Three futures: Nightmare, diversion, vision

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Possible futures can, for simplicity, be reduced to three broad options: “Business-as-usual economic growth” (“Nightmare”), “Green economic growth” (“Diversion”), and “Ecological sustainability” (“Vision”). We critically discuss the feasibility and sustainability of each. We find that the Nightmare option will eventually be undermined by ecological deterioration and rising resource scarcity, while the Diversion option, we argue, is doomed to failure. The Vision option is for us the only viable future, but requires unprecedented socioeconomic changes. Regardless of path, either Earth biophysical changes, or socioeconomic changes—or possibly both—will be unprecedented. Hence, predicting the future, never easy, will become much harder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-67
Number of pages17
JournalWorld Futures
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Climate change
  • ecological sustainability
  • economic growth
  • forecasting
  • green growth.

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