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An innovative new anthology exploring how science fiction can motivate new approaches to economics. From the libertarian economics of Ayn Rand to Aldous Huxley's consumerist dystopias, economics and science fiction have often orbited each other. In Economic Science Fictions, editor William Davies has deliberately merged the two worlds, asking how we might harness the power An innovative new anthology exploring how science fiction can motivate new approaches to economics. From the libertarian economics of Ayn Rand to Aldous Huxley's consumerist dystopias, economics and science fiction have often orbited each other. In Economic Science Fictions, editor William Davies has deliberately merged the two worlds, asking how we might harness the power of the utopian imagination to revitalize economic thinking. Rooted in the sense that our current economic reality is no longer credible or viable, this collection treats our economy as a series of fictions and science fiction as a means of anticipating different economic futures. It asks how science fiction can motivate new approaches to economics and provides surprising new syntheses, merging social science with fiction, design with politics, scholarship with experimental forms. With an opening chapter from Ha-Joon Chang as well as theory, short stories, and reflections on design, this book from Goldsmiths Press challenges and changes the notion that economics and science fiction are worlds apart. The result is a wealth of fresh and unusual perspectives for anyone who believes the economy is too important to be left solely to economists.


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An innovative new anthology exploring how science fiction can motivate new approaches to economics. From the libertarian economics of Ayn Rand to Aldous Huxley's consumerist dystopias, economics and science fiction have often orbited each other. In Economic Science Fictions, editor William Davies has deliberately merged the two worlds, asking how we might harness the power An innovative new anthology exploring how science fiction can motivate new approaches to economics. From the libertarian economics of Ayn Rand to Aldous Huxley's consumerist dystopias, economics and science fiction have often orbited each other. In Economic Science Fictions, editor William Davies has deliberately merged the two worlds, asking how we might harness the power of the utopian imagination to revitalize economic thinking. Rooted in the sense that our current economic reality is no longer credible or viable, this collection treats our economy as a series of fictions and science fiction as a means of anticipating different economic futures. It asks how science fiction can motivate new approaches to economics and provides surprising new syntheses, merging social science with fiction, design with politics, scholarship with experimental forms. With an opening chapter from Ha-Joon Chang as well as theory, short stories, and reflections on design, this book from Goldsmiths Press challenges and changes the notion that economics and science fiction are worlds apart. The result is a wealth of fresh and unusual perspectives for anyone who believes the economy is too important to be left solely to economists.

30 review for Economic Science Fictions

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    This is an extremely good book. I quite liked the premise of the book - that science fiction could be used as a device to imagine different economic realities. Obviously, this has happened already in a number of sci-fi works, but the difference with this book is that science fiction is being used as a tool to engineer a different economy. When you think about it, all economies are social constructs. The relationships within those social constructs are defined by our expectations of each other. If This is an extremely good book. I quite liked the premise of the book - that science fiction could be used as a device to imagine different economic realities. Obviously, this has happened already in a number of sci-fi works, but the difference with this book is that science fiction is being used as a tool to engineer a different economy. When you think about it, all economies are social constructs. The relationships within those social constructs are defined by our expectations of each other. If we can use a fictional device to imagine a change in those expectations, then we will arrive at a different outcome. Of course, that leaves the tricky issue of translating the vision into action. This is not unimportant, but we will go further if we set out with some idea of where we want to go. Not all imagined economies are benign. There is an interesting section of dystopian economic fictions. In many ways, I didn't find these too compelling. They seemed to take the current system we are in and then extrapolated forwards into an unpleasant future. There was some imagination about the object of the economy, but very little imagination about how a different construct could emerge. I found that to be unsatisfying. The issue of construct and engineering led naturally to the question of design. I found the section on design to be completely pretentious and off-topic. There were one or two interesting pieces, but I found them to be fairly unrelated to the question of economic science fictions. I know that there is a trend towards design futures, but so far I have seen nothing but top-down bunkum. This book continues that trend, and could quite easily do without the section on design. The section on fumbling for utopia is worth the price of the book. There are four accounts of a utopian economy, each of which has some appeal. Each of which repels in a different way. However, attract or repel, they certainly provide food for thought, and that is what it is all about, in my view. Each of the pieces in this section had elements of a future that I would like to go out and build. As a unitary work, this book has many drawbacks. The ending is weak. The narrative just stops. I felt that it could benefit from a concluding piece, and I am curious why it was omitted. As a collection of works, the styles of the various pieces are quite varied. Some pieces were quite engaging whilst others droned on in a pseudo-academic style. I didn't get much out of those pieces. The good pieces are really good. I was a bit confused about the purpose of the book. Perhaps that could have been made clearer in a stronger introduction? However, the basic idea - to use science fiction as a construct to explore alternative economies - is a good one. This isn't the definitive book on the subject, but it is a good first step towards one.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Zsombor

    This is an intriguing collection of essays, fiction, and even the occasional 'essay-fiction' exploring imagined economic futures. The seventeen pieces it comprises are of an uneven quality, which is to be expected. More importantly though, one wonders whether the thread connecting the writings could have been made stronger. Perhaps the intention of the editor, William Davies, was to make the volume as inter-disciplinary as possible, and this is why we get not merely essays on economics and scien This is an intriguing collection of essays, fiction, and even the occasional 'essay-fiction' exploring imagined economic futures. The seventeen pieces it comprises are of an uneven quality, which is to be expected. More importantly though, one wonders whether the thread connecting the writings could have been made stronger. Perhaps the intention of the editor, William Davies, was to make the volume as inter-disciplinary as possible, and this is why we get not merely essays on economics and science fiction, but also one on soviet prefab architecture, fictional interviews in a post-Brexit Britain, or even a poem. This is all very perspective-widening, entertaining, or sometimes even endearing, but it seems doubtful that it can really reach many people outside a very narrow circle of people. This circle probably excludes most practicing economists, including economists who are drawn to science fiction (I can not speak for humanists/science fiction writers, but I have doubts regardings their interests as well). Being diffuse as it is, an attempt which could have kickstarted a genuine and rigorous reflection on how science fiction can inspire or guide econo-political imagination - a question of some urgency for a civilization on the brink of ecological collapse - will instead probably fade into the background noise. It is a real shame. Some commendable highlights: - I found the book to contain an interesting collection of recommendations for sci-fi literature reflection on economic systems/organizations, especially in the first segment of the book. - My favorite texts were: --10. Prefabricating communism: Mass production and the Soviet city, by Owen Hatherley; --2. Future incorporated?, by Laura Horn; --13. Valuing utopia in speculative and critical design, by Tobias Revell, Justin Pickard, and Georgina Voss. --14. Shooting the bridge: Liminality and the end of capitalism, by Tim Jackson. --4. Automating economic revolution: Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Brian Williams. If you happen own the book: 1. Leave it on your coffee table. 2. Wait for a guest to find and inquire about it. 3. Do not let go of the thread of the ensuing conversation, even as you sail away from the actual texts.

  3. 4 out of 5

    fivestarbookreview

    Can science fictions affect real-world economics? What can economics illuminate about fictional worlds? Economic Science Fictions, a brilliant new collection edited by William Davies presents a convincing argument that economics and scientific futures are intimately intertwined. Including both academic articles and short fictions, from more obvious examples (#aynrand) to relatively obscure fictional works, the academic articles parse how fictional accounts can provide insight into modern economi Can science fictions affect real-world economics? What can economics illuminate about fictional worlds? Economic Science Fictions, a brilliant new collection edited by William Davies presents a convincing argument that economics and scientific futures are intimately intertwined. Including both academic articles and short fictions, from more obvious examples (#aynrand) to relatively obscure fictional works, the academic articles parse how fictional accounts can provide insight into modern economic theory. The fictional entries however, are the shining moments. Standouts include “Fatberg and the Sinkholes: A Report on the Findings of a Journey into the United Regions of England by PostRational” by Dan Gavshon Brady and James Pockson and the incendiary “Public Money and Democracy” by Jo Lindsay Walton. Each gradually reveals an alternate future in which the economics of our world have been altered radically, though in which the roots of the change are already deeply embedded in our present economies.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nick Klagge

    I love the idea of this collection, but it consistently didn't work for me. I thought most of the essays/stories were not very well written, and skipped a couple because of that. I think a better way to engage with the idea of "economic science fictions" may be just to read/watch sci-fi where the economics are an important part of the story. "The Dispossessed" and "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" come to mind. I love the idea of this collection, but it consistently didn't work for me. I thought most of the essays/stories were not very well written, and skipped a couple because of that. I think a better way to engage with the idea of "economic science fictions" may be just to read/watch sci-fi where the economics are an important part of the story. "The Dispossessed" and "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" come to mind.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    An interesting idea and a superbly varying blend of perpectives, fiction and non-, it never really lives up to its promise. The fiction is stilted and the essays are semi-interesting but never really penetrate or achieve great insight. The proposals are inane insights from futurists and a few hints that aren't developed fully. I wanted to like it but never felt I got much out of it other than its premise to think outside the box and hoping that others are doing that job better. An interesting idea and a superbly varying blend of perpectives, fiction and non-, it never really lives up to its promise. The fiction is stilted and the essays are semi-interesting but never really penetrate or achieve great insight. The proposals are inane insights from futurists and a few hints that aren't developed fully. I wanted to like it but never felt I got much out of it other than its premise to think outside the box and hoping that others are doing that job better.

  6. 4 out of 5

    August Bourré

    The essays are generally good, although a few of the scholars are not great writers and the copy editing left something to be desired. The fiction, with maybe two exceptions, was mostly quite bad. The AUDINT piece was was the worst. It was legitimately painful to read—trite, unconvincing, and very badly written.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joe Bambridge

    Some chapters require familiarity with the films/novels being referred to in order to get anything out of them. Davies’ introduction is very useful. Chang, Horn, Brady & Pockson, Hatherley, Johnson offered the most interesting chapters in my opinion.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nachtreich

    In realtà pure una stella, onesto.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Santi

    Very uneven. The fiction chapters do not work well. The best bits are the essays of the first part and the essay on the representation of post-scarcity in video games.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Perdana

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

  12. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  13. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gooddoggy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Deryn

  17. 5 out of 5

    Heather Bloor

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katelyn

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence

  20. 4 out of 5

    Georgina Voss

  21. 4 out of 5

    SAMYUGYA JAIN

  22. 5 out of 5

    Faustas

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  25. 4 out of 5

    Murillo Salvador

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sai Ariyanayagam

  27. 5 out of 5

    Girinath Rajoji

  28. 4 out of 5

    Race Archibold

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mister Sufi

  30. 5 out of 5

    Viola

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