POSTED: March 26, 2018
Arts | Nature of Prosperity | Philosophy

Economic Science Fictions

New edited collection by Will Davies, harnessing the power of the utopian imagination
March 2018

Economic Science Fictions book cover, with chapter by Tim Jackson
Background image CC-BY 2.0 :: Dean Hochman / Flickr

From the libertarian economics of Ayn Rand to Aldous Huxley’s consumerist dystopias, economics and science fiction have often orbited each other. In Economic Science Fictions, CUSP co-investigator Will Davies has deliberately merged the two worlds, asking how we might harness the power of the utopian imagination to revitalise economic thinking.

Rooted in the sense that our current economic reality is no longer credible or viable, this collection treats our economy as a series of fictions and science fiction as a means of anticipating different economic futures. It asks how science fiction can motivate new approaches to economics and provides surprising new syntheses, merging social science with fiction, design with politics, scholarship with experimental forms.

With an opening chapter from Ha-Joon Chang as well as theory, short stories, and reflections on design (including a short story by CUSP director Tim Jackson), this book challenges and changes the notion that economics and science fiction are worlds apart. The result is a wealth of fresh and unusual perspectives for anyone who believes the economy is too important to be left solely to economists.


AUDINT, Khairani Barokka, Carina Brand, Ha-Joon Chang, Miriam A. Cherry, William Davies, Mark Fisher, Dan Gavshon Brady, Owen Hatherley, Laura Horn, Tim Jackson, Mark R. Johnson, Bastien Kerspern, Nora O Murchú, Justin Pickard, James Pockson, Tobias Revell, Judy Thorne, Sherryl Vint, Georgina Voss, Jo Lindsay Walton, Brian Willems


  • The book is currently available in hard cover via Goldsmiths, Hive and Amazon.
  • Launch Event, 2 May 2018 | To celebrate the publication of the book, the launch event explored the politics of enclaves from the perspective of urban design and science fiction, so as to cast different light on the anxieties and hopes of the present.
  • Podcast: On #NovaraFM, James Butler is joined by Will Davies, to discuss Economic Science Fictions, dystopia, speculative politics, what neoliberals actually believe, and the fantasies behind Brexit.


“Science fiction has long been an arena for contending economic ideas, orthodox and otherwise. In this book’s fascinating reflections the attention is repaid with interest, as the lenses of economics and critical theory are turned on science fiction’s economic visions, dreams and nightmares.” — Ken MacLeod

“Economic Science Fictions is an immensely valuable intervention into the critical debates around science fiction, politics and economics; a consistently stimulating and surprising collection of essays that not only demonstrate how useful it is to think of the genre from an economically informed perspective but also persuasively argues that economists ought to be paying attention to the speculative possibilities of the best science fiction. Every essay here is good, and from every one I learned things and found ways to rethink what I already thought I knew. A groundbreaking collection, very highly recommended.” — Adam Roberts

“Necessary in its time, the slogan ‘Another World Is Possible’ was always vulnerable to the riposte: ‘Yeah, well what kind of world?’ This unique volume of what might be called social-science fiction demonstrates that the left is now capable of imagining what world or worlds might replace the dying universe of liberal capitalism. It’s a rare pleasure to be able to say of a collection of essays by left-wing scholars that it’s exciting – but this one is.” — Benjamin Kunkel

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