Prediction as a Source of Social Power:
The History of Forecasting from the RAND Corporation to the Financial Crisis
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In her lecture, Jenny Andersson deals specifically with the history of Delphi, a particular method for forecasting or long range planning based on the production of expert consensus. She lays out the origins of this technology in the futurological research performed at the American RAND Corporation in the immediate post-war period, and follows its journey as a fundamental tool of power of until the financial crisis. She aims to provide an insight into the many ways in which contemporary societies govern futures, and argues that various forms of prediction are a key source of social power and that we therefore need to understand what prediction is, with what kinds of expertise and forms of knowledge it is performed, and in what way it exerts an influence on the governing structures of the present world.
Jenny Andersson directs FUTUREPOL at the Center for European Studies at Sciences Po. She is an economic historian with a PhD from Uppsala University in Sweden and a member of the French research council CNRS in Paris. She has published several works on the transformations on social democracy in the post war period: Between Growth and Security: Swedish Social Democracy from a Strong Society to a Third Way (2006) and The Library and the Workshop: Social Democracy and Capitalism in an Age of Knowledge (2009).