Draft | Secular Prophesies for a Net Zero Future: Insights from the SciFi Economics Lab

In the pursuit of envisioning a sustainable future, the Science Fiction Economics Residency has pioneered a unique approach. By leveraging sci-fi storytelling, the program empowers participants to create secular prophecies—compelling, realistic narratives that serve as blueprints for achieving net zero futures. These narratives, unlike traditional predictions, are rooted in current trends and practical insights, providing a proactive framework for real-world impact.

During the inaugural retreat, three groups developed visionary yet plausible futures for the city of Messina, focusing on innovative economic systems and tangible projects to initiate these transitions. One such vision, “The Great Retrofit,” imagines a prosperous mission economy by 2050, driven by cooperatives like Priu. Priu leads resource-efficient retrofitting projects, creating social housing and reducing CO2 emissions. This initiative faces challenges, including tensions from rapid changes and the integration of climate refugees amidst potential global financial crises.

Another vision, “Alleanza Mediterraneo,” foresees regional industrialization leading to self-sufficiency in energy, food, housing, and transport by 2051. This scenario addresses migration pressures by ensuring stability and resource adequacy. Lastly, “Prophecy OASIS” envisions an autonomous federal territory thriving through cooperation, shared knowledge, and local governance, fostering a resilient, interconnected society.

The residency’s innovative approach does not stop at storytelling. It proposes the creation of a Common Fund to finance the realization of these net zero prophecies. This fund, pooled from membership fees and organizational contributions, supports experimental initiatives aligned with the prophesied futures. Financial grants are distributed to projects and creators, who can either cash in their tokens or reinvest them in further projects, ensuring a dynamic and sustainable development cycle.

To support this ambitious endeavor, the SciFi Economics Lab calls for a collective effort to raise 3 million euros over three years. This funding will enable the establishment of a robust, independent vehicle capable of sustaining the initiative and ensuring fair remuneration for all contributors, from content creators to coordinators and tech developers.

Call to action

Join us in turning visionary narratives into reality. By contributing to the Common Fund, participating in our events, or becoming a member, you can play a vital role in building a sustainable future. Let’s transform speculative predictions into tangible actions, fostering economic systems that prioritize people, planet, and prosperity. Together, we can create a world where visionary storytelling guides collective behavior towards the sustainable and fair futures in which we want to live.

Detailed proposal of concept for which a fundraising pitch and plan will be developed:
The_Science_Fiction_Economics_Lab_Shaping_Future_Business.docx (204.1 KB)r

Here is the debugging you requested.

Technically, a prophecy is what happens when someone knows the future with certainty. It is different from a prediction, which is stochastic. Also, I don’t recall any discussion of net zero in Messina.

A discussion would come in handy. For example: creating new economies requires a long-term vision, and a certain degree of autonomy from the existing economic systems. For example, Giacomo told you many times that capitalist investors do not like cooperatives, because their money can buy “only” financial returns, but not control over how they run their business. This leads to a chronic shortage of capital for cooperative enterprises, and has inspired the creation of dedicated funds and other forms of mutual support in the cooperative movement. Your own proposed fund is in this same spirit.

This would be more powerful if it were more specific. Most of these initiatives have either a thematic focus (say, regenerative agriculture) or a territorial one (Messina). A 3 mil fund is not going to make much of a wave across all sectors and the entire world.

This is more of a network concept, which indeed is more concrete than being the entity bankrolling an entire economic transformation. So at the moment there is a tension between this post and the Word document.

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Aren’t prophecies conditional? Also do they not involve some level of Agency in bringing them to fruition? Either because the individual or deity in question changes their “mind” when circumstances change, or because the people to whom the prophecies are directed change the circumstances for which the prophecies were given?

“It happens when we make it so”

No you are right, these would be limited to initiatives imagined, developed and carried by people directly participating in lab activities.

Also we are not seeking to fully finance them, just provide seed funding.

I think here what we are looking at is a mixed model with emphasis on catalytic potential of intitatives, rather than the success or failure of any one initiative. So Return in activation rather than ROI as the value proposition. Closer to art funding than VC.

Basically giving people channel for constructively and creatively using their existential anxiety as opposed to sleepwalking into the future

Update after discussion with Kate, Luca and Michele:

The Science Fiction Economics Lab Residency marked a significant step towards a sustainable future by utilizing sci-fi storytelling to create practical blueprints for net-zero futures. During the inaugural retreat in Messina, participants developed three visionary futures:

  1. The Great Retrofit, envisioning a prosperous mission economy by 2050 driven by cooperatives like Priu, focusing on resource-efficient retrofitting projects, social housing, and CO2 emission reduction.
  2. Alleanza Mediterraneo, promoting regional industrialization for self-sufficiency in energy, food, housing, and transport by 2051, addressing migration pressures and ensuring stability.
  3. Imaginary OASIS, an autonomous federal territory thriving through cooperation, shared knowledge, and local governance.

From 2024 onwards, the Lab aims to continue merging sci-fi storytelling with real-world strategies. Participants join vibrant communities where creativity flourishes, contributing to a sustainable future. The Lab’s future activities include:

  1. Cocreating New Imaginaries: Developing alternative post-fossil fuel worlds that are desirable and plausible, backed by strong economic thinking and science. Physical meetups, or Scifi Econ Residencies, will generate content and relationships foundational to the collaborative ecosystem.
  2. Developing New-World Economy Hubs: Combining physical meetups with digital tools for coordination, documentation, and resource management. This approach fosters inclusivity and collaboration, helping participants explore, test, and manage ideas while discovering personal and professional development opportunities.
  3. Supporting Real-World Initiatives: Acting as a venture studio to generate mission-aligned innovations in various sectors, supported by multidisciplinary networks and partnerships. These initiatives aim to make visionary worlds a reality, spanning entrepreneurial ventures and institutional or non-profit contexts.

The Lab promotes a flexible and fair membership model, encouraging diverse actors to work towards tangible, ground-level outcomes. Participants in the paid membership program can:

  • Choose preferred worlds and participate in exclusive development opportunities aligned with their values.
  • Join real-world communities to turn ideas from imaginary worlds into real projects, contributing to visionary developments locally.
  • Explore opportunities by subscribing to detailed pitches from in-world project founders, with early access to off-market deals for commercially viable projects.

Membership fees will cover program costs and provide seed financing for projects, ensuring the continued transformative approach to achieving sustainable futures.

How You Can Help

To support this endeavor, we will soon begin fundraising to grow the initiative and ensure fair remuneration for all contributors, from content creators to coordinators and tech developers. The projects financed would be limited to those imagined, developed, and carried out by people directly participating in lab activities.

  1. Let us know what you think in a comment below.
  2. Discuss our proposal with friends or allies to get feedback on our membership model and suggestions for how to roll it out or improve it.
  3. Propose ideas for fundraising from within your own context.