Recently in a class, we had a brief discussion about which dystopia we thought was most likely in the future. I made the case for one particular version when thinking of some of the classic 20th century dystopian texts and later thought about another I could see happening:
1. Out of the options provided by books like Fahrenheit 451, A Brave New World, 1984, and Lord of the Flies, given current conditions I would go with A Brave New World. With the sense of loneliness, alienation, and inequality that many in the world feel plus the use of antidepressants, opioids, and drugs, the option of taking drugs to blissfully go about day by day seems the most realistic.
2. As I thought about it a little more, I could imagine a different scenario that is in some different cultural texts but that often comes about because of some natural disaster or major conflict: the fragmentation of nation-states into much smaller collectives that simply cannot on their own do what is needed to the standard of life that most developed nations are used to. Imagine the United States splinters into something like twelve different countries; keeping all of the infrastructure, technology, trade, and complexity together would be very difficult.
These different visions of dystopia are among a range of options. If the collapse of modern civilization does happen would it be because of a truly black swan occurrence or the steady accumulation of small but thorny issues? I suspect which dystopias we see are more likely depends on current conditions and trends.