“Economic Science Fictions”, edited by William Davies
Contemporary capitalism suffers from a grave shortage of alternative futures. While the dominant models of markets, of property, of money, of regulation no longer inspire much confidence, let alone enthusiasm, our contemporary fate is to repeat them regardless. Blank repetition of the status quo signals a society without the capacity to exercise economic imagination or economic design. The function of debt is precisely to ensure that such possibilities remain unexplored, creating bonds to the past, rather than blueprints for the future.
What we lack is ‘economic science fiction’, that is, the capacity to inject a modernist design ethos into institutions and practices which have come to feel permanent. This may also enable us to reconsider the present as the effect of past ‘science fictions’, and the on-going fictions as repeated by economists, financial services, accountants and managers. This is not simply about the need to revive utopian thinking, but also about the value of prosaic acts of institutional re-design, which go on in everyday situations. It is also about the need to open up the expert discourse of economics to a broader range of voices and styles, and to explore the overlap between economic ‘science’ and economic ‘fiction’. And it is an effort to re-capture the meaning of economic ‘creativity’ from its repetitive business usage.
This collection will bring together around 15-20 short chapters (circa 2,000-5,000 words each) from contributors inside and outside of Goldsmiths, from across economics and other social sciences, and also from creative and artistic spheres, such as creative writing and design.
Chapter topics should include:
• What is ‘economic science fiction’
• Orthodox economics as a ‘science fiction’
• Designing alternative futures: what do economic blueprints look like?
• The art of writing an ‘economic science fiction’
• Enclaves of utopian thinking: where (and by whom) will economic science fictions be crafted?
• Alternative currencies or alternative property rights as ‘economic science fictions’
• Postcapitalist organisations as ‘economics science fictions’
• Economic science fictions of the past: excavating dead utopias
• Prosaic acts of everyday fiction-building
Professor Ha-Joon Chang (author of 23 Things They Didn’t Tell You About Capitalism and Economics: A User’s Guide) has agreed to contribute a chapter. We can also confirm contributions from William Davies, Mark Fisher, Mao Mollona and Owen Hatherley.
Contributors are encouraged to write for a general readership and to explore ideas and opinions from a diversity of cultures and standpoints.
To submit a proposal or for further information, please email goldsmithspress[@]gold.ac.uk.
About the editor
William Davies is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at Goldsmiths and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Centre. He is author of The Limits of Neoliberalism: Authority, Sovereignty and the Logic of Competition (Sage, 2014) and The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Wellbeing (Verso 2015). He blogs at www.potlatch.org.uk.