The Dropout Economy

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Resilient communities hit Time:

Imagine a future in which millions of families live off the grid, powering their homes and vehicles with dirt-cheap portable fuel cells. As industrial agriculture sputters under the strain of the spiraling costs of water, gasoline and fertilizer, networks of farmers using sophisticated techniques that combine cutting-edge green technologies with ancient Mayan know-how build an alternative food-distribution system. Faced with the burden of financing the decades-long retirement of aging boomers, many of the young embrace a new underground economy, a largely untaxed archipelago of communes, co-ops, and kibbutzim that passively resist the power of the granny state while building their own little utopias. […]

Work and life will be remixed, as old-style jobs, with long commutes and long hours spent staring at blinking computer screens, vanish thanks to ever increasing productivity levels. New jobs that we can scarcely imagine will take their place, only they’ll tend to be home-based, thus restoring life to bedroom suburbs that today are ghost towns from 9 to 5. Private homes will increasingly give way to cohousing communities, in which singles and nuclear families will build makeshift kinship networks in shared kitchens and common areas and on neighborhood-watch duty. Gated communities will grow larger and more elaborate, effectively seceding from their municipalities and pursuing their own visions of the good life. Whether this future sounds like a nightmare or a dream come true, it’s coming.

Time: The Dropout Economy

(via Global Guerrillas)

See also:

My Evoke post Dinner 2020.

Posts tagged “recession hacking”


  1. This article reads much like modern dystopian fiction from Cory Doctorow, Charlie Stross, and several others. Just read “Makers” or “Accelerando” to get a taste of this idea. Honestly, and nothing against the author of this article, but it reads like he’s lifted the more interesting bits from all the latest and greatest in dystopic science fiction. Honestly he should at least name check Cory as most of the core article ideas are already in his books.

  2. It reminds me of *Islands in the Net* by Bruce Sterling as well. But the author namechecks John Robb, who’s been writing about such things from a non-fiction angle for the past few years. The story here is that Time magazine is taking these ideas seriously.

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