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STEEPVM Social, Technology and Economics

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Social

This area covers a variety of topics including changes in attitude, population change, fashion. Changes in attitude cross over with Values later. It may be that society hypocritically expects values to be one thing at this level but acts differently at the personal level that the Values heading represents. Some topics to consider under this heading include religion, human rights, the treatment of animals, responsibilities of ownership and forms of slavery, servitude and employment in widespread use.

Technology

Technology is a favourite of hard science fiction what if type scenarios where a single new technology alters the world. This may seem like a bit of a cliché but it has happened over and over again. In the last two hundred years we have seen the introduction of electricity, the railways, flight, the Internet, moving pictures, penicillin and many other world changing pieces of technology.

It can be more mundane covering simple, everyday changes like the introduction of integrated personal computers. It can be less mundane like the introduction and widespread use of the old SF trope flying cars. It may be an advance that only applies in one field like new weapons for the military or a cryogenic stretcher for medicine. In a post apocalyptic setting it may be those technologies lost or abandoned rather than the great leap forwards.

Economics

Not a favourite of fiction writers and yet it has the ability to shape the world. Soviet style communism may have failed but it did change the world for a large part of the twentieth century. At a more mundane level economic systems change with time. Barter gave way to coins made of precious metals which in turn were replaced with non precious metals and paper money now electronic money is becoming more and more prevalent. The basis for wealth changes to what if rather than gold or land or tulip bulbs the basis for currency was ideas or anti-matter? Economic factors have often been seen as the causes of wars, conflicts and espionage. It covers topics including exchange rates, trading, money and business.

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