Monday, June 2, 2008

The Technotopia of 2000 (1962)

In 1962 the French weekly l'Express postulated about a technologically advanced utopia in the year 2000.
By the year 2000 all food will be completely synthetic. Agriculture and fisheries will have become superfluous. The world's population will by then have increased fourfold but will have stabilized. Sea water and ordinary rocks will yield all the necessary metals. Disease, as well as famine, will have been eliminated; and universal hygienic inspection and control will have been introduced. The problems of energy production will by then be completely resolved.

From the essay Food - the great challenge of this crucial century by Georg Borgstrom in the 1975 book Notes for the Future: An Alterative History of the Past Decade.

See also:
Our Friend the Atom (Book, 1956)
Closer Than We Think! Fat Plants and Meat Beets (1958)
Closer Than We Think! Hydrofungal Farming (1962)
Man's Future Beneath the Sea (1968)
That 60's Food of the Future
Solar Power of 1999 (1956)
Hubert H. Humphrey's Year 2000 (1967)


Anonymous said...

There's probably a joke out there involving a French publication and "universal hygienic inspection" but I'm certainly not the type of person who would make it.


Anonymous said...

I can't think of a single food, or even a major food ingredient, that's "completely synthetic". There are some artificial flavorings and dyes, but even semi-synthetic food ingredients like Sucralose and Olestra start from an ingredient grown by a farmer.

I think the 1940-1960s passion for synthetic food, pill-form food, and giant vegetables probably comes from post-war rationing. When lots of people lacked proper nutrition, or took vitamins to supplement a real deficiency, synthetic food must have seemed like a pretty good deal.

These days we enrich processed foods with vitamins and minerals, but the food itself is still "real".

Anonymous said...

Looking at it that way, unless they figured out how to make food out of Meitnerium or something could any food ever be called synthetic??

A.R.Yngve said...

Nowadays "natural" is the positive buzzword for products, not "synthetic".

"All-Synthetic Milk in synthetic packaging" -- a selling slogan in 1962 perhaps, but commercial death in 2008.