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Is there any point in trying to predict future trends?

Keywords:

‘point’: benefit, purpose, motive, usefulness

‘predict’: make preparations for, speculate

‘future trends’: patterns of behavior and events that may happen in the future

Question requirements:

§  Students must discuss the viability, usefulness, advantages and disadvantages of trying to prepare for patterns of events in the future.

Pitfalls:

§  Students merely identify future trends or merely discuss if it is possible to identify future trends.

Possible Stands/Viewpoints

Yes, there is a point in trying to predict future trends

§   Especially if there is money to be made from it, especially for personal wealth and for economic health, it is beneficial to invest wisely or to save up for a rainy day. e.g. the Central Provident Fund in Singapore ensure that the ageing population has at least some form of monetary support that doesn’t not tax the government.

§   To maintain social stability, especially if future social trends like the influx of foreigners and their inability to integrate into society threatens future stability and safety. For example, measures have to be taken to control the level of immigration in order to stabilize society and to prevent discrimination and tension. Another example would be the liberalization of gay marriage laws in many countries which ensure the slow assimilation of such values into society to promote gradual change.

§   To ensure sustainability and viability of government policies to ensure that infrastructure and capital and plans are put into place early in order to carry out long term planning and preparation. E.g. Singapore is reclaiming land and making sure that there is enough housing to house the project 6 million residents in 2020.

§   To ensure survival and to create the best possible conditions for society to ensure future generations are taken care of. E.g. The UN has many policies in place to deal with the predicted harm caused by global warming in order to mitigate the effects of such a scenario if it happens and to try and reduce the consequences and harm of such a scenario.

§   It’s a basic moral responsibility to consider the future implications of today’s actions and to address potential problems in advance. We have to ensure that our current actions do not have any foreseeable negative effect on the quality of life enjoyed by future generations. E.g. Generation X and the baby-boomers blamed the previous generations for creating a lot of social, economic and political problems that they inherited and had to deal with, such as pollution and economic turmoil.

No, there is no point in trying to predict future trends

§  There are too many factors affecting the future thus it is pointless and impossible to accurately predict the future. There is a lot of room for human error as well. For e.g. the unstable political situation in the EU makes it impossible to foresee the economic future of the region and it is difficult to predict its future.

§   It can be dangerous because if you make wrong decisions it will lead to even more dire consequences. For e.g. Stalin, Hitler and Japan made bold predictions about the future and organization of the human race and society and caused a lot of bloodshed and suffering. It also led to dire consequences not just for the rest of the world but also themselves.

§  There are already enough problems now as it is and by grappling with present day problems we are already preventing future problems. We should focus on resolving present issues instead of spending our effort and resources on predicting future trends. For e.g. we should the issues of the environment, poverty, water shortages and war now instead of worrying about the future as we already lack the resources and motivation to solve many of the world’s pressing problems now.

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