Doug Casey on Phyles

by Doug Casey
International Man

The concept of phyles originated with the sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson, in his seminal book The Diamond Age. I’ve always been a big fan of quality science fiction. I’m not sure why it’s true, but there’s no question sci-fi has been a vastly better predictor of both social and technological trends than absolutely anything else.

The book, set mostly in China in the near-term future, posits that while states still exist, they’ve been overwhelmed in importance by the formation of phyles. Phyles are groups of people that get together with others, bound by whatever is important to them. Maybe it will be their race, religion, or culture. Maybe their occupation or hobby. Maybe their world view or what they want to accomplish in life. Maybe it’s a fairly short-term objective. There are thousands—millions—of possibilities.

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