September 08, 2012

400-Word Scenario #6: Prisoners' Dilemma Nation

Patrick Marren
Partner

Ladies and gentlemen, I have 400 words of bad news: we may look back on 2012 as "the good old days of political cooperation."Read more

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August 16, 2012

Partisan Hatred Scenario?

Patrick Marren
Partner

A hypothesis: our current terrible state of political dialogue could be an equilibrium that satisfies far deeper emotional longings than any consensus ever could.Read more

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August 08, 2012

Search & Replace Theater!

Patrick Marren
Partner

Scenario Planning Fun With the Microsoft Word Search & Replace function: Are we turning Japanese?

I've taken a story from the New York Times and replaced all references to Japan, the yen, etc. with American/dollar terms. This is almost certainly NOT our future in many respects; it is difficult to imagine Americans tolerating stunted economic growth out of an Asian-like reverence for the elderly. But Japan IS demographically ahead of us in terms of the retirement cliff it is facing, so it's an interesting scenario exercise.

(Link to original story: ...Read more

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August 07, 2012

My Team's Okay, Your Team's Evil

Patrick Marren
Partner

Jonathan Haidt thinks we're weird. And as scenario consultants, we have to agree.

Actually, he thinks we're WEIRD - as in, "Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic." Or at least you live in a country that by world standards corresponds to such adjectives. And if you live in such a country, you may fall into the trap of believing that all moral questions ultimately can be resolved through rationality. That is wrong, according to him.

His new book The Righteous Mind: Why Good...Read more

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July 25, 2012

400-Word Scenario #3: Retirement Redistribution

Patrick Marren
Partner

A future scenario of mass wealth redistribution to a generation that just did not save enough for retirement.Read more

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July 21, 2012

400-Word Scenario #2: The Good Old Days of Gun Violence

Patrick Marren
Partner

July 21, 2042 (Fox/MSNBC News): The nation reacted with a mix of horror, outrage, calls for new laws, and debate over the Second Amendment as the scale of the latest mass murder came into focus over the past two days.

A confirmed total of 212 people, most in the greater Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, but some as far away as New York and Seattle, are apparently victims of yet another technologically sophisticated, targeted DNA/GPS/UAV attack.

A spokesman for the FBI could not confirm the motive behind the attack, which appears to be very similar to one last year that seemed to...Read more

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July 12, 2012

400-Word Scenario #1: Clawback World

Patrick Marren
Partner

Scenario planning requires imagination. Everyone likes to pretend that imagination is fun and games. But really, imagination is often very difficult and painful, because it requires us not just to take incremental steps along a pre-existing path, but to make up an entirely different path. (There are gradations of this: from some godlike perspective even truly ingenious innovative thoughts can seem boring and incremental, and from an quotidian perspective simple incremental steps can seem like the moon landing. But I digress.) 

However, imagination, pain in the posterior though it...Read more

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July 09, 2012

Frank Newman's Six Myths - #6: If the U.S. does not get its fiscal deficit reduced soon, U.S. Treasuries will face the same problems as bonds of Greece and Ireland

Charles Perrottet
Partner

Today we examine the sixth and final “myth” from Frank Newman’s book Six Myths That Are Holding Back America – the worry that U.S. Treasuries could come to have the same problems of lack of demand due to fear that it will not repay the bonds coupled with escalating interest rates.  As with all the myths, Mr Newman attempts to present the mechanisms that drive international finance.  The policy implications are rich and varied and the subject of legitimate debate.  Scenario planning can and should be used to evaluate alternatives.

U.S. Treasuries are widely regarded as the...Read more

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July 02, 2012

Frank Newman's Six Myths - #5: Deficits create great burdens of repayment and taxes for our children

Charles Perrottet
Partner

Today we examine the fifth “myth” from Frank Newman’s book Six Myths That Are Holding Back America – that the national debt will be a crippling load for our children and grandchildren to repay.

These days it seems that we get a constant stream of articles proclaiming that we are bankrupting our children and grandchildren through the massive national debt that we are compiling.  While the numbers are very large, the argument that it is a burden to our offspring implicitly compares the national budget to a family budget.  This is intuitively appealing, but misses...Read more

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June 29, 2012

Frank Newman's Six Myths - #4: If the deficit is reduced, then national saving and investment will increase

Charles Perrottet
Partner

Today we examine the fourth “myth” from Frank Newman’s book Six Myths That Are Holding Back America – the presumption that increased saving will drive increased investment.

By definition, the government will reduce the deficit when it spends less than it receives.  Everything that the government receives comes from the private sector (either from taxes or the sale of Treasuries) and everything that it spends eventually finds its way back to the private sector.  If the government collects more than it spends it creates “Government Savings”.   On the other side of the...Read more

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