Many times we wonder what the future will be like. The new television series such as “The handmaid’s tale”, “The 100” or “Black Mirror” make us think about how our society will evolve with all the changes that modern life and the development of technologies are bringing to our day.
A dystopia is a pessimistic utopia. The world as we understand it today according to experts will probably be unrecognizable in 20 years. Television series are already coming with changes, but not everything is fiction. The so-called “Studies of the future” are already constituted as a whole field of study based on six pillars: planning, anticipation, timing, deepening, creation of alternatives and transformation. Through the study of the future we are not only making conjectures but predicting future problems can help us put immediate solutions. While many turn to studies of the future to reduce risks and avoid negative future, especially the worst cases, others actively seek to create desired futures, with positive visions of the future.
Steven Spielberg’s famous “Back to the Future” film, produced 30 years ago, has become a spoiler of reality. Flat screens and 3D cinema already existed in the McFly house. Wearables are here to stay and almost all major technology brands have some device in this line. Tablets are objects of daily life and if we see someone activating their phone through fingerprint recognition does not surprise us. Taking into account the amount of successes that the past fiction hit, it is not strange to worry about the unwelcoming world posed by the fiction produced today. Extreme pollution and nuclear waste, societies that create castes of people depending on their number of followers on social networks or that turn the suffering of others into a television show are just some of the dystopias where society can end.
Marc Augé, a famous French anthropologist has created the concept of “no places”. These would be spaces in which mobility predominates, that is, transit places that are the same around the world and that, according to Augé’s studies, will become increasingly common. Already today we find great brands that have the same commercial spaces in all parts of the world as DM, Zara, Apple Store or Burger King. This is a consequence of globalization, a phenomenon that consists in the global union of society, culture and market. On globalization there are conflicting positions between the defenders and the haters. The Spanish economist Jose Luis Sampedro defines globalization as “Constellation of centers with strong economic power and lucrative ends, united by parallel interests, whose decisions dominate world markets, especially financial ones, using the most advanced technology and taking advantage of the absence or weakness of regulatory measures and public controls“. As we understand by this text, we would set aside individual differences and local cultures for the sake of an artificial unity. Advocates on the other hand, such as free trade advocates, claim that increasing both economic prosperity and opportunities, especially in developing countries, will increase civil liberties and lead to more efficient allocation of resources. There are also the so-called “globalers” which propose a “democratic globalization”. They believe that the first stage of globalization, oriented to economic issues, should be followed by a stage of creation of global political institutions that represent the visions or aspirations of the “citizen of the world”.
Criticism of globalization emerged from the citizens of most of the countries of the world, from the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Nobel Prize for Economics Joseph E. Stiglitz proposes two alternative solutions to globalization: change the government of globalization and transfer the interventionism of rich countries to poor countries. On the other hand, there are many who think that globalization should be controlled, since the world would be dominated by multinational companies, therefore it is important to create a world government that is capable of creating a new and powerful UN, which encourages and promote dialogue or allow the alliance between civilizations.
We do not know yet how this process will end but we are ready to change it. Recycling, participating in the political life of our countries and through responsible consumption is only the first step. Utopia or dystopia? You choose!
Ana Fernandez Hernandez