Kim Stanley Robinson presented a fascinating depiction of a 2065 world of environmental and social utopia. Unlike most futuristic fiction, it was neither dystopian or focused on the effects of a technological advancement (Gattaca, Truman Show, Wall-E, Feed, Minority Report). I enjoyed this change – it felt more genuine, more plausible, and therefore highlight fundamentally different issues. It left me with the question: why can’t we live like those in 2065 El Modena?
One of the major events this novel relied on, was the downfall of capitalism and the elitist class. It proposed a world where people lived communally, agreed to laws that restricted wealth and development and disbanded corporations. While this sounds ideal – I believe if we look at any period of history, this concept of Marxism/Communism never truly works, because it means that the powerful/wealthy people within society have to sacrifice their way of life for the good of strangers. While we may hold ourselves to this sacrificial ideal – when it comes to implementing it, issues such as family, privacy, and liberty almost invariably become the dominant force. This is especially true in America – a society built on individualistic ideals (freedom and liberty).
It is safe to assume that KSR never meant to predict the actual downfall of capitalism, but rather critique and contrast our rapidly divergent society of haves and have-nots. However, I argue our current status quo is inescapably due to human nature, always wanting more – an unfortunate modern equivalent of survival of the fittest. It is the fundamental human condition, not the current structures of society, that would prevent the happy, communal society presented in Pacific Edge from ever occurring. It asks too much of too many people who already hold too much power.
But, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming…
P.S. Sorry for no pictures, I couldn’t find any relevant to my response. I promise double next time!