005: Captain Picard - “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.”

In this fifth episode of The Future Is A Mixtape, Matt & Jesse discuss Peter Frase’s diaphanous, compact and idea-drenched work of “Social Science Fiction,” which revs up & rides out to the sweet page-count of 150 pages, and contains far more ideas than most books three-times its size (ahem, The Circle). Frase’s nonfiction book, Four Futures: Life After Capitalism, argues that there are actually four possible futures for humanity. The book accomplishes this task, ingeniously so, by threading together science fiction novels as well as marxist and futurist theories to see what aspects will appear in these futures, and how they might overlap or build off one another. The author doesn’t simply re-shuffle the easy card-deck of the Star Trek versus The Matrix techno-binary--that Yanis Varoufakis and other activist-thinkers often cite as the only two techno-futures available. Instead, Peter Frase offers up four possible futures: Communism, Rentism, Socialism and Exterminism. And by coordinating these “ideal types” upon the axis points of equity vs hierarchy and abundance vs scarcity, the author illuminates what these four futures are likely to give us.  

Mentioned on this episode:

How Captain Picard Likes His Nightcap: “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” 

And When Captain Picard Gets Communist-Crazy: The Earl Tea Techno Remix

Peter Frase’s Four Futures: Life After Capitalism

Matthew Snyder’s Apologia Pro Vita:

Verso Book Series (Correction - ABCs of Socialism Is NOT Part of the Series)

Peter Frase’s Original Jacobin Essay that Became the Basis for His Debut Non-fiction Work, Four Futures: “One Thing Is Certain Of Is That Capitalism Will End”

Verso Book Talk with Peter Frase and Alyssa Battistoni Filmed in Brooklyn, NY

Four Futures: Four Original Novellas of Science Fiction - As Suggested by Isaac Asimov Who Prods SF Authors to Detail Four Possible Futures to Overpopulation

Jedediah Purdy’s “The Art of the Possible: Peter Frase’s Four Futures” in the Los Angeles Review of Books

Essays and Books on Doom/Paradise Future of Automation:

“The Robot Invasion” by Farhad Manjoo

Race Against the Machine by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

"Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please Don’t Fire Us?" by Kevin Drum

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

EXTERMINISM: Hierarchy & Scarcity:  

Neill Blomkamp’s 2013 SF film, Elysium

Bong Joon-Ho’s 2014 Sci-Fi Traintopia: Snowpiercer 

Paolo Bacigalupi’s Dystopian Science Fiction Novel: The Windup Girl

RENTISM: Hierarchy & Abundance:

Charles Stross’ Science Fiction Novel: Accelerando

Philip K. Dick’s Legendary SF Novel: Ubik

Open Source Ecology: “Open Source Philosophy” - Video Presentation

Open Source Ecology - Machines: Global Village Construction Set

SOCIALISM: Equality & Scarcity:

Pacific Edge: Three Californias (Wild Shore Triptych) by Kim Stanley Robinson

Mars Trilogy Book Series by Kim Stanley Robinson

Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy

Wanuri Kahiu’s Brilliant SF Short, Pumzi

COMMUNISM: Equality & Abundance

Bad Trope-Texts About the End-of-Work: Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano; Pixar’s Wall-E and E.M Forster’s The Machine Stops (the latter work is a novella that’s not only influenced Wall-E, but it’s become the prophetic basis for most dystopian views on non-work and technology)

Cory Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Cory Doctorow’s Essay in Locus Magazine: “Wealth Inequality Is Even Worse in Reputation Economies”

Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek: The Original Series

Picard’s Spaceship That Makes His Secret Hot Tea: Star Trek: The Next Generation

Episode Outro: Captain Picard in Star Trek: “Money Doesn’t Exist in the Future”