Education dystopia #3: the new gilded age

by VanessaVaile

Bryan Alexander

What are some bad futures for teaching, learning, and campuses? With this post I’m continuing my series of educational dystopias.

3. Gilded Age 2.0

This dystopia is a world of extreme inequality.  After the mid-twentieth century’s reduced imbalance of wealth, the new Gilded Age is a new age of inequality, led by the 1% and especially their own 1%, as described and foreseen by Thomas Piketty.  The name echoes that of an earlier age of American economic oligarchy.

žUnlike the cyberpunk dystopia, which also has high inequality, Gilded Age 2.0 offers solid political stability.  States help maintain social order through a variety of tools and services, ranging from powerful bureaucracies, a guaranteed national minimum income, and surveillance.

Income inequality 1910-2010

The 1% žmake a show of conspicuous consumption,  made especially conspicuous by digital media.  Social order also depends on a degree of gerontocracy, most notably in practical politics and…

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