’Global exploitation’ scenario
Petro-polis – or – ’Corporations rule the world’
A day in the life…. ”Alex was in his AV-pod, feeling quite stressed, heading for ’peri-home’. Most middle-aged people like him had at least four ’homes’ – a downtown box, a peri-urban climate-sphere, a forest cabin, and a time-share in Berlin or New York. But now the whole Finnish metro-region, as far as Tampere & Turku, was one big suburb, where you could lose your way in the 24-hour jams and pollution. The global fin-tech system made multi-location and hyper-mobility easy – money was basically a virtual stream of experience, location, opportunity, production and consumption. But Alex’s work-life Platforms had been hacked somehow, and he was now at high risk of a Downgrade. Even worse, he could be labelled as an Other – a person with lower skills, or uncertain nationality, or unpopular with the corporates for some reason. The Others look for disused factories or remote forest areas, to build shacks and try to grow food, but then they are at risk from gangsters, and more from climate change – storms, droughts, fires, floods, super-bugs and pandemic diseases. Meanwhile the corporates make a lot of money from the workers in their climate-spheres, bigger and better all the time, for those who can afford to buy in…
The global economy returns to growth by deregulation and free markets: Finland, as a gateway to Russia and Asia seems in a good position, with its digital and bio-economy base. But this growth model seems to rely on a growing social inequality, reinforced by the corporate buy-out of public services and many kinds of government. There is a growing population of excluded and unskilled, who occupy semi-legal industrial areas or remote forests. The mainstream of society are almost owned by the corporate work-life platforms, and live an almost nomad kind of existence with multiple co-locations, while the wealthy live in protected ’climate-spheres’ in the extended ’peri-metro-region’ across southern Finland. All the time, climate change accelerates: in much of Finland it’s getting more difficult to live or work, in summer or winter, but this does bring opportunity for the corporates to run markets, auctions, eco-technologies, and property value competitions…
Axes of uncertainty
- Techno-economic systems: Open global boundaries, rapid innovation
- Socio-political structures: unequal, rigid hiearchies, privatized, open to corruption
- Climate & natural resources: Exploitation, rapid climate change
- Regional development: mainly metropolitan focus
- Urban form: peri-urban growth and sprawl on a big scale: multiple housing options and tenures
Counter Dynamics: Social innovation & resistance: some communities, urban or rural, do not agree with the global corporate takeover of public services and government itself. They aim to re-create new forms of solidarity and mutual aid
Wild cards & shocks: A regional level war / security crisis is not unlikely, possibly coming from Russia and the Baltics, the Middle East and Gulf, or Turkey and the Balkans. The EU and NATO would be stress-tested to the limit: Finland as a small country on the periphery would be very vulnerable.
Key growth factors: population medium growth: GDP high growth.
- Remote regions: Forests & lakes are for sale
- Rural towns: Growth of sub-culture niches
- Large cities: Government by algorithm
- Helsinki metropolis: The wealthy move to climate bubbles in the peri-urban
Implications for research
Economic digital transformation will see jobs replaced, with new divisions in a de-regulated economy: with low-skill labour costs down to the floor, while high skill and entrepreneurs are rewarded richly. Social welfare systems on a neo-liberal model, will need a rethink on how communities and networks can survive, also with local government on the risk list.
The world as a whole, and Finland will be tested by more rapid climate change, with less international cooperation. For urban development, the metropolitan peri-urban is the main growth area, but likely to be heavily defended for climate and security risks. A new generation of privatized roads and infastructure will also raise questions on how society works and for whom.