Sunday, July 23, 2017

CfP: Science Fiction and Economics

Robots, Rayguns, & Rent-Seeking

Vector is pleased to invite proposals for short articles (2,000-4,000 words) exploring science fiction and economics (as well as economic history, economic sociology, economic anthropology, economic humanities, finance, political economy, IPE, and other adjacent disciplines and fields). Please submit abstracts of 200-400 words to by 31 August 2017. If accepted, the submission date will be 31 May 2018 [TBC].

Is mainstream economics in crisis? The discipline is interrogating its own foundations with increasing ferocity. Pressure is growing, from inside economics, and especially from without, to diversify methods and perspectives -- and perhaps even to think thoughts that economics has traditionally deemed unthinkable. So how might science fiction contribute to the ongoing evolution of economics? And what might creators of science fiction, as custodians of radical visions of social organisation, draw from economics at this critical moment?

We particularly welcome proposals to explore women’s writing and/or writing by BAME authors. Although issue’s focus will mainly be SF, we are also open to non-SF genre works, e.g. Max Gladstone’s Craft series, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern, Terry Pratchett’s Making Money, Karina Sumner-Smith’s Towers trilogy, and to themes such as magic and economics, economies of honour in epic fantasy, etc.

We would love to see proposals from potential contributors from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds (including, of course, economists), as well as interdisciplinary collaborative work. As well as articles, we would also be interested in hearing ideas for unusual and/or innovative forms of contribution, and other informal thoughts and queries.

Ideas for topics include:
  • The economics and political economy of utopias and dystopias
  • Imagined systems of economic thought
  • The role of speculation about the future across SF and financial markets
  • Property and its alternatives in SF
  • Imagined collapses of and alternatives to capitalism
  • Near future SF and the socio-economic impacts of emergent technology
  • The idea of “rigor” in science fiction and the social sciences
  • Picturing and pitching the future: futurism, entrepreneurship, design fiction, and diegetic prototyping
  • Economic extrapolations of the novum
  • Fintech, cryptocurrency, blockchain
  • Debt in SF, e.g. Margaret Atwood’s Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth meets the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood
  • Adhocracy, commoning, and self-governance, e.g. Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway (2017) meets Elinor Ostrom
  • “Adam Smith’s invisible great clomping foot of nerdism”: the economic dimension of worldbuilding
  • Science fictional demoi and publics
  • Scarcity, post-scarcity, “alt scarcity”
  • Automation
  • Matter replicators
  • Latinum, Melange, Adamantium: precious science fictional commodities
  • Capitalism, communism, third ways, fourth ways, fifth ways ... nth ways
  • The corporation in cyberpunk, post-cyberpunk, and other SF
  • Malthus and immortality
  • Markets, data science, and algorithmic governance
  • Complexity economics and chaos, complexity, and non-linear dynamics in SF
  • Algorithmic governance and the socialist calculation debates
  • Commensurable and non-commensurable value, e.g. Viviana Zelizer meets Karl Schroeder’s Permanence (2012)
  • Economic models as science fiction; readings of the thought experiments and pedagogic narratives within political economy texts as science fiction, e.g. Georg Simmel meets Ruth Levitas
  • AI and economic decision-making. How should economic agency be understood when it is dispersed through digital constructs – including Intelligent Personal Assistants and financial investment robo-advisors – whose algorithmic ‘reasoning’ is intrinsically opaque?
  • Communism and alternate reality SF
  • SF and capitalist realism
  • Science fictional experience; SF as lived experience
  • Science fictional estrangements of markets and money
  • Alienation, reification, commodification, and estrangement
  • Unreal estate
  • Economics without economies, economies without economics
  • Subjective theories of value and the Quantified Self
  • Neural interfaces, affective computing, and the formation of economic demand and political will
  • Homo economicus, “xeno economicus”, and economic rationality in SF
  • Prisoners’ Dilemma and other game theory in SF
  • Platform capitalism and SF, e.g. Tim Maughan’s ‘Zero Hours’
  • SF and platform co-operativism: imagining just, democratic, and sustainable digitally-mediated labour relations
  • Division of labour in SF
  • Affective labour and technologies of quantification
  • Barter in SF
  • Interstellar trade
  • Money and the trees it grows on, e.g. Nalo Hopkinson’s ‘Money Tree’, Clifford D. Simak’s ‘The Money Tree’
  • SF and ecological economics
  • Quantifying, representing, and/or marketising the unquantifiable
  • Markets as computation, computation as markets
  • SF’s non-capitalist markets
  • Class in SF, e.g. Samuel R. Delaney’s Nova (1968)
  • Secular trends, e.g. Rosa Luxemburg meets Michael Swanwick’s ‘From Babel’s Fall’n Glory We Fled...’ (2008)
  • Social credit and financial credit in Karen Lord’s Galaxy Game (2015)
  • Gift economies and other non-market exchanges in SF, e.g. Erik Frank Russell’s ‘And Then There Were None’ (1953)
  • Economics and deep time, economics and galactic scale, economics of terraforming, economics of megaengineering
  • Markets and states on interstellar scale, e.g. Susan Strange meets Charles Stross’s Neptune’s Brood (2013)
  • Estranging money
  • Energy and value, e.g. Starhawk’s Fifth Sacred Thing (1993)
  • SF in relation to time banking: e.g. LETS, ECHO, time-based currencies, Falk Lee’s ‘Time is Money’ (1975)
The issue will be edited by Jo Lindsay Walton and Polina Levontin.

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