Future as public good

Gathering individual “visions of the future” and bring them into the public arena, in order to really protect cultural diversities. Here’s the new role of Institutions according to the famous anthropologist

A few months ago ICS interviewed the first “ministry of the future” in Europe. We’re now back talking about the future, again, with Arjun Appadurai, one of the most interesting thinker of our time. In this interview, the theme of the future leads the way to dream and hope.

Appadurai’s speech is not idealistic but, logic and concrete. If social reality is born (unpredictably)  from individual aspirations – and aspirations are born from different “visions of future” – it would be silly and mostly useless reduce or limit them.

Just as biodiversity, cultural diversity should be cultivated, because today I cannot know what I will desire tomorrow. And, in the name of an inevitably short-sighted present time, I might suppress exactly the “vision” that tomorrow could meet the needs that are still to come.  

The task of the institutions is then to guarantee equal dignity to all “images of the future” – to all dreams and hopes. To ensure that everyone has a “right to imagination” and individual aspiration, or the ability to deliver their own visions, from the bottom, in a public negotiation arena, where these visions can become decisions and shared perspectives. Because the future remains a public good, to imagine and shape together.



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