April 22, 2012

This Week's Scenario Blast from the Past: Nation-Building in '01

Patrick Marren

Despite our leeriness about extrapolation from the past, we do read a lot of history at FSG in order to write our scenarios. As Mark Twain wrote, "It is not worth while to try to keep history from repeating itself, for man's character will always make the preventing of the repetitions impossible." (Mark Twain in Eruption: Hitherto Unpublished Pages About Men and Events (1940, Bernard DeVoto, editor). 


'"...[The] Committee...reluctantly published the Gardener Report on 11 April. It caused instant national outrage.... No sooner had the phrases kill and burn...Read more

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April 21, 2012

The Future Is Now: Reading VINs from Space

Patrick Marren

Possibly frightening scenario fodder culled from the papers over Saturday morning coffee...Read more

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April 01, 2011

Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa: Some Notional Scenarios to Ponder

Peter Kennedy

by Patrick Marren and Peter Kennedy

Prediction is Difficult, Especially About the Future — Attributed to many

A wave of revolution is sweeping North Africa and the Middle East. Many people want to know what is going to happen next. Will it be good for the United States or bad? Will it result in peace-loving democracies or America-hating Islamist dictatorships? No one knows. It is important to remember at this moment that not even a single movement in a single country has yet achieved anything approaching what we would call “democracy.” The present is chaotic and...Read more

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November 04, 2010

Recession, Recovery and Scenario Planning: Which Way Now?

by Patrick Marren and Peter Kennedy  

Alas, we are not manufactured, in our current edition of the human race, to understand abstract matters — we need context.Read more

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June 18, 2010

U.S. Healthcare Scenario Planning: Imagining the Future Shape of Reform

by Peter Kennedy 

It already seems like ages ago that the healthcare reform legislation was the centerpiece of the nation’s political conversation. While the most vocal opponents of the Obama administration continue to call for a repeal of healthcare reform, most of the nation (based on the results of a May Wall Street Journal poll) favor giving the new law a chance to work. The Obama administration is hoping as much, with the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico alone absorbing an extraordinary amount of executive time and attention.

Meanwhile, the real substance...Read more

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August 15, 2009

The Big Mistakes Obama Has Already Made

by Patrick Marren

As the economy fails to recover instantaneously, and foreign enemies bluster, President Obama is taking increasing heat from expert critics. It is clear that his administration has made many missteps already in its handling of the economy, foreign policy, and virtually every other area. Some of these mistakes will take years, if not decades, for the United States to recover from.

All that remains uncertain is exactly what those mistakes will turn out to have been.

Even those considered great presidents make big mistakes. FDR tried to pack the Supreme...Read more

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January 30, 2008

Begging Indulgences: Bleak News from the Economic Front

by Robert Avila

FSG welcomes Robert Avila as the contributing author of this month’s FSG Outlook. Robert, an economist and former colleague, is an iconoclastic thinker, with a keen eye and a sharp wit. Robert warns that a soft economic landing looks less and less likely this time around.

Among political leaders and too many business writers there is a popular and dangerous belief that mere time and good will among central bankers will cure the global economy of the ills that it is facing: $100 per-barrel crude, the sub-prime mortgage rot eating away at global balance...Read more

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November 01, 2006

Global Scenario Planning: On the Road in the Middle Kingdom

by Charles Perrottet

Recently, I traveled to China for two weeks. Unsurprisingly, this trip personalized my awareness of an immense and different country. But, perhaps because of the amount of time I have spent working with scenarios over the past 15-20 years, it offered much more. China is beautiful, fascinating, and varied. Its future is, however, significantly less predictable than that of any other major country in the world today.

My visit began in the business and financial center of Shanghai, proceeded on a cruise up the Yangtze, and ended in the capital...Read more

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