We are the Sci-Fi Economics Lab. Inspired by science fiction, we nurture and support new, radical ways to think about the economy and economic policy.
Economists, politicians and business leaders, it seems, have given up on trying to imagine completely different economic systems. But we have not.
And neither has a small group of brainy, visionary science fiction authors: Cory Doctorow (peer production and abundance in Walkaway), Bruce Sterling (nomads + cheap open source technology + reputation servers in Distraction), Neal Stephenson (phyla in The Diamond Age), Peter Watts (tons of insights from biology in the Rifters trilogy), and others.
We organize a meeting of minds where we can learn from each other what future economies might look like. And maybe even how we can help bring them into the world.
We are part of the Deep Demonstration on Long-Termism. This is an initiative by EIT Climate-KIC, aimed at showing what a long-term thinking society (and economy) could look like.
We are on the lookout for “viable mutants”: economic models different from your usual late-stage capitalism, that can nevertheless survive and thrive in a late-stage capitalist economy. We wish to study them, and understand if they can be building blocks for a more humane economy.
This study is highly participatory. You can take part in it by engaging in discussion on our forum, and participating in our series of webinars.
We have assembled a community of economists, sci-fi authors and readers, to build a world that can serve as the background for science fiction works. In collaboration with Nebula-nominated author Yudhanjaya Wijeratne, this has taken the shape of the Witness, a seasteding megacity floating on the oceans of a post-climate change planet Earth. Witness is the functional equivalent of the Star Trek universe or the Harry Potter universe, with two differences. First, the city is partitioned into Distrikts, each one organizing its economy according to its own paradigm: one Distrikt is capitalist-libertarian, another runs a commons-based peer production economy, a third one is a sort of Nordic social democracy on steroids, a fourth one is inspired to the economic institutions created by the Benedictine movement in the early Middle Ages, and so on. Vivid desscriptions of economic institutions such as currencies, markets, trade, central banking and so on make the stories set in Distrikts feel real, allowing readers to imagine their own life in different economis systems.
Second, the world of Witness is participatory and open source. It can be freely used by any creator to set their work in. Several sci-fi short stories set in Witness have already been written.
Witness has it own website at https://witness.scifieconomicslab.net.
Books & Authors
The Lab has its own online forum, animated by a small, but active and friendly community. To join it, simply head here and reply to any topic. You will be prompted to create an account on the edgeryders community platform.