Futures Research

The following pages stem from an earlier version and are not the translation of the present German version

P.H. Mettler
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RESEARCH, Designing


Shaping of Positive Futures



instead of







Specialisations: Long-range planning, futures research, ‘science, technology and environmental impact assessment' as well as societal sciences


Research with public as well as private funding (national, EU and inter- or trans- national)



Born 1941, Vienna,


It is not unlikely that the following spectrum of my research will appear as too ambitious because of my “societal” approach (I delineated the respective basic theory in my book “From Social Sciences to Societal Science and on to the Analysis of the Future of the Global Knowledge Society", Shaker Publ., Aachen, 2004, 480 pp, in German). There is no pretention to be an expert in any of these disciplines as they define themselves. What  I offer is expertise in “Interdisciplinary Societal Analysis of Interdependence” (after Sept. 11, many commentators required just that type of analysis):


- Scientific and technological futures, in particular in areas like nanotechnology, biotechnology, ICT, cognitive sciences, transport or medicine (health sciences) and in areas like technology assessment, including environmental impact assess­ment as well as technology transfer (within and between industrialized countries as well as to developing countries) [1] ;

- Political futures (e.g. for Europe, i.e. in particular the question of the French-German cooperation, European identity and new members of the EU; the Transatlantic Union as well as futures of developing countries [2] ).

- Economic futures, in particular for transnational conglomerates and world players, but possible fu­tures for globalisation as well as for agriculture, food or for (world-) trade [3] ;

- Social futures as e.g. distribution of wealth, life expectancy and population policy as well as the fu­ture of human activities and labour, the future of leisure and the future of sport, etc.;

- Cultural futures as e.g. the relationship between individuals and society [4] , the future of values and the future of criminality and corruption, etc.;

- Urban futures, in particular those of megapoles and the question, if they might be able to establish a politically relevant network amongst themselves, thus becoming the 4th pillar of democracy;

- Futures of peace and security or questions like: How will armament and the military, ABC-weapons and their political proscription, aerospace industry and SDI [5] etc. develop?

- Ecological futures, in particular manmade climate changes, weather doomsdays, water shortages and gen-manipulations of food and the human genome;

- Futures of consumption, marketing and leisure [6] ;

- Futures of the knowledge society (the home sapiens);

- Which conditions would allow world population to decrease to 6, 5 or even 4 billion [7] ?




Conventional cv


Studies at Stuttgart, Frankfurt/M., Göttingen, Paris, London, Tokyo and UC Berkeley, Ph.D. 1974, Habilitation (eli­gibility for full professorships) at Berlin Technical University with a book on the limits of French “planification”, 1979 . Consultancy (till today) to German ministries, ministries of other (also developing) nations, the EU & the UN system, enterprizes, NGOs and INGOs; teaching assignments at many universities in Germany, Europe and overseas. Scientific director of the Brussels/Paris based “Institute for Research on Multinational Corporations” as well as director of the Hamburgian “Institute for Work and Technology”. - So far I authored, co-authored or edited fourteen books (one, “The age of the future”, is in preparation) and I have written 206 scientific/professsional articles and 13 consultant-reports. - I am member of various national and/or international scientific associations, was repeatedly visiting professor, e.g. at the Universidad National Autonoma de México and Turku University of Eco­nomics (Finland) and serve on the advisory council of the Berlin Institute for Futures Research, the German Federation of Scientists, the Mexican economic journal “Problemas del Desarrollo” and of the Namur (Belgium) based PRELUDE (Programme of research and liaison between universities for development); further I am scientific member of the "Union of International Associ­ations", Brussels, president of the board of "Futures Management Group, Ltd., Eltville, Germany and honorary member of the Society For Future Projects and System’s Criticism, Münster, Germany. – In 2002 I co-founded the “Wiesbaden Futures Dialogues” together with the Young Chamber of the Wiesbaden Chamber of Commerce and Industry.





Unconventional cv, or How I came to be a futures researcher


In the public school in 1947 in Vienna, we were 44 boys, originated from 16 countries, 6 had German as their mother tongue, 18 knew more than two languages. Our biggest joy was to throw stones at soldiers guarding the Russian war memorial, till they once shot one of us. - When I was a little older I started to grasp why half of our family was gone after WW II had ended, why so many relatives lived somewhere on the globe (to be "anti" is honest, but sometimes a risk). And I learned how to travel (because we visited them) and that I only survived thanks to a fantastically helpful Dutch family. - Consciously, I did not meet my (Hungarian-Roumanian) father before 1955, when he returned from Siberia against all likelihood (but he had been turned into some­body else, like everybody, who was forced to live through comparable hardships). Finally I turned into that Transatlantic and yet European researcher of (world) futures I am today, because I can never forget either my first trip to France, which required, at these times after the war, some twelve permissions, or that the US wanted to send this young immigrant, who had already possessed so many nationalities, almost directly to Viet Nam … I try to work intra-cultural, as e.g., Europe - Ex-Soviet-Union or Europe - Muslim World [8] , whilst I submit that futures research should be defined by the following:


- futures research has to define itself within the dialectics between local and global (and between ecology, economy, politics, tradition-religion-culture and technology & science, etc.);

- Futures research has to ask: which reduction or even better dissolution of conflicts between which parties, relationships or things could be brought about by which means? A brilliant example is the high probability that our globe will be divided into only five blocks by 2070 (China, India, a Muslim Block, South-East Asia under Japanese hegemony and something like a Transatlantic Union, reaching from Cape Horn via Africa and Europe till Vladivostok) - just ask, which problems would result out of non- peaceful and -cooperative relations between them?

- Futures research has to be undertaken by researchers with broad experience in travelling, languages and different cultures (whilst e-media’s teaching still seems to be rather limited) and with maximally possible encyclopaedic knowledge in areas as far apart as natural-, cultural and spiritual sciences, but also science and technology, medicine and esotherics, etc.. They have to be peace-, environmentally and socially oriented as well as (auto-) critical and enlightened and methodologically firm, somewhat following the book Peter H. Mettler & Thomas Baumgartner, “Participation as Aid to Decision Making - PARDIZIPP - a (long-range) Planning and Futures Research Methodology”, Wiesbaden, 1997   [9] .




Pr. Peter H. Mettler, Ph.D., M.A.


Prof (em.) for long-range planning, futures research, ‘science, technology and environmental impact assessment' as well as societal sciences



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Recent publications (selection)


-        Europe’s Present Future Thinking: A Societal Science View on Future Geopolitics, Vortrag vor dem Professional Forum obiger Jahrestagung, inzwischen gleichnamig erschienen in „Futures Research Quarterly“, Vol. 19/3, Bethesda, Md., USA, 2003


-        Public discussion, i.a. with Michel Rocard, former French Prime Minister, at the summer university Hourtin, Gironde, France, on the topic “L’Europe: comment créer un espace pluri-identitaire? (Europe, how to create a multi-identity sphere?), August, 2003


-     The dialectic between object/problem and appropriate/available research method, in The First Prague Workshop on Futures Studies Methodology, CESES Papers 11 (Centre for Social and Economic Strategies), Praha, 2004, p. 5-15


-     Europa zwischen atlantischer Orientierung und Osterweiterung, Vortrag vor dem Europa­politischen Kolloquium der Hessischen Landeszentral für politische Bildung (sowie Leitung desselben), Rathaus Wiesbaden, 23. April 2004 (Europe between Atlantic orientation and Eastern Enlargement, paper given to the Europolitical Colloquium of the Hessian Centre for Political Education)


-     Complexity and the Millennium Project of the UNU, Vortrag auf der Jahrestagung des EU Network of Excellence on Complexity Research (EXYSTENCE), Helsinki, 11/04


-     The Coming Global Knowledge Society – How to Analyze and Shape its Future? paper presented to the 2004 World Futures Society conference, Washington D.C., July 31-August 2


-     Participant of the round-table “Quelle gouvernement de la societé de l’information?“ (Which government for the information society?), summer university Hourtin, Gironde, France, August 2004


-     The dialectic between object/problem and appropriate/available research method, paper given to the Centre for Social and Economic Strategies, Charles University, Prague, Sep­tem­ber 2004


-     Super Complexity or Just Another Kind of Complexity? Paper to be given to the EU Network of Excel­lence on Complexity Research (EXYSTENCE), November 2004, Helsinki


-     Von den Sozialwissenschaften zur Gesellschaftswissenschaft und zur Zu­kunftsanalyse der globalen Wissensgesellschaft, Shaker Verlag, Aachen, 480 Seiten (From Social Sciences to Societal Science and On to The Analysis of The Future of The Global Knowledge Society, Shaker Publ.,) Aachen, 2004, 480 pp


-     De nouveaux enjeux régionaux dans un monde incertain“, paper to the conference „Wallonie 2020 – Wallonie au futur“, Namur, Belgium, 11/03; printed in «Wallonie 2020», edited by Institut Jules-Destrée, Charleroi, 2005


-        Europe in the Global World – Relationship with Other World Regions, paper, given to the conference “The Futures of Europeans in a Global Knowledge Society – A Meeting Place for Europeans creating futures”, 14/4/05, Louvain, Belgium


-     Imaginable, desirable and possible futures for the western Rhein-Main-Region, 7th Wiesbadener Zukunftsdialog, 9/05


-     Can Europe develop an anti-model to Globalisation?, paper to the 10th Anniversary of training students of economics in Sopron, West-Hungarian University, Sopron, 10/11/05


-     Deutschland 2020 – Wie wir in Zukunft arbeiten und leben, Vortrag im Rahmen der Serie „Prominente Hautnah – Aktuelle Antworten auf Fragen unserer Zeit“, Köln, 2/11/05 (Germany 2020 – How we will live and work in the future)


-     The Coming Global Knowledge Society: How to analyze and shape its future?, in Futures Research Quarterly, Spring 2005, Vol., 21, No. 1, Bethesda, Md., 2005, p.51-68; in a more modern version: How to Analyze and Shape the Coming Global Knowledge Society, in “The Se­cond Prague Workshop on Futures Studies Methodology, CESES Papers 10/05, p. 116-129


-      Epistemology of Futures Research, in “Blickpunkt Zukunft”, No. 44/45, Oct. 05, p. 10-13


-      Entwerfen und Gestalten positiver Zukunftsperspektiven statt vorhersagender Prognostik für Regionen, Vortrag vor dem Kärntner Zukunftskongress „View into the Future“, Klagenfurt, 28/10/05 (Designing and shaping positive future perspectives instead of prognostics for regions)


-      Zukünfte Europas und Zukünfte des muslimischen Welt – mit Blicken auf die Türkei und den Maghreb – Divergenzen und Konvergenzen, Vortrag vor dem Arbeitskreis AUP, Breidenfelder Hof, Leipzig, 18/11.05 (Futures for Europe and futures for the Muslime world – with special views on Turkey and the Mahgreb)


-      Die Bedeutung der europäischen Peripherie und europäische Zukünfte, Vortrag vor der Universität Wien, Studienrichtung Ostseeraumstudien (Prof. Sooman), 1/12/05 (The importance of the European peripherie and European futures)


-     Europe in the Global World – Relationship with Other World Regions, paper given at the conference “The Futures of Europeans in a Global Knowledge Society – A Meeting Place for Europeans creating futures”, April 13/14, 2005, Louvain-la-Neuve/Brussels


-     Developments (dynamic scenario) till a possible/likely peaceful Four-Bloc-World in 2070, seen from an Occidental-Atlantic perspective, paper to be presented to the annual meeting of the World Futures Society, Chicago, August 2005


-      Bestimmungsfaktoren deutscher und europäischer Zukünfte, in FutureManagementGoup Update 1/2006, Eltville (Determining factors of German and European futures)


-      On the Future of Democracy, in Civil Society Handbook, Europahaus Eisenstadt, Austria, 3 pages


-      The Future meaning of “I am a (European) Citizen of our Common Globe”, in “Democracy and Futures”, Parliament of Finland, 2006


-      Outlook on inner security, when seen from the security business, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hamburg, 11.  09. 2006


-     Update der Wachstumsgrenzen, in Zukünfte Nr. 53/54, Berlin, Herbst 2006 (30-Years Update of ‚Limits to Growth’)


-     Versuch über die Zusammenhänge von Individuen, Kulturen und größeren bis größten Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgebilden – am Beispiel von Intelligenz und Kreativität, Vortrag vor der Zukünftige Technologien Consulting GmbH des VDI, Düsseldorf, 24. 01. 07 (Attempt at the relations between individuals, cultures and big to biggest social and economic entities – intelligence and creativity as examples)


-     Beitrag zur Podiumsdiskussion „Aufgaben für Wissenschaften und bürgerliches Engagement, die Bedeutung der Akteure und die Komplexität der Machtkonstellation“ auf der Jahrestagung 2007 der Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler in Hamburg: „Zur Zukunft der VDW“ (Tasks for science and civic engagement, the importance of stakeholders and the complexity of power constellations)


-     Aufgaben und Ziele Europas am Beispiel seiner Beziehungen zu Guatemala, Vortrag vor der Tagung der Deutschen Pugwash-Gruppe am 18. 02. 07 in Hamburg (Tasks and goals for Europe, exemplified by her relations with Guatemala)


-     Die mediale Zukunft als Gedankenspiel, Vortrag auf der Veranstaltung „Die universelle Achterbahn: Im Netz der illusionären Wirklichkeit“ im Rahmen der Feiern zum 80sten Geburtstag von Herbert W. Franke unter dem Motto „Art meets Science“, ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie); Karlsruhe, 5. Juli 2007 (An armchair-view on the ‘Future of the Media’)

View video [MediaPlayer] pdf


-     Future Geopolitics, paper presented to the annual meeting of the World Future Society, Minneapolis, July 30, 2007

Full text [PDF] pdf

Übernationale Strukturen und Französische Planungspraxis, Reihe Soziologische Forschungen der TU Berlin Nr. 5, 1982, 553 Seiten (Supranational Structures and French Planning Reality)

[1] see my lecture at UNAM „Informacíon Global, Sociedad, Economia y Politica”, Conferencia Magistral del Seminario “Economia, Sciencia y Tecnologia en el Umbral des Siglo XXI” del Instituto de Investigaciones Economicas, Ciudad Universitaria, México, 28/29. 09. 1998; as well as my lecture at the 1998 convention of the Association of German Scientists “Kapitale Begierden - Zur Zukunft des Verhältnißes von Technologie und Kapital am Beispiel der Mikroelektronik” (Capital Greed - On the Future of the relationship between Technology and Capital - Microelectronics as an example)

[2] see my articles:

a. „The future of the Transatlantic Union“, in „Blickpunkt Zukunft“, January 2000 (it also appeared as „El futuro de la unión transatlántica“ in „Problemas del desarrollo“ 123/Oct.2000, Mexiko City);

b. my unpublished order research for the EXPO 2000 in Hannover „Three Scenario for the Superpower Struc­tur in the Year 2070, with three intermediary scenario (2040) ‘On the Way to the Year 2070’ “

[3] as for the still growing world population, though with lower rates of increase, see Peter H. Mettler (ed.), “Science and Technology for Eight Billion People, Europe’s Responsibility”, Adamantine Studies on the 21st Century, London, 1995 (ISBN 0-7449-0125-1); and, more in general: Peter H. Mettler, “Werden wir total global? - Globalisierung - Ein Begriff und seine Bedeutung (Will we be totally globalized? - Globalisation - a notion and its meaning), in “Blickpunkt Zukunft”, August 1998

[4] in view of this topic I started internal preparations for a book with the working title “On the dialectic future of the relationship between the occidental individuum and the global society”

[5] though outdated today, see my contribution to Rainer Mackensen, Leben im Jahre 2000 und danach (How life will be in 2000 and beyond), arani Publ., Berlin, 1984: “Unsere äussere Sicherheit in den Händen der Militärs” (How secure is our security in the hands of the military?)

[6] see my unpublished order research for Arthur Anderson/Tengelmann group “On the Future of Retailing”

[7] see my unpublished commissioned paper for the international UNFPA/Villigst foundation conference „Migration and Civilisation, Cultural, economic and ethic dimensions of population policies”, 3/5.5.1999 in Schwerte with the title “Bevölkerungspolitik für 8 Milliarden Menschen?” (Population policy for 8 billion people?)

[8] not completely along that line, but comparable, is Peter H. Mettler and Werner Kremp, Chancen einer Transatlantischen Union?, Atlantische Texte Band 17, Atlantische Akademie Rheinland Pfalz, Kaiserslautern, Germany, 2002, 145 p.

[9] the book is not translated. But an executive summary was published as “Large-scale participatory co-shaping of technological developments; first experiences with PARDIZIPP”, in FUTURES, Vol.30, August 1998, Pergamon Press, Exeter, ISSN 0016-3287