The Technist Revolution
Rise of the Hypereconomy and Decline of the Traditional World
There are three major strains of technism.
- Market technism: labor-automated market economy.
- Social technism: labor-automated socialist economy.
- Pure technism: fully automated economy.
Then you have the level of political control: authoritarianism to libertarianism.
Then you have the level of economic control: regulatory to piracy.
Technically speaking, the absolute freest is "libertarian market pirate technism". No regulations, no copyright, no limits to what you can do so long as you don't violate life or basic property rights. Intellectual property cannot be protected, and you have no control over someone else's machine's labor. So if you create a franchise and someone else makes a product based off of it without your permission, you can only offer your services as recourse and try to outcompete them. You can't sue them or inhibit their capital from making those products. It's chaotic, but it's liberty at its purest. "Economic gulches" exist in the Americas and a few also exist in New Zealand and Australia. However, they are rare and typically do not last long as pirate states. But they all are defined as having private property, market-based capitalist economies, with semi-automated or entirely human-run ("organic") executives and managers. You're free to not join technates or syndicates. Likewise, they tend to be either liberal democracies or plutocracies, but there is no central government and whatever police force that exists is only there to protect property rights. This system isn't actually supremely different from social libertarian pirate technism in practice due to the nature of technism/automation, but its continuation of private property tends to make the pirate aspect a bit unstable.
The second freest is social libertarian pirate technism, and this is what Iceland has. Dr. Kaspar Ziegler has been to Iceland and he calls it the closest thing to a utopia in history. Here, communism has been achieved. There is no private property; all capital is commonly owned. Any property is entirely personal property (which is still protected). Metafarms supply an overabundance of food. All citizens are part of a nation-wide syndicate that runs and manages the economy. And the government is a direct ergatocracy that functions as an anarchist technate. There are no dedicated government buildings or offices. No president, no prime minister, no governor, no king. That said, it is beginning to shift away from ergatocracy towards a sapiocracy as artificial intelligence recovers and advances. Icelandic society is described as "FALC" or "falconist"— fully-automated luxury communism. Reykjavik isn't even the "capital" city anymore since there isn't such a thing as a capital city, though it's still called the capital. Likewise, there is no police force in Iceland anymore either. There really doesn't need to be one.
Since this is a pirate state, fabricators can create just about any good without intellectual property rights standing in the way. Scandinavia and the Baltics are moving in this direction, as are some wealthy "Pan-Congo nations" in southern Africa.
Then there is pure technism. These only exist in smaller areas as well. In terms of "liberty", they exist on the opposite end of the spectrum: humans are completely disenfranchised from all political and economic matters. AXI and AGI (typically non-sapient) are in charge of the economy and all labor is automated. Artilects and non-sapient AGI are in charge of political matters. Humans exist either to profit from this establishment or don't exist in such a society at all— much of the industrialized lunar surface is pure technist, where the human population is either very low or zero depending on the colony despite the fact you can see large swaths of lights from Earth.
Technist ideology gives the history of humanity and social relations as a never-ending evolution of labor-saving tools; the endpoint of natural human and economic evolution is the creation of a tool that completely relinquishes the need for human labor. Science fiction has long featured this tool and named them "robots" and "artificial intelligence," but it took some time for us to actually bring these things about— the first artificial general intelligence was created in 2029, though it was extremely weak compared to future iterations. Likewise, the first artificial expert intelligence was created in 2017. We had created general-purpose utility robots before then, but we lacked the necessary brain power to make them useful.
Also around that time, we saw the rise of cryptocurrencies. They had a false start in the 2010s, but in the 2020s they became a much more integral part of the global economy. Crypto requires high amounts of energy, and to prevent runaway climate change from taking hold, cryptominers lobbied to create an "energy surplus" based on solar and nuclear power. National economies became increasingly digitized, which required more energy. But in order to create more energy, they required greater labor pools that had ever-higher amounts of skill, which required automation— in turn, requiring more energy. Technists posit that the evolution of money itself reflects how developed a society has become and how close it is towards a state of maximum labor alienation— bartering systems are the realm of primates and other animals all the way up to precivilization societies. Starting with civilization and the increased specialization of labor, there will be more and more pressure for bartering to evolve a medium of exchange since certain workers won't have certain items that they need to trade for something they need or want— I may want a particular kind of shoe, but I have to trade a goat for it and I live near the sea far away from any farm because I'm a fisherman. The bartering economy either breaks down or develops money, which is always rooted in something real up until fiat currency comes into creation as a means of furthering credit and debt-based economies and keeping the ever-increasingly complex wheels of civilization going. Sooner or later, cryptocurrency will arise as a further evolution, and the value of crypto is often based on energy.
This intersection of automation and cryptocurrency became known as the "hypereconomy." The hypereconomy requires ever greater amounts of energy production, which is why our methods have exponentially accelerated in recent decades— as Kostantin knows very well (given that he grew up in this world), we were using coal and oil as our predominant source of electrical generation as recently as the 2020s. That's when solar and wind started rising to prominence. All throughout that time, we were also using nuclear power but it was the inefficient fission variant. It took us a long time to create viable fusion energy up until we actually accomplished it, and the first nuclear fusion power plants were created in the 2020s. Fusion and megascale solar proved incredibly lucrative for cryptomining and automation, so AI was used to further refine these methods of generation.
One thing led to another, and here we are in the late 2050s and early 2060s, already discussing the feasibility of antimatter and kugelblitz power plants. Some coal-based power plants are still functioning right as we're playing around with kugelblitzes and antimatter drives. The chaos of the 2040s and 2050s only served to smash petrostates more than it did to regress automation and energy generation.
A similar fate has come unto food production. Once upon a time, you only ate exactly what your hands produced— either through growing food or killing animals or scavenging for whatever you can find. This was a state of minimal alienation, and even this has multiple phases from hunting/gathering and scavenging all the way to agriculture. Once we began eating food that others produced on a larger scale, we required less effort on our own parts to stay alive and could contribute to society in different ways besides just food production or protection. This is likely what triggered civilization to develop in the first place— those who produced food became the wealthiest and those who protected the food were the soldiers. The rest didn't need to get involved in these fields except as extra workers to produce or protect food, freeing them up to do other tasks beneficial to their communities: creating pottery (to store food), keeping track of expenses (which developed into writing systems), educating the youth (with dedicated teachers rather than just wise elders), building new structures, and more. Labor specialization, in other words.
Over time, as societies grew and globalized, alienation increased— it became more and more common for a person to eat something that came from a different society, often from many miles away in a place they've never seen or even heard of. Alongside food came other goods: status symbols, better ways to produce food, spices, sugars, clothing, and more. More stuff that person didn't make. But sometimes, that person was involved. Maybe they're a farmer. Maybe they work in a facility to produces or packages certain foods. Either way, unless you're entirely self-sufficient with a garden farm, live on a farm, or live in a sustenance society, you likely don't produce what you eat, let alone anything else like your own home or clothes.
Eventually, there comes a point when the economy becomes increasingly automated in order to maximize food production with the least amount of labor and labor-based expenses. Planting, harvesting, processing, and packaging occurs without a single human hand. Often, once this is possible, it will also be possible to create metafarms— a type of skyfarm that is climate controlled to such an extent that a particular floor can simulate any condition on Earth. One floor will see tropical conditions in order to grow bananas, rice, and cacao plants, while another may have a temperate climate in order to grow apples, wheat, and maize. All of which will be located in a single metafarm and can be found in any place— whether it's a major city or an unpopulated region in Antarctica. Metafarms are fully automated and fully capable of smashing food biome differences that can drive global economic diversification. This is a state of maximum alienation.
As a result, the world is fast losing all sense of traditional values. Many of these traditional values are rooted in the land— the infamous "blood and soil" of Nazi propaganda exalts the peasant farmer who toils and struggles and demonizes the urbanites as completely detached from the land. Nazism in general was a far-rightist agrarian Romantic movement, essentially coming from a similar place as Pol Pot's agrarian socialism. As we've been attached to bucolic grasslands and untamed wilderness since our days as just another species of wild primate, we naturally feel kinship with them. Industrial civilization is only about 300 years old (if discounting the quasi-industrial Southern Song dynasty in China, of course). Compared to some of the traditions the industrial revolution supplanted and eventually destroyed, it's the toddler of social zeitgeists. But it's one godlike toddler. Nothing like the industrial revolution has ever been seen in the history of life on Earth (and life elsewhere, save whatever advanced alien civilizations may possibly exist). Humankind was utterly unprepared for the ultraviolent miasma of social, political, economic, and technological change it wrought even though a theoretical Renaissance-era technist could have predicted it was coming.
100 years ago, even 50 years ago, you had multigeneration families who knew that they were farmers, coal miners, policemen, housewives, laborers. Something recognizable. You had wizened grandparents telling their little grandchildren how the world has always been and how it still works. Parents teaching their children how to behave and become productive members of society. It was indistinguishable from what the Ancient Greeks may have done. Now it's gone. This aspect of the human experience is only found among antemillennialists, retropastoralists, and primitivists. There's no reason to expect your child will ever join a workforce that can function without them. And yet it moves. It's still changing. What's more, the change is speeding up.
Traditionalists call for all of this to be halted all for some mental security and peace of mind, but the world has already begun to transition into a technist state.
We're scared of what has happened, of what we're becoming. We don't know what's happening, really. And it's all happening so fast.
And so we come to the clash between Meki and Katyusha...