TED Conversations

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

What does your utopian future look like?

Is your utopia a capitalist or socialist economy? Doyou allow freedom? Is the world you know embrace technology but still in touch with culture and tradition and religion? Are yoir people left brained robots, right brained artist, or both.? Do you have a world federation or an earth confederacy? What is your world like by the year 2150?

Topics: future utopia

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • May 18 2013: My utopian future would be neither capitalist nor socialist, it would be an economy based on need where people were not paid to work, but to live. Just to produce and create would be its own reward. People would not own what they produce either, for the product or creation would be owned by everyone else who is producing and creating too. So, for instance, an author would be paid for living, and she/he would write just for the personal thrill of writing. The book written would not be owned by the author, but the society that paid for the upkeep of the author. Thus, the book (or a piece of music, a performance, a film, a technology, a type of medicine etc – anything produced or created) would be free to anyone who wanted to read (use, consume, watch etc) it. This would do away with careers aimed at becoming wealthy, and change them into callings whose goals are creative expression and self-satisfaction. It would mean that in a lifetime we could meet one challenge and then take up another, perhaps by indulging in life-long learning. It would mean sharing knowledge, not hording (and patenting) it. It would mean helping the poor not simply from charity but because we know that improving their lives would make them more productive and creative, and thus help the community as a whole. The political outcome of such a utopian system would be communities bound together through collective action, linked to other communities that contribute to the common good. Social capital produced and used like this ought to increase our chance of conquering diseases, going into space, ending wasteful conflicts, solving global problems etc. How to move from where we are in today to such a utopian future is what we ought to be thinking about and working for now.
    • thumb
      May 25 2013: Yeah! It would require a fundamental change in our value system, and maybe the beginning would be a deep understanding of the psychological constraints that keep us in fear based bondage to ownership and competition.
      • May 25 2013: Thanks. The way our society works now, we are rewarded (incentivized) for succeeding as owners and competitors; we are given more wealth and power. To change that, society needs to move toward incentivising (praising, supporting, rewarding) people for creating and sharing products, for working hard to meet those personal challenges that add to social capital, and for contributing to society's well-being. A few places we see people sharing (e.g., charitable giving, 'fan fiction', torrents, free lectures/university education online) and we need to expand that tendency, and to praise people for doing the 'right thing' whenever they do. That is changing 'values'. On a political level, these changes might be accompanied by a move from acting to achieve our narrow interests to meeting our shared interests. For instance, society has banned the sale of 'blood diamonds', and has outlawed slavery, it has passed rules about international human rights and granting asylum to refugees, etc. So, we can globally agree to do the right thing now and again. But we are weak when it comes to halting abuse inside another nation's borders (where tyrants hide behind 'national sovereignty') and we can't seem to get our act together to tackle climate change globally (ensuring all abide by the rules needed to halt it). So, there are some structural and legal frameworks that need to be addressed as well as changing our values. To me, its a matter of getting the 'incentives' right, and when we do they will motivate people and societies to change. How far away is that future?
        • thumb
          May 25 2013: Great food for thought - thanks.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.