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Paradise... Lost?:

The fall and rise of utopias

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Paradise... Lost?

Marina Benjamin, Alex Callinicos, Kim Stanley Robinson. Ian Johnson hosts.

Once a driving force of political change, utopian visions are now out of fashion. But is this a lost opportunity or a new realism?  Should we create new utopias and thereby impel social advance, or will we learn the lessons of history and remain sceptical of grand visions?

The Panel

Live from Arizona, visionary novelist Kim Stanley Robinson debates the merits of utopian thinking with Aeon Magazine's Marina Benjamin and political theorist Alex Callinicos.

Quack Policy
Jamie Whyte
I Think Therefore Iamb
Rachael Boast, Harry Eyres, Hilary Lawson, Jamie McKendrick
Jump to what you want to see in the debate
  • Marina Benjamin
    The Pitch
    Our ideals are expressed through utopian thinking
  • Alex Callinicos
    The Pitch
    Utopias can inspire political progress
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
    The Pitch
    Utopian thinking may help us save our world
  • The Debate
    Theme One
    The 21st Century Utopia
  • The Debate
    Theme Two
    Science and economics
  • The Debate
    Theme Three
    National differences
Join the conversation

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Duncan Abbott on 08/12/2013 12:34pm

I have just written a novel called "Karmalitics" - My utopia, based on improving and creating a self sufficient life for millions. The people that embrace it live in a largely non monetary society, whilst their products (solar powered cars, roofing) take full advantage of the capitalist society that nestle alongside. It is based on the theory that there's not much point in challenging capitalism, but you don't have to embrace it either, you can however take advantage of it on your terms. It also asks the question, should housing (and food to a lesser extent) be treated as a commodity or a necessity? Being My Utopia, well, I don't need to answer that do I, the results are stunning and will bring a smile to your face. So if you enjoy Ben Elton type books, I'm guessing you'll like Karmalitics too.

Raznak on 05/12/2013 1:29pm

What a sad world we are living in that people think there's no such thing as utopia any more. Do they not realise that all you need is an imagination?

Gina Tall on 05/12/2013 1:28pm

Interesting to see that this debate was assumptively Marxist; does the panel implicitly state that right wing utopias are paradoxes? It seems to me that this is the case

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