Societies have hierarchies: today they are loosely divided into an upperclass, middle-class, lower-class.

Our world used to be more focused on a caste system with royals at the top, religious leaders second (sometimes vice versa), warriors, workers, farmers etc.

What kind of class system could a future society have that is not divided by material matters, but by other matters. Let's imagine that we take our world 100 years into the future with technology expanding at the current rate.

I'm thinking along the lines of administrators, but I am also open to other suggestions.

Edit: in a computer-driven world, the castes might be administrators, programmers, users. But where would the hardware repair guys be, the tech guys, the producers, where would information officers be, where in this hierarchy could you find a police structure observing, even defenders. Because with administrators at the top, you basically override all the other hierarchies. This is basically at the core of any company and it creates quite a messy hierarchy.

  • $\begingroup$ Hello there, and welcome to the site, So far to what I see, this is a very great question $\endgroup$
    – RotNDecay
    Feb 10 '20 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ Hierarchies depend upon the criteria you choose, as your question was working towards and almost reached. Are you asking for a list of future criteria? That seems rather opinion-based. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Feb 10 '20 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ @RotNDecay, thanks I'm still trying to fit in and find my way around here. :-) I appreciate your comment. $\endgroup$
    – at_
    Feb 10 '20 at 21:37
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    $\begingroup$ "not divided into material matters" - a post-scarcity capitalist society? A communist society? The exact explanation would greatly affect the answer. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Feb 10 '20 at 21:40
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    $\begingroup$ When thinking about a hierarchy you must looked at the purpose of the hierarchy (what is it for?), at the mechanism for propagating the hierarchy (how to the programmers' children inherit their parents' position?) and at the relevance of the hierarchy (what does being at higher levels allows a person to actually do?). A hierarchy which does not perpetuate itself is benign; it's just a way to organize activity. A hierarchy which does not give more power to those at higher levels is basically honorary & ignorable. (And do try to understand how the hierarchy actually affects peoples' lives.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 10 '20 at 22:19

Groups seem to create caste groupings based on what is valued.

If you were ever in High School in the US, you might see athletic ability as the caste determination. The top caste when I went was the Football and Soccer teams, followed closely by Basketball, wrestling, tennis, etc. Cheerleaders and Drill Team (a cross between cheerleaders and highly choreographed dance troop) were included. That top caste was commonly called 'the jocks'. Then you had Preppies, those who may not have played in organized sports, but had a matching mentality to the Jocks, and usually had wealthy parents. A little lower you had Marching Band Geeks. The Normals were just people. Not so much picked on as ignored so long as they knew their place. Nerds and Geeks tended to be at the bottom.

You can see the structure. Athletic ability was more prized than Money, which in turn was more prized than musical ability. The 'unclean' were any of those who were too smart but socially awkward.

You have already identified what was valued in times past, Which was one's bloodline. IN modern times, it's money that matters more. For your future society, you have to decide what is valuable.

Technological ability could be one aspect that a caste system evolves around. Those that write the code rule the universe. Or perhaps it could be Corporate ability, which is not too far removed from today. In something more dystopian you could look at Soviet Russia, where a caste system grew up around Party membership and the politicking one has to do within party ranks.

You just have to decide what your society values and you should see the caste system fairly easily


It's really hard to predict 100 years, especially on general, grand terms. Predicting the future is the business of worldbuilding for thousands of sci-fi authors, who have all crafted their own visions.

So instead of trying to predict that, I'm going to approach your question by outlining a possible way of, given a chosen set of predictions about the future, how could you take those and develop a caste system?

A few basic ideas about castes:

  • Being in a higher caste has perks. The classes on top tend to do more desirable work and less undesirable work, or has access to more resources. This is a necessary feature or else people would not desire to be in the higher castes.
  • It is not trivial to move between castes. Otherwise anyone would do it and create inbalance.
  • The reasoning behind the castes has to be accepted by the majority of the population - otherwise there would be a revolt.

So with that in mind, two good questions are:

  • Q1: What are the core values of this society? You get at these from philosophy, religion, and ethics. All of these determine the government and economics and culture which will dictate the castes.
  • Q2: What are the core problems in this society? The caste structure will change over time to solve those problems.

Example: in modern America some of the core values we can see throughout our history are entrepeneurism, independence/freedom, and diversity. So, referencing Q1, core values of entrepeneurism and freedom lead us to the economic system of capitalism, and this leads us to the castes that we have based on income. And then we get to Q2, what are the problems with this system? Income inequality and overall selfishness, so we see those problems lead the government and culture to change and become more economically socialist...or maybe in the future a totally new economic system will emerge.

I hope this example will be useful to you in building out a feasible world.


AlexP has made it clearer for me, at the highest level is the administrator, followed by a group of programmers, their main aim is to uphold the code, under which everything else has to be subsumed. The user being at the very bottom, while techies are way above them. Any political or police structure would be highly influenced by the ones upholding the code.


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