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European Futures

Five Possible Scenarios for 2010

Gilles Bertrand, Anna Michalski and Lucio R. Pench

This book is an innovative and highly original exercise in scenario building, the aim of which is to investigate the future of Europe. The scenarios investigated by the authors include ‘triumphant markets’, ‘turbulent neighbourhoods’, ‘the hundred flowers’, ‘shared responsibilities’ and ‘creative societies’. These are five coherent and thought-provoking images of Europe in 2010. Rather than present a definitive picture of the future of Europe, the authors highlight the range of possible futures, and the factors and actors that are likely to shape them. Written in a narrative style, the scenarios are grounded in a rigorous analysis of the main trends affecting Europe’s future, including demography, technology, globalisation and post-modernity.
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Chapter 4: Scenario 4: Creative Societies

Gilles Bertrand, Anna Michalski and Lucio R. Pench


CHAPTER 4 2/10/00 3:43 pm Page 1 4. Scenario no. 4: Creative Societies Keynes feared the advent of the affluent society. ‘Must we not expect a general “nervous breakdown”? ... For we have been trained too long to strive and not to enjoy.’ With hindsight we can see that Europe did indeed suffer from this malaise, and the wave of strikes and urban unrest at the turn of the century could easily be mistaken for a continent-wide nervous breakdown. Disaster seems to have been averted, but it is still too soon to say whether the ambitious reforms of 2005-2006 will deliver the brighter future promised or whether they have set Europe for ever on the road to decline. In the eyes of their supporters, who remain in the majority, the reforms have returned man to his rightful place at the heart of economic development and laid the foundations for a new social solidarity, based on a new ethic of human quality and individual fulfilment and on a rejection of the materialism and obsession with productivity of the twentieth century. To others, the continent that was once the cradle of Western civilization is well and truly dead, the victim of its inability to grasp reality and its refusal to adapt to international economic constraints. The social situation in Europe at the end of the last century was verging on the absurd. The gap between rich and poor was widening and the television news ran stories of soaring stock market profits alongside...

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