The year is 2084; it has been forty years since California with Oregon, Washington State, and Hawaii broke off as an independent country in 2044. Their two political parties, the conservative democrats and the Progressive Party set out to create a new country based on state assisted equality for all with Progressives taking the lead and the Democrats pushing a more conservative agenda.
By 2084 AI and robots directly produced more than 50% of the global GDP. In the industrialized world AI and robots produced closer to 70% of the GDP. World economies struggled with this new reality where labor had little value and most humans were not needed for most production and services.
Elon Musk in 2016 had set the precedent for how California would handle the ownership of robot technology when he offered all of the Tesla battery technology to the public to be used to improve humanity. As it became clear that robots would replace the need for human labor including many professional jobs such as lawyers and even doctors, California lawmakers and courts took the general position that workers displaced by robots both in the present and into perpetuity should be compensated by the fruits of those robots. In essence, robots were taxed and the tax provided for the care of the residents of the state.
California committed itself to offering a safety net to all its citizens via such taxes which included housing, food, medical and a college education for all. As AI and robots took over most of the workload, job sharing was implemented and having a job became a privilege. Most of the citizens were free to pursue personal development and volunteer work.
The changes in California resulted in a very progressive income tax and after-tax incomes for the rich only about 10 times higher than the poorest citizens. Corporate taxes were deemed unnecessary and counterproductive given the high level of individual income taxes and the robot production tax. This encouraged companies to reinvest and keep money productively employed inside the companies.
California had become a pseudo socialist state with almost everyone working for the government. There were seven levels of income, the first level being the lowest with food, medical care and a place to live included. Anyone at this level was not allowed to have a job, but could through education move into the second level which provided a part-time job and enough income for some travel and entertainment besides the basic package provided to all.
Each level had more perks, with the top level being “rich” people who had 10 times the income of the lowest level. The computer models that maintained the appropriate gaps between levels was always controversial and political, and of course, everyone was always trying to game the system even though the system provided for all with the only restriction being the noble goal of sustainability.
Basic services were provided for each level such as a place to stay, food allotments, medical services, education, etc. Each level also received a cash allotment which at the top was also 10 times higher than the bottom level. To get your cash allotment each month, you were required to vote on a dozen or so referendums each month which modified government policies which eventually led to changes in rules for society.
Six years later, in 2050, Texas pulled away from the States to form a country based on the Libertarian Principles set forth by the 53rd President of the U.S., Rand Paul. The second party was the more traditional Republican Party still identified with Reagan who over the century had grown into a god like figure.
Texas's prosperity depended on ever expanding its market and customer base which required them to educate and otherwise assist neighboring countries to industrialize, computerize and consume. This model developed as a result of the Texas attempting to expand their markets but gradually evolved into a social as well as a business model.
Texas by 2055 had formed an agreement with Mexico initially modelled after NAFTA, but later modified to be completely open with respect to trade and borders. Mexico and Texas worked together on many projects including decriminalizing drugs, drug treatment centers, medical care, education and, of course, business. Texas was one of the few economies in the world that needed a larger workforce. Their expansion into solar energy alone required millions of new workers. So businesses in Texas united to educate and train the poor in both Mexico and Texas. In turn, those educated youth served for two years in Youth Services helping train younger students, take care of the elderly and other civil services, in both Texas and Mexico.
In true Republican tradition, Texas went on to expand the free trade zone to Peru, Chile, Cuba and were negotiating with Brazil. Texas with the labor from these countries, capital from the States, became the manufacturing center of the Western World supported by plentiful and low cost energy. They made a fortune converting one country after another to renewable energy.
The transition to renewables initially took a large investment in equipment and educating the workforce to both install and then manage the renewable energy. Texas created a public service requirement of two years for all young people. Initially it was used to educate the new markets and train them for the new energy revolution as it came to their country, but as robots expanded and produced most products, the public service core was expanded to include all types of public service including day care, old people care, drug rehab, etc. A person without a job could enter the public service core and be assured of food and basic services such as medical.
As the cost of energy declined in these energy centers, manufacturing was pulled from the rest of the world creating jobs in construction and general maintenance, but most of all in maintaining a large work force of robots to produce goods for Texas and much of South America. China controlled the economics in the rest of the world.
As the technology matured and effective energy cost dropped and job opportunities declined, each country spread the gospel to the next country while simultaneously improving the global economy and the environment.
By 2084, Texas got 50% of its power from wind, 30% from solar, and 20% from natural gas. The NG was used to stabilize the grid along with batteries, man made lakes, and even a few large flywheels. It was the tenth largest producer of oil in the world choosing to restrict production to protect its own renewable energy business and to appease environmentalists.
Texas and California maintained a small military for strictly defensive purposes. Both agreed to a Military Protection Fee with the States equal to about 5% of their GDP.
China became the largest economy in the world in 2025 by all measurable standards. They created the petro yuan backed by gold in 2018 and began trading oil in that currency the same year. Initially Russia, Iran, and China accepted the petro yuan for oil trading, but by 2030 the pero Yuan had passed the U.S. currency of choice to buy and sell oil. Of note, the Saudi began accepting the Puan Yuan in 2020 after being insulted repeatedly by Trump.
With the help of the silk railroad started in 2016, China facilitated trade with Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa, India, and China. The high speed rail line enabled the transfer of goods and services, and more importantly people between all these countries. China invested in their infrastructure which benefited China in turn with new markets for its products, technology and military hardware.
With their high speed trains that travelled in excess of 350 miles per hour, passengers could travel halfway around the world between Europe and China in 24 hours. The trains transported people in a roomy, quiet and luxurious manner that became the symbol of prosperity and wealth. Freight could move between countries at nearly the same cost as over the ocean but in a fraction of the time. China set up a supply chain that served half of the world’s population and produced three quarters of the world’s GDP.
By 2050 China’s economy was able to support a military budget that was twice the size of the U.S. Military and a research budget almost ten times larger than the U.S. budget. They dominated first in the South China Sea and then spread their influence in the Mediterranean Ocean and eventually in all the oceans except for those around North and South America. More importantly, they placed nuclear bombs into space orbit before being discovered by the States in 2060. This gave them preemptive strike capabilities that the U.S. Missile Defense System had not been designed to counteract. There was much arguing on its potential effectiveness against such a threat.
The United States, now 45 states, know by most as just The States, remained a two party system of populus conservatives and traditional, inclusive moderate democrats. The balance of power continued to tetter back and forth between these tribal parties.
The States excelled at automation, low taxes for all, and a huge military budget. PAX American continued to be the guiding principle for U.S. military engagement.
As Automation and AI became effective in producing most of the goods and services, huge unemployment resulted. For awhile the rich accumulated enormous wealth until the market for goods and services actually started to decrease as the number in poverty grew rapidly every year. The tribal tensions exploded as the nation divided into factions, and at times into bloody street violence.
As automation improved it was owned and controlled by the rich elite. There became two Americas, the walled-in areas controlled by the rich and a small middle class, who lived in the Centers, and the rest of the country that became effectively a third world country but heavily armed.
The States hired private Militia to protect the Centers and vigilants patrolled the streets outside the centers. Everyone had to pay someone to protect their business. Visas to leave the poor areas to come into the Centers or to leave the U.S. were almost never granted. Most traveling between the Centers was done by plane except for freight trains which were accompanied by a military convoy.
The military also protected large government farms that grew most of the food for the country and much of the world. Most farm jobs had been automated to deal with the shortage of farm labor after the States finally built the border wall between 2035 and 2040. Immigration was banned and even more effectively, the States became an undesirable place to live.
By agreement and inclination, by 2084 the States maintained the Military for Texas and California. With the Chinese economy now being four times larger than the U.S. economy, and more than twice as large as the aggregate economy of the States, Texas and California, the military of the U.S. had finally accepted a lower budget than the Chinese military, but had not yet accepted its reduced role in being the world policeman despite being inferior to China in the number and the sophistication of its weapons, especially in space.
The European union had long since dissolved and only Great Britain made any attempt to side with the U.S. anymore. Israel had merged with Palestine in a one state solution and had lost its identity has a Jewish state. Surprisingly, it still sided with the States in most regional conflicts.
The States was still in war in the general area of Afghanistan. Recent reports suggested the upcoming year was critical in stabilizing this conflict. A city and a region called Dixie, Afghanistan formed initially by soldiers that decided not to come home was now a half million strong and fully integrated into the Afghanistan fabric.
The States had proceeded forward never adapting to a world where it no longer had major influence or domination in anything.