State of the Future

One of the more interesting pieces of research that I have been following over the last decade is the State of the Future project which analyses 15 dimensions to produce the State of the Future Index which assesses the human progress as well as some ecological measures.

The State of the Future Index (SOFI) is a measure of the 10-year outlook for the future based on historical data for the last 20 years. It is constructed with key variables and forecasts that, in the aggregate, depict whether the future promises to be better or worse. The SOFI is intended to show the directions and intensity of change and to identify the factors responsible. It provides a mechanism for studying the relationships among the items in a system — how making a single change ripples throughout a system, in other words, creating some positive and intended consequence as well as unintended results. It has been produced by The Millennium Project since 2000.

The most surprising finding is that over the last decade the state of the world has actually improved. I know that this runs against popular perception and that is why I find it so interesting. The index is comprised of 30 indicators and defines 17 as improving, 6 as staying the same and 7 as decreasing. What is striking is that the human measures are mostly improving, other than measures of violence such as terrorism, however contrasted to this is the ecological measures which are all falling.

The report also has excellent country profiles which cover the progress of the country, future predictions which are based on past trends and lots of socio-economic measures.

If you find this interesting, then you should read the full report and explore the State of the Future’s website

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