South Africa: The Age of Utopia - or Dystopia


The tradition of the dystopian novel forces us to consider the disasters coming at us as things go on. More recently, the novels are joined by film treatments that are more graphic still. Should we heed them -- and what if we don't?

The sun'll come out Tomorrow

Bet your bottom dollar

That tomorrow

There'll be sun!

Just thinkin' about Tomorrow

Clears away the cobwebs

And the sorrow

'Til there's none!

When I'm stuck with a day

That's grey

And lonely

I just stick out my chin

And grin

And say


The sun'll come out


So ya gotta hang on...

-- Tomorrow from Annie. Music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin

It is common, at the beginning of a new year, for analysts, commentators, and columnists to offer some predictions and possibilities for the future (sometimes paired with dire warnings as well as a jeremiad or two), as the old year becomes history. Given what seem to be the increasingly dire circumstances of our globe -- both in political and environmental terms -- the writer's thoughts have turned to more dystopic visions of our collective future.

More than 500 years ago, English writer Thomas More came...

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