I just saw this article from Margaret Atwood published today on Medium, and thought y’all might also be interested in it. I have such affection for Atwood’s work, and writing about possible worlds to come—as she does here—is her forte.
Chiore Sicha wrote it up for the Hairpin, with one (of many) particularly compelling idea from Atwood’s piece:
In looking at visions of the future that are visions of the past, she comes up with something intriguing, from the book Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve, by Ian Morris:
“Morris is interested in the link between energy-capture systems and the cultural values associated with them, though in his case it’s the moral values, not only the aesthetic ones — supposing these can be separated — that concern him. Roughly, his argument runs that each form of energy capture favors values that maximize the chance of survival for those using both that energy system and that package of moral values. Hunter-gatherers show more social egalitarianism, wealth-sharing, and more gender equality than do farmer societies, which subordinate women — men are favored, as they must do the upper-body-strength heavy lifting — tend to practice some form of slavery, and support social hierarchies, with peasants at the low end and kings, religious leaders, and army commanders at the high end. Fossil fuel societies start leveling out gender inequalities — you don’t need upper body strength to operate keyboards or push machine buttons — and also social distinctions, though they retain differences in wealth.”
Remember that: NEVER BECOME FARMERS. Go mobile and go wild. When the end times come we’ll have to try to keep some of our cultural values about gender before everything disappears into just all-day shoveling pig shit for methane.