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Four Futures: Life after Capitalism

por Peter Frase

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2691175,756 (3.89)5
'It is easier to imagine the end of the world,' the theorist Fredric Jameson has remarked, 'than to imagine the end of capitalism.' Jacobin editor Peter Frase argues that technological advancements and environmental threats will inevitably push our society beyond capitalism, and Four Futures imagines just how this might look. Extrapolating possible futures from current changes the world is now experience, and drawing upon speculative fictions to illustrate how these futures might look, Four Futures examines communism, rentism, socialism and exterminism-or in other words, the socialisms we may reach if a resurgent Left is successful, and the barbarisms we may be consigned to if those movements fail.… (mais)
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¿Cómo será la vida después del capitalismo?
Peter Frase imagina cuatro posibles futuros recurriendo a la economía, la sociología y al universo más pop de la ciencia ficción. Y manejando las grandes claves de las que depende todo: ecologismo, trabajo, robotización, lucha de clases. Su idea no es acertar, sino lograr que tomemos conciencia de cómo evitar lo peor de esos cuatro escenarios. De ello depende, sea el que sea, nuestro futuro.
  bcacultart | Oct 26, 2020 |
Filled with disclaimers about not being a work of futurism, this is nevertheless a nice piece of speculative fiction (or "speculative social science," to use the Frase phrase). A simple two axes do the job of postulating future political economies: scarcity v. abundance, hierarchy v. egalitarianism. Combining pairs serve to illustrate everything from a Star Trek-style communist utopia of plenty to an immiserated, "exterminist" world of rich enclaves and mass suffering.

Obviously, this isn't meant to be a comprehensive future analysis, but as a starting point for trying to build a better world, it's pretty good. ( )
1 vote goliathonline | Jul 7, 2020 |
As current events continue to instill a sense of impending doom over our contemporary lives, seeming to grow every year, I found Peter Frase’s book length essay, Four Futures: Life After Capitalism to be a fascinating and edifying read. In Four Futures, Frase describes the “two specters … haunting Earth in the twenty-first century: the specters of ecological catastrophe and automation,” which while “in many ways diametrical opposites,” exemplify our historic moment, “volatile and uncertain, full of both promise and danger.” A fascinating discussion, in the book Frase attempts to use the “tools of social science” as well as speculative fiction to examine how we imagation our future possibilities and conflicts.

Frase, in the end, envisions four options for the future of our society and uses popular culture as a lens to sketch out how they may operate, to paraphrase a quote Frase includes from Rosa Luxembourg’s 1915 statement regarding the fate of Bourgeois society, “two socialisms and two barbarisms.” Communism, which indicates an abundance of resources thanks to technological advances coupled with a broad equality, Rentism, in which those same technological advances exist but stay shackled to our current economic inequality, Socialism, in which scarcity remains a obstacle but equality maintains society fairly, and Exterminationism, in which the elite finally decide the majority of humanity need no longer exist. All in all this is, I feel, a useful way to look at discussions of imagined futures, and I will be referring back to these “four futures” in my own readings of pop culture dystopias/utopias.

I discuss Four Futures and other books in my latest entry of Harris' Tome Corner, The Anxiety of the Future #1, https://medium.com/@burk0277/anxiety-of-the-future-1-a-future-for-good-or-ill-fb... ( )
1 vote Spoonbridge | Feb 20, 2020 |
Super super short. So there's a lot of places where Frase simplifies or skips things, not least in the framing of "there are Two Crises, automation and climate change, and I'm gonna analyze them along these two axes." But given the limitations/focus I think this book does a pretty good job of imagining and contrasting different societies we could be living in.

Some of the key assumptions that the book rests on:
- automation will dramatically reduce the need for human labor
- capitalism will end, in the sense that it will stop being the basis for a functional society
Which I find mostly compelling, though I'm not sure how much our automation trajectory will be affected by ecological collapse (which are two crises he treats as orthogonal).

There's also some pretty fun stuff that's basically like, "hey, realistically we are kind of far away from seizing the state & the means of production. So in the meantime we can build strength by 'building alternatives to capitalism' and help people exist without depending quite so much on wage labor." Which is a kind of hopeful message, I think. In addition to avoiding the trap of "all we need is revolution," he also avoids a few others:
- ending capitalism will end sexism & racism
- ending capitalism will end hierarchies in general
- automation will mean people work less

And one final note: the four futures he envisions aren't end-points but different states that we can transition between. One could imagine a "rentist" future, with abundance and hierarchy, sliding into an "exterminist" future which then eventually transitions into "communism" for the surviving elite. Room for hope...? ( )
2 vote haagen_daz | Jun 6, 2019 |
A sprightly and astute read. ( )
  kencf0618 | Dec 16, 2017 |
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Frase, PeterAutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Souer, BobNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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'It is easier to imagine the end of the world,' the theorist Fredric Jameson has remarked, 'than to imagine the end of capitalism.' Jacobin editor Peter Frase argues that technological advancements and environmental threats will inevitably push our society beyond capitalism, and Four Futures imagines just how this might look. Extrapolating possible futures from current changes the world is now experience, and drawing upon speculative fictions to illustrate how these futures might look, Four Futures examines communism, rentism, socialism and exterminism-or in other words, the socialisms we may reach if a resurgent Left is successful, and the barbarisms we may be consigned to if those movements fail.

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