New to this group + saying hello!

Jurgens email for the invite: REDACTED

im on the road till 31/8 but after we can do it for sure!

1 Like

Done. Liliana, I would recommend not to write private email addresses on this forum…

1 Like

I will be leaving soon to Brussels. Where do we meet? I am coming by car. Easy place for parking?

Waiting for you. I went to Barvis and then moved to Hector Chicken, I was hungry.

Hi, I have just discovered this group. I am a writer of fantasy, compiling a series of books about the creation of the Fair Land. The novels tell some of the stories of the characters who created the Fair Land, over a span of about 2000 years. They are informed by my take on history, specifically European and British history, and are more about the people who lived the history than the people who aspired to make it. The first trilogy was set at a time roughly equivalent to the Roman occupation of Britain. I have just completed the second, two-volume story, set a lot later in the fictional history, at a time vaguely equivalent to the 20th century. It is as much political fantasy as it is ‘science fantasy’ and explores many ideas and preconceptions that created the culture and economy we currently live in. It’s just a story, and I’m neither a qualified historian nor an economist, but writing it certainly gave me some insights into how we got to where we are and what the story of the Fair Land could be. I don’t know if this is of any interest to anyone in this forum. The two new works are at the publishers and should be available in the next month or so.

1 Like

Hi @SueRule, welcome and congratulations. My name is Alberto, I am one of the people who started the Lab.

People here will have diverse and wide-ranging interests, but what the forum itself is about is the economic thinking of speculative fiction. It the Fair Land series gave you views or ideas about that that you want to share, this is the right place. Would you care to make a post about that? If you do, you can put it anywhere, for example as a reply to this topic, and then I can help find a good placement for it so that other people can engage with your thinking. How does that sound? :slight_smile:

That’s quite an ask – but I will give it a go. The books are my own personal journey of learning and discovery, so I don’t claim any of what I have to say is new. But this is it.

The core insight I discovered is that the only reality is life and death and the natural cycles and systems that arise from mortality. Everything else – the concept of a ‘Fair Land’, or any other vision of how human beings interact with each other and the rest of life on Earth, arises from human imagination. It’s a story. It’s only reality derives from the fact that a sufficient number of people believe the same story that it has agency in human society. It is “true” because we behave as if it is “true”.

So “capitalism” is a story, and “communism” is a story. The whole body of economic theory is a collection of stories.

If economics were a science, the stories would be continually challenged by rival theories. We would be looking at what happens when those stories are enacted, and how closely aligned the lived experience is to the theory. We would be continually adjusting the theory in the light of new information. But once we drew battle lines between the rival camps of “left-wing politics” and “right-wing politics” that was never going to happen. Each side claimed ownership of the ‘truth’ and saw theories which disproved their own tenets as enemies to be shot down, suppressed or denied.

That’s not science. That’s religion. The ‘continual growth’ theory of capitalist economics and the rampant, nihilistic consumerism it drives has the same hold on human imagination as any other heirarchical religion which sets up groups of humans as interpreters of God’s will. It cannot be challenged. Criticism is blasphemy. Dissent is a punishable crime. If the lived experience does not fit the theory, those in power (which, in a democracy, can simply be the majority of ordinary people) would rather deny the lived experience than adjust the theory.

The first thing we need to do therefore is to make economics a science, rooted in reality. We need to define its aim – which I suggest is to create a system that enables human beings to survive, and live peaceably alongside each other (since we have the capability to destroy ourselves and the planet if we don’t live peaceably alongside each other.) The economic system we create to achieve that needs to continually be taking soundings against reality to adjust the theory so that it functions as a chaotically adaptive system able to work within the constraints of the chaotic adaptive system we call “life”. Kate Raworth’s “Doughnut Model” captures this far more learnedly than I can.

However, to lose the stranglehold of consumer capitalism and make the human behaviour change necessary for the survival of life on Earth, we need to be telling ourselves different stories. We need to go back to the root of reality, and re-discover our spiritual connection to warp and weft of life and death.

The story I subscribe to is that every human being is a sovereign individual. But we can only realise our potential as sovereign individuals by acknowledging that we are part of the chaotic adaptive system of life on Earth. That is what should govern our actions. When our actions negatively impact others and the natural world around us, they negatively impact on us too. We feel it in our bodies. It creates anguish in our large brains, to which different personality types respond in various ways – arrogant and aggressive denial, helpless despair and cynicism, or a courageous resolve to remain true to reality and re-write the stories we’re telling ourselves.

Humans are social animals - we cannot function as individuals without connecting to each other and to the culture shaped by our ancestors. But sovereignty cannot belong both to an individual and a nation. Thinking of ourselves as British or American, French or Russian, black or white, male or female, is helpful for building a sense of community, for understanding our past and how we belong together, but it is not helpful when it becomes exclusive and arrogant, when it starts telling a story that my group is superior to your group, or, worse, that my group has a right to steal the future from every other group. Culture and community should be about celebrating our humanity, not about oppression and dominion.

That’s about as good a summary as I can come up with.


Thanks for this! :slight_smile:

In fairness, that sort of happened up to about 1985. Caveat: economics can at best be a social science. Its theories are true in the sense in which, I don’t know, Plato’s Cave myth is true.

Hi everyone,

I’m Michela De Domenico, I’m an architect and a comics artist and, together with Marco Lo Curzio, we’ll take care of the graphic communication by Sci-fi Economics residence in Messina, by making the graphic communication of this experience.

I’m interested in different fields of research and I’ve deepened my studies in the relation among architecture and comics. I’ve also made comics for several Italian editors, storyboards for movies and street art works. I supports my research in the field of architectural design, teaching at the Messina School of arts “Basile”.

Our idea for the Sci-fi Economics of Messina is to made a storytelling divided in three part: telling about our territory, describe your experience, describe the ideas that will arise from, in a sort of graphic novel.


Hi All, I was thrilled to discover this group — and I assigned @alberto’s discussion of the economics of Walkaway to my students this week. I am teaching a course in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign that aims to help students practice imagining different politics, economics, and society (a course I call Future Politics syllabus linked here). I’m hoping that I will be allowed to teach this course again in the future, so I’d love any and all comments (perhaps on another thread about such courses or such pedagogy?). No pressure of course. I figure it is just worthwhile letting you all know that I am interested in what you all are doing and will be lurking around here a bit — in between grading student assignments. :slight_smile: Best to you all! Jake


Hello @jake, welcome!

Some lucky students, eh? Your course seems like great fun, good on you (and them)! Looking through your syllabus, I am honored by the inclusion of my post, and intrigued by your “the material world” heading. Can you explain the logic for bundling a discussion on (artificial) scarcity with one on feminism? And what is the role of Parable of the Sower?

Also: for the social credit-oriented part of the course, I would recommend considering Numbercaste by @yudhanjaya. It is well researched and well written. What matters most for you, it draws a credible trajectory from the existing financial credit scores and the companies that maintain them, all the way to a much more comprehensive, disturbing future system (the trajectory goes through Startupland, with its usual array of Valley VC types and tech reporters, and, less intuitively, the United Nations). Bonus points: the characters who are building the system believe they are “the good guys”, and make pretty good arguments that the system they are trying to replace is dysfunctional anyway.

Also: I did not know that Krugman had crossed blades with Stross! Do you have a reference? Also, do you have a reference for the K.S. Robinson manuscript commenting The dispossessed? They would make a fine addition to the wiki.

Something that might interest you or your students is that in the next month we will be starting work on the Worldbuilding Academy. This is a participatory effort to create an open source Worldbuilding Bible (aka Worldbuilding Canon); a description of an imaginary world that authors could set novels (or films, or games…) in, and that contains one or more economic systems different from our own. We are scheduling a webinar on what the core team is doing.

1 Like

I hadn’t heard about Numbercaste. This is great. I think that the relationship between AI/machine learning, pervasive data (including IoT), and surveillance is a powerful one — and it links to lots of previous questions about how societies control their members (for good and ill).

Parable of the Sower turns out to have been useful for (1) discussing graphic novels as a form of social criticism (we read the graphic novel and were lucky to learn that the author of the graphic novel, the adapter of Butler’s work, is here at the University of Illinois, so Damien Duff came to our class!); (2) and for stimulating discussion about human nature (it is very very dark work) especially after reading Ecotopia and The Dispossessed.; and (3) for ensuring that I am not assigning all works by white males (I am trying to be a bit more sensitive to the idea that visions of the future are contextual and also that my students should be reading visions from diverse figures).

Obviously the class is in progress (and probably will always be so). This time, I’m sort of seeing part of it as reactions to Marx’s idea that capitalism creates its own grounds for revolution and that lack of scarcity creates better people and a better society: from folks like Marcuse+Pohl&Kornbluth (lack of scarcity doesn’t really make for better people as long as we can create false needs), but also from folks like Robinson (for example Racial Capitalism) and, this week, from Russ on feminism. Anyway, that is how I’m thinking about it right now. Would be happy to talk more about it and to improve my thinking.

Here is the discussion between Krugman and Stross.

I will tell my students about the Worldbuilding Academy. Looks very cool and useful.

I’ll ask Robinson about his manuscript. I’m not sure what his plans are for it.

I also realized that y’all might be interested in the Creating a New Moral Political Economy project from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences


Hi! Sorry for the terribly slow reply, and thank you for the nice welcome. Some of my work involves a practical component in the sense that I conduct impact evaluations of food system programs; I would definitely be interested in learning more about the tech platforms and local initiatives. Producer groups locally here are very interested in thinking about how to build better digital infrastructure; there’s a concern that although many consumers (and producers) have flocked to online sales during the pandemic, demand for online sales will not keep up post-pandemic, and it will be costly for producers to maintain their online marketplace in a post-pandemic world. It seems that no one platform has really taken off for direct farm sales (at least not that I’m aware of).


Thank you, Alberto! I do not feel like I have any great ideas to add to the wiki at this moment, but I definitely look forward to learning about books I am not aware of and reading them. It seems that two main (extreme) themes in sci fi related to food systems are the post-apocalyptic small-scale self-sufficiency model or on the other extreme a completely homogenous high tech food that is just a bundle of nutrients. If no one has written it yet, I think we could find a journal home for a paper that considers what lessons sci fi has to offer for possible food system models. Are you aware of any such article? If not, would you and other folks on here be interested to write one?

1 Like

Hello, Liliana! Thanks for your message. I would be happy to connect and chat and learn more about what you are working on.

1 Like

Very interesting offer, thanks! I am not aware of the journal landscape in this area; in principle I am willing to collaborate, though we would have to find out exactly how my contribution can be meaningful. Meanwhile, have you seen this?

Hello everyone! I’m new here and would like to register for the worldbuilding webinar on December the 7th. However, every time I try to do it, the link to my contribution reads as “undefined” and leads nowhere. Also, there is no activity in my account and I do not get any confirmation email about the enrolment to the webinar. I could not find any specific subforum for technical issues, so please forgive me for posting here. Could anyone assist me with the issue?

1 Like

hi @hubert_brychczynski and welcome, you made it here :slight_smile:

The conversation ahead of the webinar has already started - you can share any thoughts you might have on what you would like to include - or just read and comment on what others have posted here:

pinging @matthias who might know what’s up and flagging the issue to @IvanC to follow up on it.

1 Like

Since others are still able to register successfully (as seen here), there is no general issue with the form. I’d need a reproducible case to help :expressionless:

However, since you already have an account, the simplest solution will be that you simply post in the registration topic. This is where everyone’s registration post goes, so just have a look at these and post your own in a similar format. For our software that will look the same as when registering through the form, and will count as you being registered for participation.

1 Like