Student Number: 206516430
Programme Name: Masters in South African Politics and Political Economy Module Title and Code: Risk and Scenario Studies SLP 420
Title of Assignment: What are the most important forces driving global change. How will these forces shape the political economy of the world by 2014 and which of these forces are most likely to affect South Africa and why?
This essay seeks to identify what the most important forces driving global change are; how these forces will shape the political economy of the world by 2014 and which of these forces are most likely to affect South Africa and why? However before attempting to achieve this requirement it will be explained why such concerns about the future are critical to interrogate because such is not common sense like many would assume. Not all people believe it is necessary to attempt to predict or even plan for the future because the future “is not in our control”, “no one knows about the future”. In fact, although all human beings do prepare potential reactions to anticipated events, whether they call it budgeting or planning, some, be they individuals, organisations or countries, are often caught off-guard by many events. The attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001 are cases in point. Therefore it is important for this essay to first briefly explain why we should interrogate the future; what methods we can use given the complex nature of social phenomena. It is only then that I will attempt to achieve the requirement of this essay because all methodological issues, which are useful for this essay, would have been covered in that first section. In order to answer the critical questions raised here I will first identify and discuss each force affecting global change explaining why I consider it important and how will it, in combination with other forces, influence global change. I will then identify and discuss those that are likely to affect South Africa in the next ten years and explain my choice of them. It is important to note in that regard that I will look at South Africa within the context of the Age of hope and Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative (Asgisa) because these are important concepts that will shape the political economy of South Africa in the near future. In a global world of growing uncertainties there seems to be increasing demand for planning about the future. Individuals, companies or organisations and even governments spend a significant amount of their resources trying to analyse what the future holds and how best to respond to future threats or reap the benefits of potential future fortunes such as looming increases in consumer demand. However, planning about the future is not a new thing and one can argue that it is as old as humanity itself. Throughout the history of humanity different religious groups and communities have sought the counsel of their prophets, fortune tellers and mediums who “informed” their respective communities about the future. That was very prominent in “primordial” societies in which governments were advised by mediums and prophets who were “experts” of the time. Although many have challenged the importance of such since the Enlightenment period, they do acknowledge the importance of planning for the future and one can argue that, to some extent, every human being is preoccupied about what the future holds including a simple plan about a meal. The question addressed in this section therefore is not whether or not it is important to confront or interrogate the future but given that it is no longer a prerogative of mediums, what methods do we employ in confronting the future. Following is a brief explanation of methods for predicting the future. This section is necessary so that one can be able to locate various academic works that will be quoted in this essay within their respective theoretical frameworks and therefore have a better understanding and ability to critique if...