Soylent Green

Movie made: 1973 | Set in: 2022

Summary Table
Event Likelihood Time frame
U.S. poverty-stricken and severely overpopulated very low beyond 2030
Human remains added to food supply very low beyond 2030

Approach to the future

Societal scenario


Futurism: 6

Entertainment: 5

Plausibility: 5

Interesting depictions


Other technologies/topics depicted

In 2022, overpopulation has reduced the United States and the rest of the world to hellish poverty. People are jammed into every available living space, and all non-artificial foods are precious commodities.

This isn’t going to happen in the United States. Current projections are that the country will have 335 million people in 2025, and their living patterns probably won’t be radically different from today. The number could be lower with restrictions on immigration. The worst consequence might be consumption of the countryside by urban sprawl.

To arrive at the scenario depicted in the movie would require massive social upheaval and drastic value changes.

Populations have already stabilized in many developed countries, and will begin to drop in the next decade.

On the other hand, this disaster has already happened in many cities of the developing world. And they will only grow larger and more packed in the next few decades.

There is currently enough food in the world to feed everyone, but many people are too poor to afford it. In coming decades, increased consumption by parts of the world where wealth is growing, like China, could push up the price of food. Poorer countries may be outbid for the available supply, and hunger could spread. This is more likely if genetic engineering of food crops is rejected.

A character plays a giant, primitive console video game. This was prescient for when the movie was made—1973—but only briefly: video arcades with better games would appear in a few years.

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The futures depicted in the movies