Published On: Fri, Sep 14th, 2018

‘Wild cards’ are they coming out of the blue?

WillemstadCuraçao's economy is experiencing what the minister of Economic Affairs Dr. Steve Martina called a ‘The Perfect Storm’. The name The Perfect Storm derives from a in 2000 American biographical disaster drama film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and based on the 1997 non-fiction book of the same name by Sebastian Junger. The film tells the story of the Andrea Gail, a commercial fishing vessel that was lost at sea with all hands after being caught in the Perfect Storm of 1991. The film stars George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, William Fichtner, Michael Ironside, John C. Reilly, Diane Lane, Karen Allen and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. It was released on June 30, 2000, by Warner Bros.

The Perfect Storm of Curaçao is not a Hollywood film. The situation can be described as real-life events, which every day unfolds as dominoes falling apart on the ground caused by an unstoppable decline. Every day it is a different story. But who are the authors who cause ‘the Perfect Storm’? It is difficult to answer, but we know upon what was is stated in the National Development of Curaçao of 2015 that there are three challenges, which are awaiting the nation at the closing of December 2019: A) the termination of the management contract for the operation of Isla oil-refinery between PDVSA and the Isla Corporation, which represents the island government of Curaçao in the management of all oil assets, products and services produced by the oil refinery. B) the termination of bilateral offshore agreements of foreign countries with Curaçao, and C) The start of debt payments by the island government to its creditors as consequence of the debt restructuring agreement reached in 2006 as part of the final declaration, signed between kingdom countries so that Curaçao can become an autonomous country at 10-10-’10 within the Dutch Kingdom boundaries. How can we understand and get grip on these developments?

John L. Petersen, one of the world’s foremost futurists, is founder and president of the Arlington Institute. He is the author of Out of the Blue: How to Anticipate Wild Cards and Big Future Surprises? Strategies for 2012, and The Road to 2015: Profiles of the Future. He worked for National War College, the Institute for National Security Studies, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council staff at the White House. He also serves as chairman of the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation. Here he points out that everything is connected to everything else. He notes that we are living in an extraordinary, unprecedented time where the rate of change of many phenomena is growing exponentially, and furthermore these developments converge with each other in unexpected ways. The basic framework for keeping track of such accelerating, complex trends is the systems theory. Scenario building is an important tool for futurists. An important trend to watch is that human capabilities are increasing in many domains. He also describes a methodology to help organizations prepare for potential surprises. He anticipates a major phase transition for humanity so that the future will be very different than the past has ever been. Interesting is that one his projects. John L. Petersen worked in helping the government of Singapore to set up a center of Anticipated Surprises. In generic terms said: The Surprises Anticipation Center. It’s called RAHS, Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning system to anticipate future threats. Big data is use as a tool for forecasters. There are different question marks attached to this approach. It gives a false sense that you can duplicate humanity, or can model humanity, or to model reality. The scenarios or models of possibilities exist in nearly prescribe ways for the client. It is possible to get a lot of value out of these scenarios for practical reasons. But life is a lot more complex than scenarios will ever suggest. The technology and big data can be use out of perspective to broaden up possibilities. But humans can only keep track of four or five scenarios at the same time. Than humans start to get mixed up and they will give you a hard time as an expert for the building of solutions.

Sharnon Isenia, Willemstad Curaçao

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