telecommunications, IT, and technologies of transport (such as air-travel) on the scale and character of political organization. The formation of world-wide European empires and economic systems from the fifteenth century AD onwards is an especially clear case of this. The origin of the earliest state societies may well be another. This factor in change is literally global in scale and apparently attested over several millennia.
2 When an activity is desired by many people, the action of one or a few people may be necessary in order to precipitate joint action. Many Americans wanted to respond to Russia's orbiting Sputnik, but it took the inspired leadership of Kennedy to call for the lunar mission to galvanize efforts to open the frontiers in outer space.
3 When people migrate to areas already settled, and do so in such a way or in large enough numbers as to disrupt the existing social situation, there will be conflict of some kind. We cannot say what kind of conflict, but any scenario that projects migrations of this sort without conflict would be judged to be less plausible than those that include some form of conflict. Example: Migrations of Europeans into the Americas was associated with extensive conflicts.
4 Some large-scale economic projects are initially beneficial but turn out to be inefficient in the long-term if not constantly maintained, supported, and complemented by modified approaches. The introduction of intensive irrigation-based farming in ancient Mesopotamia at the end of the 4th millennium BC had great impact on the development of civilization there. However, the irrigation network had to be constantly maintained and supervised to fight natural salinity of the soil there. Breakdowns in political control of the region had a negative long-term effect on the maintenance and functioning of the system. In the end, the gradual desertification of the area occurred, and a substantial decrease in settled life in the region. The massive slash-and-burn farming introduced in Europe in the early medieval period to provide food and space for rapidly growing population led to a substantial deforestation of the entire region, thus the increased erosion and infertility of soil. This processes was arrested only by the new farming methods introduced at the end of the Middle Ages.
5 History is full of unintended consequences of well intended policies. Processes override purposes and produce results no one intended or, commonly, foresaw. This makes all planning for social betterment inexact and sometimes ineffective since side effects can eclipse desired results. Purposes are nonetheless important since it is they that provoke and accelerate processes. Action according to plan changes the situation even though anticipated results never exactly match intended ones. This means that planning is worth trying even with the knowledge that it will be blunted by unforeseen side effects.
6 Totalitarian regimes can distort perceptions of history. In post-1917 Russia, the historical past was intentionally suppressed, negated, falsified or condemned, all with far-reaching effects on the entire nation. The result was the 80 years of much impoverished culture which lacked its roots, identity and understanding. The rediscovery of the historical past happened freely only after the fall of communist political doctrine which, after all, was imposed by the few upon many.
7 The secondary effects of technology can bring unforeseen consequences The printing press played an enormous role in transforming religion, potential life, and ultimately democratization by enabling mass literacy, including female literacy. These changes ended 5,000 years of monopoly of learning to a handful of power-structure males. Even Isaac Asimov in his 1950s exploration of the future did not conceive of the consequences of the computer. If a technological breakthrough makes hydrogen a cheap, clean, and abundant energy source, how will this technology impact the future? What will happen if the Middle East loses its importance when petroleum is no longer needed? What will become of excess population no longer needed for human labor?
8 Biotechnology is a driver of great significance, especially since 1880. The contraceptive revolution gives us an historic example of social transformation in the freeing of women from historic roles. Could genetic manipulation have consequences on identifying and correcting antisocial (criminal) behaviors? Can genetic manipulation launch a new evolutionary step for mankind --or will it become the new global military weapon?
9 More developed civilizations are usually characterized by stabilized population, while the rapid growth of population is typical for underdeveloped regions. U.S. fertility rates were 7 in 1980 while today it is below the replacement rate
10 Every few hundred years in history there occurs a sharp transformation. A transformation changes the political, economic, social, and moral landscape of the world. Transformations are not understood by society until fifty years later. Thirteenth century transformation; two hundred years later - the Renaissance; two hundred years later - the political transformation that started in 1776 (birth of the modern "ism's": capitalism, communism; emergence of the industrial revolution); today we are in the middle of a transformation.


The capacity of people to destroy each other and their environment is steadily increasing over time. The emergence of new technologies of destruction - from the spear to the nuclear age - and the increasing ability to organize on a greater scale for war as much as for peaceful means, has led to an gradual increase in human destructive capabilities over time. Contrast the war fighting capabilities of the earliest Mesopotamian states (such as Uruk) with that of the Cold War 'superpowers'. Human destructiveness does not even stop at other humans: the natural environment is threatened by deliberate and accidental destruction on a scale hitherto impossible.
12 Progress is impeded when dialog between those who invent and those who apply the inventions is constrained. A striking example is the helplessness of 12th and 13th century Muslim scholar-geographers when confronted with latitudes south of the equator when polestar elevations could no longer be determined directly. This gave rise to the sharp eastward bend of the East African coast south of Ras Hafun, near the equator, which is characteristic of ancient maps of the Indian Ocean from the time of Ptolemy to that of the al-ldrisi. This failure of the geographers is to be compared to the effortless coping with the same problem by practicing Indian navigators such as al-Majid and his predecessors who applied known angular distances of the invisible Polestar from other stars that are visible south of the line to define latitudes of ports and courses of ships well south of where the geographers were out of their reckoning.
13 Understanding the role of the presently most powerful "empire," while tracking the fate of "universal empires" in history, is important. History reveals that empires rise and fall, and an understanding of the mechanisms leading to "fall" could hold the key to more peaceful geopolitical transition. Empires are born, grow, prosper, and eventually disappear. After a collapse, a period of chaos and instability follows, which have negative effects on a global scale. Any global scenario attempting to prognosticise future geopolitical power groupings on a global scale, must take this into account. In today's world the United States is the leading power ("empire"). Will it be the final empire?
14 If the interests of local people are considered when attempting to protect natural resources, there will be a reduction in the conflicts between the need for resource protection and the possibility of exploitation. Establishment of natural reserves in developing countries in the last 40 years has not always benefited the indigenous people.
15 Political systems can collapse suddenly. In the modern world, where consequences of political collapse are more likely to be globalized than ever before, it is deeply unwise to base any proposed basis for international peace, order and security on the continued existence of any single polity or political system. Even seemingly stable forms of political organization can end with apparent suddenness and lack of warning. In the modern period, the collapse of the USSR is especially telling. Earlier we can see this clearly at the end of the Roman period, or in any of China's various periods of disunity and disruption. However, this generalization does not apply only either to empires or the Eurasian continent: constructing a list of contemporary states continuously in existence for the last 500 years will show that! The collapse of political organization (whether states international systems or of other sorts) can (and usually does have very wide-ranging regional or global consequences. There is no reason to suppose that this pattern, established for millennia is likely to change in the future.
16 One good indicator that a society or political system is in decline is the extent to which the rulers are basing decisions on poor or misinformation. Roman Empire in the 3rd - 4rth centuries, USSR in its last decade. This may also be applicable to historical episodes, e.g. US involvement in Vietnam.
17 Societies with dramatic disparities between rich and poor, and lacking a middle class, tend to be unstable. Sub Saharan Africa. [What we call a middle class existed only since 1800 or so; many polities survived for centuries without a middle class, some for a Millennium. Czarist Russia is famous (among historians) for its negligible middle class, but it lasted for centuries.]
18 Wars will continue There have been 20 to 40 ongoing deadly quarrels with total fatalities of more than 1,000 in the world for half a century.
19 Even when the lessons of history are remembered, mechanisms for implementing corrective action too often are missing. While there were some undoubtedly successful economic and cultural actions by the United Nations, there were also some disturbing failures in the political sphere, namely the UN inability to prevent, contain or properly resolve more recent local, but much life-costly conflicts (e.g., Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Israeli-Arab conflict, etc.). The lessons of the past might have been assessed but the prevention mechanism is still imperfect.
20 When strong external political actors pursue immediate effect through the use of political pressure and military force, they instigate a growing reaction born of long standing values and attitudes that comprises the identity and structure of a society. The "military solution" in Afghanistan proved to be a fatal mistake for the former Soviet Union and the U.S. The growing fundamentalist reaction is sweeping the entire region to the detriment of the external actors.
Lessons of history are often forgotten.
British Army with bright red coats were easily killed by American Colonists using natural surroundings to hide. Several Generations later the British Army made the same mistake in South Africa.
22 Leadership in industry and commerce predicts global political leadership See Leading Sectors and World Powers by G. Modelski and W. R. Thompson, University of South Carolina Press 1996.
Water shortages lead to social change (such as migration).
Civilized life always depended upon proximity to waterways or oceans. The Meso-American city of Teotihuacan sustained a population estimated at over 1 million-but appears to have emptied over a short period as a result of a prolonged drought. The Anasazi peoples of the American southwest seem to have succumbed to the same problem.
24 In the past, great powers sponsored opposite sides in local wars, but that has changed recently.

Pre World War I Spanish civil war, and during the Cold War, Central American, Asian and African conflicts.
25 Environmental factors such as climate change, intensity of solar radiation, whether patterns, or natural catastrophes trigger migration patterns and conflict. Historical evidence reveals a correlation between the rise of migration and conflict and, increasing intensity of solar radiation.
26 Global history is marked by great migrations History charts the great migrations of barbarian peoples about 1200 BCE and again 300 to 1200 CE seemingly connected with population explosion and not enough food or water. As Bangladesh disappears under the rising oceans and flooding rivers of the denuded Himalayan mountains, where will the survivors go?
27 World systems move through [oscillate among] various phases: non-hegemonic unipolarity(as at present), bipolarity (Cold War era), tripolarity, multipolarity, nonpolarity, hegemony, universal state. None of these phases is demonstrably highly stable (durable), and no exit transition is predetermined from any of them. No plans should be accepted that explicitly or implicitly treat the current system structure (US-centered unipolarity without hegemony) as either inherently durable and reliable, or as guaranteed temporary and fleeting; nor may it legitimately be assumed that the succeeding phase will be either more centralized or less centralized (say, bipolarity, multipolarity).
28 When two (or more) cultures that are characterized by quite different levels of civilization, economic development, and standards of living, exist in close proximity geographically, conflict can be expected. The classical example is conflict between the Roman Empire and the so called barbarian (Germanic, Sarmatian) tribes. While in the classical antiquity the conflict of such kind was manifested by military actions and violent invasions, in today's world the solution of conflict is represented by massive migration from the economically poorer countries and overpopulated areas. This situation is connected with other consequences.
29 When society is threatened by social disintegration, governments try to improve the situation with state interventions; but usually the steps of the state have adverse effect and make the crisis much deeper. The vivid illustration of such situation is given us by reforms of Roman emperor Diocletianus, trying to prevent the collapse of the empire by various administrative and economical reforms (inclusive the so called "edictum de pretiis"- edict setting maximal possible prices of various goods and services).
30 Global evolution of democracy depends on military cooperation. History shows that democracies that fail to work with others on an equal footing ultimately fail. The evolution of modern democracy is marked by successful military alliances, in particular the Anglo-Dutch alliances of the 16th-18th centuries, the Anglo-American special relationship, and NATO since 1949.
31 Economic innovations may economically benefit a society and particular groups, but have a negative impact on social structure. The introduction of long-haired sheep (Great Cheviot) into the highlands of Scotland in the early 19th century was undoubtedly an economically profitable enterprise for English sheep-owners, the local landowners in Scotland, and the wool industry in Britain. However, that process caused a socio-economic upheaval for the native population, exemplified by land evictions, collapse of traditional economy, and destruction of social fabric of the clans.
32 Climate changes lead to social changes. Periods of geological activity (violent volcanic eruptions) and dramatic climate changes (several "little Ice Ages" of prolonged droughts) have produced famine and social disorder. The 1813 volcanic eruption in today's Indonesia created a year of no summer in the northern hemisphere that was accompanied by famine.
33 Wars generally occur between contiguous nations that differ in language, religion, world view, dress, or wealth. Wars generally involve belligerent pairs which have been, more often than not: contiguous (vs. distant); heterogeneous (vs. homogeneous) with respect to either language or religion/world-view, sometimes also "race," dress, ethnonym; civil (vs. "international"); divided over at least economic issue, usually land ownership or unequal personal wealth; with at least one participant animated by a militant ideology (religious, racist, nationalist, political).
34 When overconsumption prevails, we can expect economic decline, ecological devastation, moral decay and finally, social disintegration. The classical example of such situation is [that is debatable] the decline of the Roman Empire. Today's world is facing the threats of the same kind.
35 Women are very often catalysts in the early stages of revolutionary upheavals.
The French Revolution (the march to Versailles), the Russian Revolution (the initial strikers), The Chilean Counter-Revolution in 1973 (the pots and pans demonstrations).
36 Epidemics play a great role in the evolution of the modern age. History charts the evolution of global plagues such as the recurring cycle of Black Death, that reduced the populations from China to the Atlantic coast by 1/3 to 1/2. The plague's onset was due to human encroachment into the endemic rodent population of central Asian during Mongol times, and the resulting human plague was made worse by a population explosion and the exhaustion of agricultural land. Climate change may also have played a role here.
37 When a ruling elite attempts to reconstruct a society on elaborated or complex principles, the turn of events tends to be the opposite of expectations. Marxist elites at the beginning of the XX century, held responsible for the baleful civil strife and decimated in the mid-century.
38 When strong political or intellectual actors challenge the tenants of a society's religious worldview, then ethnic strife, community friction, and criminalization usually follows. The classic example is provided by the decline of the Renaissance in Italy and other countries.
39 In the past, when social institutions no longer provided perceived justice, public trust or security, rampant superstition and growth of cults led to the emergence of new religions and new social institutions. Both Rome and Sasanian Persia exhausted their resources and corrupted their governments in their long military struggles against growing barbarian threats. Rome collapsed and was transformed into the beginnings of Christian Europe and Persia and its state religion, Zoroastrianism, collapsed under Arab Muslim assaults. Medieval Catholicism lost its long monopoly to the thrust of Protestant cults and technological changes spurred by the printing press. Are we now replicating this situation in which the developed counties are gravitating to violent fundamentalisms? Are we on the verge of a new religious transformation?
40 Charismatic and extreme personalities often lead combatants into wars; or trigger social-political alignments with long term consequences. In many cases, wars have been led by an extreme personality, autocratic and charismatic. U.S. President Roosevelt formed an alliance with the South and immigrant populations for WW II
41 Major defensive works (and, probably technologies) have not proved themselves able to guarantee the security of otherwise peace-oriented societies. The classical example here is what is commonly miscalled the 'Great Wall of China' -actually a line of defenses of varying depth and complexity, more or less maintained from the days of the Ch'in into the times of the MIng dynasty and even later. They never prevented raids of appalling frequency by Central Asiatic nomad tribes (as many as 400 by the T'u chije Turks!), including the Hsiung nu, the Hsi Hsia, the To-pa, or the Liao; nor did the 'Wall' pose any significant obstacle to more organized invasions by the Juchen Tungus, by the Mongols of Ghenggis Khan, or by the Manchu of a later day. The parallel with the Maginot line (and perhaps the Star Wars Initiative) is obvious.
42 Mobility of an economically motivated power is a determinant of the war aims they might peruse. In China nomad raiders typically sought booty from their sedentary neighbor, and withdrew to their lands when that had been obtained. Territorial conquest either emanated from sedentary societies- like the Tibetans during the T'ang dynasty- or from nomad empires united under a strong leader who managed to unite a multiplicity of tribes as did Ghenggis Khan.
43 The inventiveness of a society can be linked to its population growth. A remarkable change overtook Chinese society when it ceased to be one in which a great deal of ingenuity was manifested in terms of the invention of labor-saving machinery (or gadgetry) to become one in which such inventiveness had disappeared all but completely and innovation in regard to farming had disappeared. This shift occurred under the otherwise brilliant Ming dynasty when the Chinese population had just begun the explosive phase of its growth and when one can contend with Chao that the available agricultural lands were nearing saturation at the then feasible level of productivity. Increased reliance on labor-intensive methods of agriculture can be seen as a means of absorbing the extra manpower while yielding the increased amount of foodstuffs required by the growing population. I think this is an example the significance of which bears exploring further as we lurch toward ever faster increases in world population.
44 Challengers do not win global wars. The winners of each of these have been those belonging to the "oceanic" lineage; the challengers, who lost those contests, of the continental-non-democratic variety.
45 Strong powers conquer more effeminate (less military-oriented) societies and when assimilated, become effeminate themselves and thus become targets. Nomads are able to conquer more civilized and hence more effeminate sedentary societies, will then settle down among them and become effeminate in turn, to continue the cycle by being conquered by other nomads who have remained in the wastelands and hence still tough. This fits well for North African history on which Ibn Khaldun based his analysis, as well as other societies such as the To-pa empire or the Khitan Liao empire in North China. Mutatis mutandisthe concept raises questions regarding our own 'no risk' society.
46 History can provide guides and lessons but cannot be used to predict what will happen. (Source: Practicing History: Selected Essays, Barbara Tuchman, New York: Knopf, 1981). If history were a science, we should be able to get a grip on her, learn her ways, establish her patterns, know what will happen tomorrow. Why is it that we cannot? The answer lies in what I call the Unknowable Variable B namely, man. Human beings are always and finally the subject of history. History is the record of human behavior, the most fascinating subject of all, but illogical and so crammed with an unlimited number of variables that it is not susceptible of the scientific method nor of systematizing. (Source: Ibid.)
47 Population stability may be impossible. Population crash seems as likely as continued population explosion. It has already set in among the wealthy urbanized peoples of the earth and may well spread to the rest as they also urbanize and discard old rural family patterns of life. As far as I can tell no human population has ever been stable; balances always meant reductions as well as periods and locations of growth. [With exceptions such as Japan which experienced stable population c.1700-1850.]
48 Societies with an overabundance of lawyers are inherently unstable. France in the 1780s, England in the 1630s and 1640s.
49 The most reliable lessons in history are those that can be quantified. Some lessons do have a quantitative base; e.g. land tax data and population data- although here, too, the reliability of the data must be judged in the light of a more complete knowledge of the culture one is dealing with.
50 Global wars (those that moved from one continent to another) generally last for a generation. In the last 500 years there have been five periods of global warfare, each extending for one whole generation, the last being that of World Wars I and II.


Part 2 Questions for futurists (suggested by the history panel)

1 What are the circumstances that allow and, in fact, oblige international community to intervene in the affairs of a state?
2 The global economy: at what rate is the economy globalizing, and via which leading sectors?
3 How will the increasing inability of water resources to meet the needs of burgeoning populations affect social stability?
4 What value systems prevail? How do values systems of groups in contact match or differ? How are values inculcated?
5 What factors can influence the behavior both of individuals and society in the period of social change?
6 How will future solution of conflicts be influenced by information warfare, i.e. the ability of states with access to advanced computer and of the technology to defeat an enemy "bloodlessly" before hostilities on the battlefield start?
7 How can the poor share in the scientific and technical achievements already developed?
8 To what extent should we be attempting to predict specific future events and to what extent should we instead be attempting to understand long running general processes of change likely to continue into the future?
9 How will ecological, geological, and climate changes affect social stability?
10 Can we 'manage' the underlying processes of large-scale change, in order to produce (at least approximately) pre-intended outcomes? If so, how? When is it ethical to do so?
11 What factors can influence people's will to accept change? Are these factors only economic or are there also factors of spiritual substance (psychological, moral, natural altruisms of human character, education and fashion)?
12 What is the role of a traditional state organization when technological advances allow unlimited and global access to sources of information?
13 Should interests of a state as a protector and guarantor of the society as a whole prevail over interests, liberties and freedoms of the individual? If not, where and how can a balance be found which would satisfy and protect individual and society alike?
14 How can we identify and use meaningful historical precedents or analogies more effectively?
15 When will the economic utility of solar energy be able to compete with that of fossil energy and nuclear energy?
16 How is the degree of institutionalization changing at the global level, in what phases, and how is power concentration changing?
17 What will be the future impact of disease and plague? Can past impacts of disease help us understand this? Or has technology and medicine moved us into a new era of combating disease?
18 In an age where many scholars have become obsessed by the concept of globalization, to what extent will local or regional factors continue to play a prominent role in determining a wide range of issues upon which the well-being and the long-term future of various societies will depend?
19 Is multipolarity an adequate model for global politics of the next two-three decades?
20 What might be the social, economic, and political ramifications of burgeoning new technologies such as biotechnology and potential free energy resources?
21 Can a fallen civilization make a"comeback" after a period of decay and inability to prosper? (Civilizations or cultures have by some scholars, like Ibn Khaldoun or Giambattista Vico, been claimed to undergo a cyclical development.)
22 At each development or application of a new and untried policy, how does it correspond with the sociocultural paradigm and mentality of the society, and what are the possible patterns of its adaptation for the existing polymorphic structures?
23 What is the role of a traditional state organization when economic trends lead to integration beyond the traditional borders?
24 What is the "moral right or obligation" of one state to intervene into the affairs of another state?
25 Is it possible for any government or non-governmental organization to inspire society to undergo desirable change (e.g. more ecological way of living, limiting pollution and wasting, the more fair distribution of goods and social property) without using any violence? Would these actions be compatible with the elementary principles of a free, open society? By what means could such transitions be realized and accelerated?
26 Democratization: at what rate and in what areas is the world becoming more democratic?
27 What will be the consequences of the increasing division of the world's population between the educated and computer literate and the ignorant? What will become of people no longer needed to do the world's work?
28 What new groups and shared identities seem to be increasing their hold on human emotions and loyalties? What groups are loosing their hold?
29 Will groups with faster population growth rates swamp those with slower rates?
30 How does world opinion rate the global agenda, and what are its priorities; how do they shift?
31 Do such factors as climate, access to sea transport and geographical isolation influence economic growth and developments of nations in the 21st century?
32 To what extent do policies of global scope depend on reducing the current war-incidence rate to zero or near-zero? Can the policies succeed regardless of the continuation of the current war pattern? If directed at altering that pattern is there suitable comprehension of the pattern's complexity and durability?
33 What is the influence of physical geography on the future development of nations in the world?
34 At each development or application of a new policy, ask "who wins and who loses" as the development evolves or the policy is implemented.
35 If modernization is a goal of development, should the strategy include a natural, slower development, or should it be "shock therapy." What are real costs and benefits of each approach?
36 To what extent can traditional cultural and behavior patterns retain significance in shaping development of different societies?
37 How important is accurate historical understanding to the development of democracy or the determination of social policy and military practices?
37 To what extent should traditional (rural/pastoral) societies "modernize" to "catch up" with improved socio-economic conditions which prevail in other countries or regions?
39 What might be the social, economic, and political ramifications of the growing crisis of meaning?
40 To what extent do policies of global scope recognize the fact that the current world system is unipolar but not hegemonic, and to what extent does it takes into account the possibility of a transition, perhaps rapid, toward greater or less centralization.
41 In appraising any new innovation leading to new differentiation of the sociocultural structure, what are the potential means of sustaining integration of the society and the balance in its relation with other states?
42 Can democracy withstand fundamentalism?
43 Will the suspension of democratic governance be necessary to manage future global plagues?
44 What technological advance could be mastered and applied by large numbers of non-elites to change the social structure?
45 What can one project about the struggle between fundamentalism and the new educated spirituality movements?
46 Can only a few people inspire great, non-violent movements to change the society and cultural order, as it was in the case of Christianity and Buddhism?

Last Updated: Oct. 09, 1997