Four New Zealand scenarios are presented which range from an increasingly insular society that finds little benefit in diversity other than separating ‘winners and losers’ to one where multi-cultural aspects are heralded as a cornerstone of the nation’s identity.
Within these future possibilities our relationship with the natural environment and its resources, on which so much of our current economy depends, can be seen as available for short-term exploitation, at one extreme, or for stewardship and longer-term conservation.
Similarly our approach to being a future ‘maker’ or ‘taker’ of new technology (such as genetic engineering, biotechnology and information/communication technology) and also the models of governance that we choose will markedly influence which, if any, of these future directions we migrate towards by 2055.
Various possibilities for the evolution of the economy are explored. These New Zealand scenarios suggest that from 2007 looking forward, we could move in a few decades towards any of:
A - an economy with unevenly distributed benefits (80% to minority elite: 20% to the rest), or
B - an economy with equity and very different ‘genuine progress’ indicators taking the place of GDP growth targets
C - we might stay globalised and ‘hit the wall’ of resource and ecosystem limitations (after several decades), resulting in economic crash and social conflict
D - avoid the social conflict ‘at the last minute’ by creating a localised, inward-looking lifestyle on a depleted resource base.
Use of these scenarios
Scenario uses will depend on the needs of organisations and the time available. Here are four potential ones:
Scenario planning or thinking has an established and successful heritage, with deep roots in the development of decision-making.
Work in progress: four future scenarios for New Zealand. Developed by the Landcare Research Scenarios Working Group; documented
with additional commentary by Rhys Taylor, Bob Frame, Kate Delaney and Melissa Brignall-Theyer. 2nd ed. – Lincoln, N.Z.: Published by Manaaki Whenua Press, 2007.