Most of the time, the fiction that I write bears little relevance to current events. Not so with the Perceval novels. When I began the first novel in the series, Perceval (soon to be Perceval’s Secret), I decided to set it in the near future, so I needed to imagine what the world would be like at that time in order to write the novel. Like Futurists (who know a lot more about this stuff than I do), I noted years ago what was going on in the world, chose several major players, and extrapolated trends into the future. I had no expectation that anything I imagined and wrote in my fiction would come true.
The America of 2048 needed a precipitating factor, something economic in nature, because money truly makes the world go round now. I imagined something like a depression that struck in the late 2000’s. The economic stress on the country created political stress that split the current political parties in two. Half of the Democrats and half of the Republicans joined together in their belief that they could solve the economic problems better than those left in their parties. They named their new party the New Economic Party (NEP). The Neppers wanted to protect Corporate America, the Rich, Innovators and themselves, promoting the Reagan era trickle-down economics, no tax increases, and strategic spending cuts that would leave everyone but the Rich at the mercy of Corporate America. In return for power, they promised the electorate security, stability, and prosperity, but avoided specifying for whom. Over the next 10 to 15 years, the Neppers consolidated their power through elections, then began to pass laws that would allow them to strip the Constitution of the Bill of Rights for the purpose of protecting the homeland and its population.
In response, a group of states rose up in defiance and seceded. At the same time, pockets of resistance formed in the remaining states, led by Evan Quinn’s father and his best friend, the composer Joseph Caine. Civil War, for the second time, broke out, and rages for nearly all of Evan’s life. The America of 2048 is a divided one, by class, by politics, and by economics while the Rich control those who work and produce….
Returning to the economic depression: I had imagined it as a full-scale depression much like what America experienced during 1929 and through the 1930’s. The government stepped in during the 1930’s to create jobs and try to lift the country back into prosperity. But what really sparked the economy was World War II. It took over a decade and a major war for our economy to regain its momentum and the wartime economy pushed prosperity well into the 1960’s.
The Recession of 2008-09 has spotlighted the huge abyss between the wealthy and everyone else. The high unemployment has spotlighted Corporate America’s fixation on profit (something that I write about in the novel), not on putting people to work and paying them well. Eventually, they will need to hire, but with an employer’s market, they can control wages at a level that benefits them and the bottom line rather than the workers. Will they? Will they exacerbate the employment situation that began to deteriorate here with outsourcing to other countries? On top of this, there’s the debt. Our largest creditor is China. While some think China will hang tight and not cash in, others fear that to protect its own economy and currency, it may start cashing in which would have a profound negative effect on the American economy.
The main players I chose to use for my extrapolations into the near future? America, Europe, Russia and China.
The stage is set…..