Theorizing a post-capitalist future with Kim Stanley Robinson


Originally published at:


Put me down as one who’d never heard of it


“The forest has a voice, in this parliament” :sun_with_face:


“The chair recognizes Senator Lorax…”



What I want in a post-capitalist society is Iain Banks’ Culture. I imagine I’d like KSR’s vision as well, but I haven’t read the book.


Yes! Fully automated luxury space (anarcho?) communism!


See also; James Hogan’s Voyage to Yesteryear. A post-scarcity culture on a lost earth colony. Chiron is colonized by children born from uterine replicators and raised by robots, who have also set up the colony and do all the labour, freeing the humans from work. The children are raised with no parental biases.


The last time people came up with a genuinely compelling theory for what a post capitalist world might look like and how it might work was the late 1800s and was called ‘communism’. Which unfortunately so far hasn’t lived up to its early promise of producing a fairer, saner world. But if nothing else it did show that people are really interested in convincing alternatives to capitalism, and the next time someone comes up with a good one we can expect a similar level of enthusiastic response.


I heard about it during a Bill Moyers interview with Frank Wolf. It’s interesting, and has little offshoots all over!


It arguably did. Trade unions, superannuation, social welfare, health care, education, etc., were all outcomes of communism/socialism, and they made a hugely positive difference in the lives of tens of millions of workers.


Pretty much every tribal society in the history of humanity employed some form of communism. The problem is that it doesn’t scale up well.

Luckily many socialist ideas (including the ones you mentioned) scale up just fine.


Fair enough. Although you could argue that many if not most of those things were the products of fear of communism rather than the enactment of communism (at least in those parts of the world that didn’t end up with governments that overtly called themselves communist) - they were wins gained because the capitalists were terrified of communism, and felt like they had to give something to avoid a revolution.


I’m not so sure about that… Consider the signal-to-noise ratio of today’s information tsunami. It’s quite likely that several better ideas already exist.

… Paging @William_Holz


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