Agency and Helplessness and Scotland’s Future

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Bottom Line
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Discussion Paper
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n the last two years, Scotland has dealt with two of the biggest economic shocks in history, the health, social and economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit.  

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Scotland must address the immediate challenges of recovering from the economic and social consequences of Covid, learning to live with it, and adapting to a world where the UK is not a member of the EU. This is in the context adapting to the existential threat of climate change, an ageing population and rapid technological change. We also need to recognise that we are living in a world of radical uncertainty, where challenges and opportunities will emerge that we don’t currently understand. Radical uncertainty is when we have incomplete knowledge of the world or the connections between our actions and their outcomes – and where there is no means of resolving that uncertainty. The dimensions of radical uncertainty include obscurity, ignorance, vagueness, ambiguity, ill-defined problems and a lack of information. This is a world of uncertain futures and unpredictable consequences.