"Visions from Dystopia"

That's the title I chose for the zine (a small hand-made magazine) I made with some friends last year. The theme was what each contributor envisioned would make the world a little or a whole lot better, however far we were now from utopia. In other words, what is the state of the idea of utopia? How far are we willing to venture into optimism now, especially supra-hip post-post-modern college graduates steeped in history lessons? A Boston Globe writer puts the question into a more historic political frame:

Is the thought of a noncapitalist utopia even possible after Stalinism, after decades of anticommunist polemic on the part of brilliant and morally engaged intellectuals? Or are we all convinced, in a politically paralyzing way, that Margaret Thatcher had it right when she crowed that ''there is no alternative" to free-market capitalism?"
Here, Thatcher is right: there may be no ultimate end to the quest for utopia, but there is one dystopic model that grows unrivaled,not because of its own perfection but because of the raging faults of its alternate competitors.

An interesting read (link via Totalitarianism Today). Meanwhile in Moscow Tom Palmer, lecturing on "Liberalism, Globalization, and the Problem of Sovereignty," explores his preferred conception of an unstructured, better world with recovering communists. He writes:
The conversation turned to the very serious problem of the "resource curse" and rentier states. Is it better from a libertarian perspective for a state to be funded with tax dollars — all taken coercively from the citizens, or from rents on a natural resource, such as oil? I think that the former, objectionable and non-ideal as it is, is much preferable to the latter, which tends to generate states in which the state is not dependent on the people, but the people on the state, which can use its oil wealth to buy support or acquiescence from the population. The conversation was very enlightening and quite enjoyable.
Yes, the words of St. Francis de Assisi -- "For it is in giving that we receive"-- still hold true for political theory. Based on comparative analysis of Middle Eastern oil rentier states, it seems there's nothing worse for people than a jackpot of oil wealth, which too often comes at the price of liberty and is associated with wildly repressive regimes independent of public controls. What's worse, is that unlike reform in most overbearing states, political liberalization/democratization in rentier states seems to require widespread social upheaval, violent revolution. Enlightented, reformist dictators run in short supply.