2140: The Market is a Failure

Stephan Martiniere - New York 2140

“Hang with me. Follow what I’m saying. We live in a world where people pretend money can buy you anything, so money becomes the point, so we all work for money. Money is thought of as value.”

“Okay, I get that. We’re broke and I get that.”

“So good, keep hanging with me. We live by buying things with money, in a market that sets all the prices.”

“The invisible hand.”

“Right. Sellers offer stuff, buyers buy it, and in the flux of supply and demand the price gets determined. It’s crowdsourced, it’s democratic, it’s capitalism, it’s the market.”

“It’s the way of the world.”

“Right. And it’s always, always wrong.”

“What do you mean wrong?”

“The prices are always too low, and so the world is fucked. We’re in a mass extinction event, sea level rise, climate change, food panics, everything you’re not reading in the news.”

“All because of the market.”

“Exactly! It’s not just that there are market failures. It’s that the market is a failure.”

Kim Stanley Robinson: New York 2140 (2017)

Image: cover art by Stephan Martinière

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