Transition to the Future
The world's elites create cities in the sky, in an attempt to escape the cheapness of human life on the streets below. By paying "protection fees" to street-level gangs and militias, the sky-cities' street level foundations and access are protected, for the most part. The last sky city to be brought down by the gangs was in Singapore of 2059. The subsequent reprisals to the streets of Singapore by the triad owners of the felled Sky City, have left most of the island freehold uninhabitable to this day.The rise of China as world hegemon in the early 2020s paved the way for entrenchment of large-scale corruption across Europe, North America, and Oceania -- regions formerly supportive of property rights and rule of law. Then as China itself fragmented into warring factions in the late 2020s, the entire world became a place without law. The teeming masses of the third world discovered that the developed world lacked the will to defend its borders. Soon there was no distinction between third world and first world.
Crime lords and militia leaders have no use for space launches, so every year another irreplaceable satellite falls flaming back to Earth. During the 2030s, nuclear arsenals finally fell into the hands of the gangs, and a few short nuclear wars quickly thinned the ranks of would-be nuclear terrorists and warriors. Several warheads turned out to be duds, and a few thousand self-styled nuclear submariners took residence in Davy Jones' locker. They lacked the competence to safely pilot the aging sea monsters -- particularly the Russian death traps.
As the skies of the world once again grow dingy with coal and wood smoke, all pretense of protecting the water and air of the planet are abandoned. Any species that cannot fend for themselves will suffer the fate of the dodo. Rain forests are slashed and burned, and huge pit mines gouge the surface of every continent and large island. This is the rapidly poisoning world that the many leftist environmental movements of the late 20th and early 21st centuries made possible, through their quasi-terrorist tactics against the world of law -- a world that was quickly shrinking under their noses. It took only an Obama presidency and the lack of any credible opposition for the "Greens" to finish off human economic freedoms and any chance for a clean prosperity that might carry men to the stars.
And so the wealthy few -- many of them crime lords themselves -- huddle in the uncertain safety of the sky cities. Listening to the bombs and gunfire far below. Forgetting how close the world had come to climbing out of the primitivity of lower human nature -- but now mired in the stinking, choking future of perpetual sectarian and criminal warfare.
Originally published in Al Fin
H/T Inhabitat and Time
Labels: science fiction