Is it Possible to Be Prepared for Different Scenarios of the Future?


During the TV debates, organized by the "Russia 24" TV channel and the Valdai Discussion Club within the framework of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, experts, politicians and journalists discussed the "Future Preparedness Index". This project is implemented jointly by the Valdai Discussion Club and VTsIOM. Its task is to analyze regularly the countries readiness to respond to the challenges of tomorrow, their role in the future scenarios, competitiveness for a variety of economic and political criteria, development of industries and social infrastructure.

Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club, noted that the main challenge of this rating is to understand whether it is possible to be prepared for different scenarios of the future.

According to Fyodor Lukyanov, Research director of the Valdai Discussion Club, for the first time in quite a long time the picture of the world future became very cloudy, and the main task of the Index is not only to count the points, but to select the criteria, which are necessary to understand preparedness for the future.

Valery Fyodorov, General Director of VTsIOM, noted, that the calculation of the Index presumes taking into account the already existing ratings and indicators, prepared by authoritative international organizations.

Andrei Fursenko, assistant to the President of the Russian Federation, expressed the opinion that it is wrong to rely exclusively on existing ratings. As a rule, all ratings are based on one or another extrapolation system from the existing state of things, he noted.

The main attention of the participants at the discussion was given to the criteria, which are necessary in order to understand the readiness of states for the future.

Experts agreed, that natural wealth does not guarantee the state's competitiveness in the future. According to Valery Fyodorov, those countries that today are considered leaders in terms of availability of natural resources, in 10-15 years can be either average performers or even outsiders. He explained that the rating for this parameter takes into account not only the availability of natural resources, but also two other key factors - rational use of resources and total waste processing.

The "Education" criterion was also considered during the TV debates as one of the most important. Valery Fyodorov explained, that this criterion includes the expected duration of studies, the proportion of people with higher education, the share of foreign students from their total number in the country, the level of national expenditure on education, the level of literacy of the adult population, the number of universities in the top 100 best educational institutions of the world, the number of winners in international olympiads.

Andrei Fursenko emphasized, that today's education is a person's motivation for lifelong learning, which is related to the issue of labor productivity.

According to Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian Studies, Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe at Georgetown University, the readiness of countries for the future will be determined precisely by the ability to train the workforce for the 21st century. She noted that overcoming of the educational schism in society is the main problem in the US.

Alexander Ivlev, Country Managing Partner for Russia, EY, agreed with the decisive role of education in the countries' success in the future. He noted, that those countries that can create conditions for the development of talents, will develop the youth and prepare them so that they can live and work effectively in a new society; these countries will become the leaders of the future.

Akiyoshi Komaki, Moscow Bureau Chief, Asahi Shimbun newspaper, drew attention to the fact that the "Society" criterion should take into account the growth of elderly disabled people proportion. He stated, that despite Japan's leading position in terms of the average life expectancy of its citizens, Japanese society is rapidly aging, and this is a serious demographic problem.

According to Andrei Fursenko, a huge achievement of the project is that one began to talk about future preparedness, and it is a real attempt to establish a system, not a fortune telling.

In conclusion, Andrey Bystritskiy announced, that the results of the research are expected in the autumn of this year.

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