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Science Fiction and Economics

In the article Can the Future Do Without Economic Logic?, Tim Swanson and Isaac Bergman examine the how, despite the ability of science fiction writers to foresee the future, they fail to fully understand economic law. Excerpts are pulled from Accelerando by Charles Stross.

Ever the second-hander intellectual mountebank, Stross manages to mangle a bevy of technical and economic gobbledygook and shoehorn it into an exponentially spiraling plotline.

However, Stross for all his valiant efforts falls short of delivering a futurist economics that is not subject to the economic principles we know today.

Meanwhile, Andart’s Anders Sandberg responds to the piece and asks an interesting question: Should Economics be Part of Hard SF?

Is it just me, or are the demands of hard sf rising? Once you just had to get the physics right, you could assume nearly any weird biology. Gradually sf authors have begun to build ecologies more conscientiously and make sure their aliens could have evolved. These days software is slowly getting more plausible. And maybe hard sf is starting to integrate more real economics too. Maybe a true hard sf author in 2020 will have to master not just physics, biology, computer science, economics, sociology, psychology – and write well, of course. We better invent brain enhancements quickly if we are to get anybody with that kind of expertise.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

3 Comments on Science Fiction and Economics

  1. Nice find, and an interesting piece.

    As much as I liked Accelerando, I found that the economics failed to pan out. I much prefer Mr. Wright’s bit in the Golden Age when it is discussed that the Silent Oecumene most certainly had money. That was one of the best thumbnails of a posthuman economic system I’ve read.

    We were told that the Information Age would be when information became currency. The deep we get into the Age, the farther away from that paradigm we seem to get.

  2. And then we’re surprised when publishers show a preference for fantasy.

  3. Fabulous find.

    Accelerando isn’t my favorite Stross by a long shot, but to lambaste it for not completely supplanting Economics 1.0 is special pleading.

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