Speculative Vision / Margot Harknett

Plastic Packaging is the main example of single use plastic, representing a quarter of the total volume of plastics and almost a third of all plastic packaging leaks into the ocean.

What if we had an Artificial Intelligence system managing the recycle and reuse of plastic and a new generation of compostable plastics that ultimately drove the plastic companies out of business leading to the collapse of capitalism since the plastics industry is the third largest manufacturing industry in the U.S?

In this new America the recycling AI manages and keeps a profile on your consumer and waste habits, instructing awareness through fines if certain recycling procedures aren’t met. The AI controls so much of the recycling process that humans start avoiding plastics and because of recycling there is no supply and demand so the plastic business collapses. Humans start to bring new values and meaning back into objects since there is no longer a surplus of one-use items.

Since the plastic industry crashes the food industry is forced into more farm to table and organic production since plastic isn’t being used to package food. More algae farms are put in place as we start to use biodegradable algae bioplastics.

Speculative Vision / Adam Stafford

‘Food co-op’ is a term that many have likely heard, but may not know the meaning of. First, a co-op refers to people working together to meet mutual needs. In this instance, it is an organization that is owned by the people who use it. Food co-ops have been described as places to purchase tasty, high quality food, places to gather, and can also be major economic forces in a community. Sound familiar? Many farmer’s markets, like Findlay Market, are mainstays in their neighborhood and have this open, welcoming atmosphere that invite people in and persuade them to stay and shop. It is within reason that today’s farmer’s markets could one day evolve into something more along the lines of a food co-op. What if we could bring the farm closer to the farmer’s market, and change the fundamental structure of the way the market operates? How will we get there? First, we must ask ourselves some questions.

What cultural, social, political, economic trends today might lead to a collapse of Capitalism and the creation of a new political economy?

The dollar loses its value due to what Streeck refers to as “phase four”– the part of capitalist evolution in which we’ve essentially resorted to printing money. Eventually the bottom falls out and inflation rises so high that things become unaffordable. Then follows a lack in labor and a growing trend toward strikes as people lose faith in the system due to ever widening divisions in social status, prompting an upheaval of the current economic model.

What is the nature of the post-capitalist political economy?

The political economy I’m envisioning for this post-capitalist community in downtown Cincinnati is something more akin to market socialism. In most cases, the means of production are owned by the public or are cooperatively owned, but this economy still utilizes currency and monetary value along with market competition to drive innovation without emphasizing maximizing profits.

How might emerging technology or pioneering science steer those topics?

Bringing the farm to the farmer’s market could be fairly plausible in the case of Findlay Market and the growing ‘Market District’ in OTR thanks to aquaponics. Aquaponics is a form of indoor farming using an entirely sustainable system of plants grown in water using waste produced by fish. These facilities could be implemented in some of the vacant lots in and around the Market District.

Additionally, by implementing a food co-op structure in the large scale form of a farmer’s market, the people and the community can thrive. Like the new economic model a co-op market is owned by its members and the good sold there are produced by local farmers in both the traditional sense and in new and innovative forms of farming like aquaponics.

How does it shape everyday life around a specific topic, domain, object, or social ritual?

By bringing the farm to the farmers market, the community can also have a chance to grow closer and more united as the co-op model will rely on many citizens to last and thrive. This will not only alter the way we shop for groceries and how they are produced, but can also provide opportunities for employment and education. Those in need of a job will have greater opportunities in a district full of community markets, and people of all ages can learn about a process that we rely on daily, but also take for granted just as often- growing our own food. This is of course all in addition to the traditional feel of shopping and relaxing at the market, as it will still maintain monetary exchanges for goods and provide a place for people to gather.

 

Speculative Vision/ Miranda Beitel

What if the already steady incline in nationalist behavior was increased drastically by political rhetoric on wholehearted devotion to ones country and the fear of losing vital aspects of our ecosystem. And therefore collapsed capitalism due to the focus of the betterment of the nation instead the accumulation of personal wealth. Resulting in a socialist nation with such devoted citizens that government and law became similar to religion and the protection of natural resources became sacred.

In this new America, meat is not provided by animals but grown in petri dishes in labs via stem cells. This way the animals remain unharmed and the balance of nature intact but the public has a steady supply of antibiotic/growth hormone/cruelty-free meat. Farming is considered a very noble profession and the farmers are some of wealthiest people in the community. All farming is organic and completed almost entirely by several advanced self driving machines and the farmer simply oversees the machines and fixes them if they breakdown.

Everyone who lives under this government is divided by bodily needs. Pregnant mothers or Carriers all live together to ensure they all receive proper care and rest during pregnancy. They are also able to receive private daily visits. Children are watched and cared for in schools that double as daycare units while their parents are at work. Instead of dividing up school into primary and secondary and high school education buildings, all students report to the same high rise structure for class so the older students can mentor and help care for the younger ones. As you grow older you have a mandatory number of mentor hours you must complete to continue receiving unpaid schooling. College is also free and is also located in the same building as the other ages. However you must mentor a mandatory 25 hours a week to attend.

At the start of a woman’s period she undergoes what is called the Moonling ceremony. The ceremony is public and it’s a celebration of the child becoming a young adult. Once the ceremony is over, the Moonlings all file into a building where they will stay during the duration of their period— to ensure they are healthy, to discuss birth control options, and to be provided with the necessary care items they need. When any adult woman receives her period during the month she goes to the Moonling center to have a check up on reproductive health, discuss the effects of her birth control if she is on any, and to receive the feminine napkins or products of her own choosing. For the duration of the week, she stays and helps run the Moonling center in exchange for the healthcare items and services. The Moonling center is also a nature center designed to allow Moonlings to connect with nature during their period. It is the responsibility of the Moonlings to care for the different ecosystems located in the nature center as part of their required service work in exchange for their feminine products and care.

Once a baby is born it is highly recommended that both parents take a year of paid leave with their child. It is their duty in this year to raise their child and keep it healthy as well as teach their child to commune with nature. Although there are still cities in this nation there are vast plant ecosystems growing all along the buildings to provide more food but to also remind the citizens how important their connection to the Earth is. There are strict environmental laws in this country. One can be jailed for destroying nature or for the creation of pollution. All electricity is solar and wind powered and cars are powered visa solar panels built into the roadways.

Although capitalism has been abolished, patriarchy remains. And therefore the inequality of men and women still exists. In this world, there is much more peace where there wasn’t before and people want for less— but there are new forms of suffering, inequality, and uprising. Women have to work for their specific healthcare. And although the work is considered noble and sacred, they must leave their jobs to tend to it once monthly causing several issues with women in their regular working lives. Eco-terrorists attack this new way of life as a form of protest to the new rules and regulations. They are considered enemies of the state as well as unholy. The melding of government as the upholder of nature and nature as a new government sanctioned pseudo-religion only offers a mask of peace. There are still several systematic issues of disparity but only taken into new forms.