- oD 50.50
About Michael Gardiner
Michael Gardiner is Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at The University of Warwick. His books include The Return of England (2012) and The Constitution of English Literature (2013).
Articles by Michael Gardiner
This week's editors
Rosemary Bechler edits openDemocracy's main site.
Cameron Thibos edits Mediterranean Journeys in Hope.
En Liang Khong is assistant editor at openDemocracy.
Alex Sakalis is the editor of Can Europe Make It?
No to TTIP
Hello from 2050. ‘The markets’ have not failed – but non-productive speculation has, and the perpetual-growth model of economics is long gone. Since 2025, tremendous amounts of public funding has subsidised ‘economically-inefficient’ programmes, whose efficiency has increased dramatically. High-speed rail lines now run between Dublin, Sapporo, Marrakesh, and Tehran.
Neither have ‘nations’ failed, but power monopolised in states is gone – nations are civic entities with highly-permeable boundaries, and ethno-fascism has no significant foothold anywhere in the world. Adjustment to GPS and the easy outmanoeuvring of tracking have made the surveillance state obsolete, and people look back with embarrassment at Maoist China, Juche-era North Korea, and the 1979-2027 era of the West Atlantic Confederation now known as ‘Soviet Britain’.
All drugs are legal, formally or de facto, leading to decreases in gangsterism, dependency, and profiteering. In the late 2030s the taboos on ‘cyborg’ technologies such as neural interfacing and memory add-ons were overcome. There are still loose nukes, but they are not an effective terrorist weapon. The demand of the global south for technological and political literacy has meant that world inequality is plummeting – but also that social class has re-emerged as an ongoing core critique, as questions of poverty are seen more holistically.