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This blog wishes it be known that the opinions presented herein are the sole responsibility of the author, and do not represent the feelings, opinions, ideas, or conclusions of any affiliated organization or group. Additionally, the author has chosen to keep the blog confidential during the Olympic Games 2008, as the reaction of the PRC towards foreign opinion remains ungauged. Thanks for reading.
Beijingfuturesdreams, 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

August -- The Futures Present Opinion: The Four Futures Frameworks

Throughout our examination of the Futures Images of the 2008 Olympic Games we will refer to a categorization system as taught at the "Manoa School" of Futures Studies. This system can be employed to assist a researcher in imagining the a more general future to which an image or artifact belongs. After an artifact or image has been categorized, a researcher can begin to extrapolate the consequences of the future to which it belongs, and thusly place the artifact or image in a constructive context.

We introduce here the Four Futures of the Manoa School with a brief explanation of their components.

I. The Continued Growth Scenario

Perhaps, one of the most popular future scenarios, the Continued Growth Future is founded on the assumption that most current trends will remain stable. General upswings in economics, technologies, and social trends are extended along the length of the analysis and become the foundational drivers for theories relating to the future.

II. The Collapse Scenario

This grouping defines any number of futures in which current trends begin a decent. Many of these scenarios require a catalyst-- a factor or event that is inter-related with all components of the given future. At the on-set of the overall down-trend the catalyst serves to send critical elements of the future into a state of decay. Sometimes, in an effort to break from a downtrend, innovation will result in novel applications a technology.

III. The Controlled Growth Scenario

The Controlled Growth scenario is a state of the future in which many trends are artificially held in a static. This scenario normally involves an instutitute able to bolster trends that may
are in a downtrend, and limit trends which would otherwise be in growth. By utilizing leverage in all factors of the future in question, the institute and its policies are all-encompassing.

IV. Transformational Scenario

By its very definition, transformation involves the change from one state of being into something different. In regards to Futures Studies, this transformation results in a state so fundamentally different from the original that it must be examined under a new set of trend variables. As the new variables which will help define the transformational trend are not alway clear from the onset of a recognized transformational scenario, the original trend enters into an undefined state until these variables become clear.

It should be noted that many "Futures" are actually composites of elements from each of the outlined scenarios. Any future may represent a majority of elements from one scenario or another, but rarely will one future be comprised solely of elements from one possible scenario.
Therefore classification of a particular future, and any artifact thereof, should be considered only as a general definition, not as limiting factor.

More information concerning the Four Futures of the Manoa School can be found in the readings of the Manoa School Archives, here.

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