Faulty predictions based on maintenance of the status quo
Standard "business as usual" scenarios do not take into account the dynamics of past change - the past rates of change - but rather use the present baseline as the measure which is projected into the future. They also generally fail to account adequately for humanity's capacity to adjust to change. These assumptions produces faulty outcomes when there has been a significantly increasing or declining rate of change in the trend over the historical period, or where the potential for behavioural adjustment is high.
Population projections have been continually pulled downward in the past twenty years from the overinflated projections based on birth rates whose upward trend was projected forward, ignoring the more recent small, but steady, downward rate of change. Similarly, predictions of energy use, resource depletion, extinction of species, and other such statistics have all been strongly adjusted up or down in recent years as a result of previously ignored or undetected rates of change in the observed trends, or unforeseen changes in individual behaviour.
Long-range planners should spend more time thinking about the evolutionary opportunities and implications of development trends, rather than assuming continued development of well-established technologies, infrastructures and ways of living.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.