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18 - Uncertainty and risk: dystopian futures

from Part Two - Exploring images of the future

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 July 2010

Jan Rotmans
Affiliation:
National Institute of Public Health and Environment (RIVM), The Netherlands
Bert de Vries
Affiliation:
National Institute of Public Health and Environment (RIVM), The Netherlands
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Summary

This chapter explores dystopian futures. After a summary of the uncertainties and risks discussed for each of the subsystems, integrated experiments are presented in which world view and management style throughout the world system are at odds. We also investigate the effectiveness of various response options and of the timing of certain policy measures.

Introduction

In the previous chapter we outlined possible futures which are based on coherent sets of assumptions about how the world system functions and how it is managed. These are called utopias and constitute the diagonal elements in the matrix presented in Figure 10.7. In a way, they are idealised and therefore implausible images of the future. In this chapter we first present some simulation experiments in which dystopian trends are explored with the integrated TARGETS 1.0 model. This is a prelude to the next section in which we analyse in more detail images of the future where world view and management style are at odds. These are referred to as integrated dystopias (see Chapter 11) and they are actually more plausible because they contain real-world tensions between diverging world views and management styles. Two major chains which cause feedback loops are presented as a framework discussing some interesting dystopian futures and to give an assessment of associated risks. Finally, we explore the adequacy of response actions in terms of intensity and timing, and the consequences of allocating insufficient investments to the food, water and energy sectors.

Type
Chapter
Information
Perspectives on Global Change
The TARGETS Approach
, pp. 395 - 416
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1997

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