Our own attempts to design centrally planned economies yielded only brittle, crushingly totalitarian states, Stalinist nightmares of fiat rule, corruption, and dehumanization. Yet the dream persists: a planned, smoothly-functioning world, responding rationally to evolving conditions, shepherding resources for the benefit of humanity.
Can engineers do better? As it turns out, we can – and almost did, 40 years ago.
The Foundation and the Culture
Many science fiction fans advance Star Trek as an example of such a planned, internally harmonious society. While Trek is many things, it’s not the best example of a cashless utopia – money, graft, and greed rear their heads the moment our crew leaves the ship.
Star Trek Utopia
Star Trek’s crew was not quite a Cybernetic Society.
Better representations can be found in the works of Isaac Asimov and Iain Banks.