Futures Studies in the European Ex-socialist Countries



Being on the eve of the 21st century we came to the conclusion it is time to summarize the information on futures studies in our East and Central European ex socialist countries between 1960 and 2000 and make them known far and wide. From a historical perspective we intended to give a comprehensive and comparative picture about these activities in the individual countries.

This idea was inspired and guided by an important consideration. The researchers who have been active since the sixties have accumulated enormous experience, which is not yet compiled for internationally consumption for the future. It is our common interest today, that this accumulated knowledge not be allowed to disappear. Therefore, our fundamental goal was: to provide a stage for the members of the previous generation to present their activities and results to convey their store of learning to the next and the forthcoming generations and to help them amid their different but not less difficult circumstances.

Viorica Ramba Varga , from Bucharest, as her idea, worked out a Questionnaire for having systematized information on futures studies from this region. Her conception met with the future-oriented thinking and commitment of the two Hungarian futurists -Erzsébet Nováky andMária Kalas Kőszegi - we three (members of the World Futures Studies Federation) immediately set up an Editorial Board in Budapest. We finalized the Questionnaire and worked out the concept and the structure of a book.

To reach our aims we turned to the well-known and experienced futurists and scientific committees/societies of the countries in this region to participate in this historical work. Appreciating their known valuable futures studies activities we had every hope to be partners in this venture. Our intention was to have information from all of the European ex socialist countries. At the end we succeeded in collecting country studies from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the USSR/Russia and Yugoslavia.

Here we have to express our thanks for the valuable contributions of everyone ready to send us their materials in time. Special thanks for their enthusiastic participation.

It is a great honour for us thatEleonora Masini , founding member and president of the World Futures Studies Federation, identified immediately with the importance of our concept. She has been familiar with and interested in the futures studies activities all over the world including our countries for a long time so her great attention and empathy concerning this venture was just natural.

We hope to find among the readers of this book not only those who have been active in the field of futures studies in the past but everyone who is interested in our futures, who feels responsibility for it and who forms our common future, and is willing to deal with them on a scientific level. We also hope this group is a growing one, including people of different ages, mainly the youth.

The book consists of two main parts: i.e. country studies and the synthesis of the answers given to the Questionnaires. They covered the period of 1960-2000, divided into two parts, 1960-1990 and 1990-2000. The borderline was the fall of the Soviet Union and the socialist system, when the transition period started. The country studies are published in their original form under the name of the author as independent chapters. The Editorial Board madeonly some slight editorial corrections . The answers to the Questionnaire gave a good possibility to have a comprehensive and comparative picture about the futures studies activities and scientific results of the futurists in the given countries.

In carrying out this venture successfullyMária Kalas Kőszegi andErzsébet Nováky shouldered the work of searching for the responsible authors from the countries, keeping the contact with the foreign partners, and the editorial work of the book. The majority of the staff of the Futures Studies Centre at the Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration led byErzsébet Nováky also participated in the work. From them, however, we have to raise the name ofÉva Hideg who provided great help in finalizing the Questionnaire. The technical infrastructure was aided by this Centre.

The encouragement of UNESCO and the WFSF is also highly appreciated.

Finally, we must mention something else. It gave us a special happiness to be able to work together with widely known famous colleagues in the field of futures studies from different countries. That possibility helped us to bring out such a book, made by everyone, authors and editors, voluntarily, without any financial or other material compensation. This fact made us become real partners in this scientific field.

And now, as a conclusion one can see how people can work together, even internationally - neglecting any material interest in it. … Can this be the unselfish future already?