At the WorldChanging blog, Alex Steffen has posted an article that could be the seed of half a dozen sf stories. He talked with novelist/activist Cory Doctorow about a number of topics, foremost among them the social and economic changes facing America in the future:
We were talking about the slow-motion collapse here in America, the looming climate crisis,the futility of survivalism; and we began to play with the thought, what kinds of heroes would actually do some good for the communities that get hit hard?Because if the ruins of the unsustainable are the new frontier, and if, as is already happening, the various economic and environmental transitions we face will leave many people unmoored from their familiar assumptions…a huge number of people are going to need help forging new ways of life.
What they come up with in answer to these problems, is The Outquisition:
What would it be like, we wondered, if folks who knew tools and innovation left the comfy bright green cities and traveled to the dead mall suburban slums, rustbelt browntowns and climate-smacked farm communities and started helping the locals get the tools they needed. We imagined that it would need an almost missionary fervor, something like the Inquisition (which largely destroyed knowledge) in reverse, a crusade of open sharing, or as Cory promptly dubbed it, the Outquisition.
Imagine these folks like this passing out free textbooks, running holistic programs for kids, creating local knowledge management systems, launching microfinance projects, mobilebanking and complementary currencies. Helping rural landowners apply climate foresight and farm biodiversity… In other words, these folks would be redistributing the future at a furious clip.
It’s a very engaging article, and definitely worth a read, if only for the huge number of SFnal ideas that it posits.