chapter  14
Pages 9

I should perhaps start by expressing my deep reservations about the ability of the social sciences to predict anything in the future. I would like to illustrate my reservations with the following example from Swiss politics. About 15 years ago, Wolf Linder and Huyen Ballmer-Cao were asked to produce, in the framework of the Commission «Schweiz Morgen» (“Switzerland tomorrow”), some scenarios sketching plausible political evolutions in Switzerland.1 They produced three scenarios: «Es bleibt (fast) alles, wie es ist», «Europäisierung der Verfassung», and «Gesellschaftliche Vitalisierung der Demokratie» (“Everything remains – almost – as it is”, “Europeanization of the Constitution”, and “Societal Revitalization of Democracy”). Unsurprisingly, it is the first scenario that proved closer to reality, coupled with some elements borrowed from the second scenario on europeanization. Nevertheless, none of the three scenarios accorded much importance to two major changes observed in the last few years: the strengthening of neo-liberal ideas and policies, and the rise of the nationalpopulist opposition.2 This has nothing to do with the excellent quality of the authors’ work, but to bias related to the intellectual logic of this simulation exercise.