III. Societal (EEPS) Foresight: Four Areas of Trends and Progress Visions
“Societal” is a term used by sociologists to refer to the social, economic, and political domains of change. When we include the issues and impacts of our Environment in this term, we get the EEPS (Environmental, Economic, Political, and Sociocultural) factors in our recommended STEEPS model of global foresight. Including Environment in our definition of “societal” is a much better definition of the word, in my view, as our Environmental issues and challenges have become increasingly important. We ignored our environment, or treated it as an “externality” for generations, but since the 1970s, and particularly with the recognition of global climate change, we see how unwise that has been. For those who like economic terms, our environment is all of life’s natural capital, and it must be sustained for generations to come.
With S&T and EEPS, we have our old two factor model, from Chapter 1, of science and technology use and human cooperation and competition as the two main factors that not only define what is to be a human, but describe the two fundamental ways we will rise up to solve the STEEPS problems we have created for ourselves, as a side effect of our accelerating advances.
We’ve already discussed the first three of these EEPS global foresight areas in other sections, so let’s just address one of these for now, sociocultural foresight, as it is particularly challenging, important, and abstract. We’ll add overviews of the other three areas in the next edition of the Guide.