A dystopia is a civilization devoid of most value. Unrecoverable dystopias constitute a distinct kind of existential catastrophe.

Toby Ord divides dystopias into three types. A dystopia may be desired by either none, some, or most or all of the actors living under it. Ord calls these undesired dystopias, enforced dystopias, and desired dystopias, respectively (Ord 2020: ch. 5).

Enforced dystopias

Enforced dystopias are the most familiar type of dystopia. In fiction, they are most prominently represented by George Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty Four: "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— for ever." (Orwell 1949: ch. 3). Outside of fiction, North Korea arguably offers an example of a local stable dystopia (Drescher 2017; Drescher 2020). Fictional and real enforced dystopias often assume the form of robust totalitarianism, though this need not be so....

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