The future of the Lowlands in 2025

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Introduction

The future of the Lowlands in 2025

Everywhere around the Western world, the events of 9/11 have triggered the start of significant changes in societies. While the exact impact has been different for individual countries, an increased sense of physical and social insecurity has been shared among most of the Western world countries. In The Netherlands, this effect of increased insecurity was further pronounced by the liquidations of Pim Fortuyn (2003) and Theo van Gogh (2004): both politically motivated murdering acts, which had not been experienced in The Netherlands since the beheading of Van Oldenbarnevelt in medieval ages.

These changes have given rise to heated debates within the wider society about amongst others the critical importance of freedom of speech versus openness and respectful behaviour towards other cultures. Looking at the Dutch: once a proud and outward (sea-)faring nation, they have long been famous for their tolerance, multicultural interests and their openness to publicly discuss and accept what may appear morally challenging dilemmas in other countries (such as e.g. the use of drugs, euthanasia etc.), which now appears to be gradually but fundamentally changing over time. The recent Dutch ‘No’ against the newly proposed European Constitution may only signal a symbolical start of what could turn out to be a profound and apocalyptic change in the history of The Low Lands when looking back at history in 2025…

Strategic dilemma: ‘Where to for the Lowlands?’ From this introduction, the strategic dilemma faced by the Lowland societies can be framed as:‘Where to for Lowlands: a change from (focus on) integration to ultimately disintegration and segregation?’


Research questions

1. Which are the critical parameters that determine and impact a country's social structure?

2. If it is assumed at this stage that a country's social structure can be impacted by any major change in the external environment (PESTE): then what are the expectations/projections for Western European countries (focus on The Netherlands?) regarding changes in its external environments? More specifically: what are the projections for the following underlying parameters:

Political structure: emergence of new political parties with anti-X-segments (e.g. X = Christians, Gays, others?); terrorism (& ideas on its anticipated impact: maybe political, social, economical?); European divide (& ideas on its anticipated impact: maybe political, social, economical?)

Economical structure: GDP development (including impact of China, expansion EU, others?); increasing pension & health payments; energy/oil crisis; changes in trade agreements;

Social structure: demographic changes (% of immigrants owing to higher birth rates, % of Muslims, aging of overall population); changes in migration;changes in lifestyle e.g. individualism vs collectionism;

Technology:; changes in interconnectivity and teleworking; sabotaging risks;

Environmental: climate changes

3. Which of the above drivers can we expect to have the biggest overall impact on the social structure of Western Europe in 2025? (Based on intensity of anticipated change and the importance of the driver)?

4. What is the possibility of a drastic changing political structure, and what will be the impact (e.g. Two party system, republic, end of democracy)

5. How can the level of education impact the future including the competition of high level academic research with other countries like China, USA?

6. What will be the competitive advantage of the Lowlands/western Europe, or do we loose all competitive advantages?

7. How will peoples feeling of identity (nationality) impact the possible changes within society?

8. How will different ethnic groups (Original Dutch, Moroccans, Muslims, Turkish, Surinam, etc) interact (or not interact):

- Will they integrate or create seperate communities?
- What will be the impact on violence and terrorism?

9. Which political issues will be dealt with on local level and which on a European or even global level?

- How does this affect political decision making in the Benelux?
- How does this affect the feeling of identity in the countries?

10. How will political and economical decision making in the countries develop, in order to catch up with the decision speed in eastern asian countries?

11. How will the increasing number of mobility problems (traffic jams etc.) influence the economical attractivenes of the Benelux?

12. How will the extensive legal hustle for potential establishing companies influence the economical attractivenes of the Benelux?

13. How will the gap between rich and poor develop?

14. What will an increasing gap between rich and poor do to the Western European society?

15. What actions are governments taking to increase integration? What is the expected outcome?

16. How will the global labour market evolve?

17. In what way would our society be affected by a major financial crisis (crash of real estate prices or stock markets)?



Driving Forces

Political
Global Labour Market
Global Terrorism
Islamic Fundamentalism
Increase of concentration of non-western immigrants in the lowlands
Increase of international conflicts against Muslim countries

Societal
Aging Population
Life in balance


Technological
Decrease in R&D investments in The netherlands
Decline in the numbers of high-tech skilled employees

Economical
Declining revenues from national gas fields in The Netherlands

Articles, Concepts, Links

Four Futures for the Netherlands

Lange Termijn bevolkingsscenario's voor Nederland

De Toekomst als inspiratiebron

European Statistics

Statline

Four futures of the Netherlands

Long-Term Population scenario's for the Netherlands

System Diagram

http://scenariothinking.org/wiki/images/4/41/Systems_diagram_final_Lowlands_2025.ppt

Four Scenarios


>
"Communist Lowlands" "World Diplomats"
Lowlands 2025 Scenarios.GIF
"Yankee Doodle Lowlands" "World Class Poverty"