Patterns of Potential Human Progress



The PPHP series is the flagship publication of the Pardee Center. Conceptualized and funded by Frederick S. Pardee, the series explores prospects for human development worldwide out to 2060. Each volume in the series considers a key aspect of human development, and explores how that aspect has evolved globally and locally over time, how it appears to be unfolding in the near term, how we might prefer it to develop, and how we can better ensure it develops in desired directions going forward. Each includes end tables with global, regional, and country-level forecasts through 2050 across the IFs issue areas (i.e., demographic, economic, energy, agriculture, environmental, and sociopolitical). The volumes, published by Paradigm Publishers and Oxford Press India, are available for free download below. The five volumes are: Reducing Global Poverty (2009), Advancing Global Education (2010), Improving Global Health (2011), Building Global Infrastructure (2013), and Strengthening Governance Globally (2014).

Each volume in the PPHP series concludes with a table of country and regional forecasts covering population, poverty and income, health, education, infrastructure, and governance variables. These tables represent the output of the IFs Base Case scenario. The volumes also explores a range of alternative human development scenarios in addition to the Base Case. Click on the links below to download forecast tables for each of the alternative PPHP scenarios using the most recent version of the IFs model, as well as PDF version of the volumes.

End Tables: PPHP 1 Endtables | PPHP 2 Endtables | PPHP 3 Endtables | PPHP 4 Endtables | PPHP 5 Endtables


The first volume in the Patterns of Potential Human Progress (PPHP) series takes a deep dive into a very serious issue facing the global community: poverty. Reducing Global Poverty looks at the character and the extent of poverty in the past, how it has evolved over time, and how it might develop over the next fifty years. Even though poverty reduction has been a dominant feature of international development work, many of these efforts fall short as they fail to see the issue of poverty in a broader, integrated context. In some cases, the immediate focus on achieving the UN's Millennium Development Goals by 2015 has overshadowed efforts to design and implement sustainable long-term strategies for poverty reduction and for other areas of human development. 


This volume begins by examining the spatial and social nature of poverty in the early 21st century. Then, using the International Futures integrated forecasting system, the authors—knowing what they knew at the time of publication—explore the world's current path, investigating how the drivers of poverty worldwide might develop and function in the future. Finally, the authors use the IFs scenario analysis capabilities to forecast the outcomes of various interventions and combinations of interventions to determine the best way to accelerate poverty reduction over the long term.


Education is our best means for consciously making the future better than the past; it strengthens us both as individuals and as a society. In the second volume of the Patterns of Potential Human Progress (PPHP) series, authors evaluate how education systems around the world are developing and may continue to develop in the future. Advancing Global Education details the ongoing growth of educational opportunity as well as levels of attainment across the globe. 


After assessing the global education transition in today's context, the volume explores what it might look like fifty years into the future, in 2060. Then, using the International Futures system, the authors examine how the global community might intervene to accelerate this transition and increase access to education more quickly. Finally, the authors attempt to analyze and describe the costs of interventions, and whether the returns from these interventions outweigh the potentially necessary trade-offs or setbacks in other dimensions of human development.


Though health lies at the heart of human development, questions about what drives sustainable improvements in this area remain very contested. Improving Global Health, the third volume of the Patterns of Potential Human Progress (PPHP) series, explores the story of human health over time. Using the International Futures (IFs) integrated forecasting system, the volume's authors attempt to answer such questions about the long-term patterns and drivers of health outcomes in the global context.


By first forecasting global health measures along the current path of human development, this volume then attempts to evaluate the effectiveness and sustainability of potential interventions in the health system over the long term. Ultimately, the authors explore how these alternative health futures—achieved through various forms of interventions—might affect broader economic, social, and political prospects of countries, regions, and the world.


Though other human development systems often garner more attention from the global community, infrastructure is the foundation, the backbone of all other efforts. Building Global Infrastructure, the fourth volume of the Patterns of Potential Human Progress (PPHP) series, uses the International Futures (IFs) integrated forecasting system to explore how infrastructure systems are developing today and how we might expect them to do so in the future.

“We forecast that, if we follow the current path, by 2060, most developing regions will achieve access rates to improved water and electricity that approach or even exceed those of high-income countries today, while access to mobile phones and mobile broadband will approach near universality much sooner,” says Pardee Center Senior Scientist Dale Rothman. According to the volume, though countries will likely improve their infrastructure networks substantially in the future, the current path points to millions of people without access to basic infrastructure, even by 2060.


Governance provides the framework for most facets of human development. Strengthening Governance Globally, the fifth and final volume of the Patterns of Potential Human Progress (PPHP) series, considers recent changes in the character of country-level governance around the world, the differences that alternative long-term patterns in security, inclusion, and capacity could have for human development, and how the global community might intervene to shift away from weak governance, as well as the insecurity and stagnation that such weakness encourages.  

The volume's authors will evaluate current governance trends and forecast how country-level governance around the world might change and impact other areas of human development over time. The volume specifically examines the challenges facing developing countries as they anticipate global challenges and attempt to focus their governments on development-oriented, rather than predatory national policies. 

This volume will be published during the first half of 2014. Check the Pardee Center blog or Twitter feed for updates.

Download Executive Summary:
PPHP5 Executive Summary