Culpa Innata Book Cover by B. Barmanbek
Culpa Innata is a well written, imaginative, and realistic dystopian novel set in the future and taking place in Eastern Europe. It paints a picture of what a New World Order might look like following a great economic meltdown, worldwide riots, globalisation, and some affluent trillionaires buying the worldwide debt to introduce a new system in their own vision, a vision where mega-corporations control the world.
In Culpa Innata the world is separated into two: the mighty World Union, a free-trade area encompassing all the Western World including South America, Japan, and Eastern Europe, and the independent Rogue Nation-States like Russia, China, and India. From the Culpa Innata website, the story reads: "A World Union citizen is murdered in Russia, one of the few remaining Rogue States. This murder oddly coincides with the accidental death of a prominent professor in Adrianopolis, an important border town between the World Union and Russia. Senior Peace Agent Phoenix Wallis is assigned to lead the investigation of the murder. Newly promoted to senior rank after a stagnating career for more than a decade, she will soon make discoveries beyond her wildest imagination, as skilled hackers and subversive characters begin taking an inexplicable interest in Phoenix. Her investigation reveals enigmatic clues that lead her deeper and deeper into a mystery that challenges not only her case, but her very beliefs in the worldview she is fiercely loyal and has sworn to protect."
The interest of the story resides however in the brilliant conversations Phoenix has with different characters across the city, each one showing us how the attitudes and lifestyles have changed in the New World Order. She is also responsible for the security interviews of new immigrants at the Immigration Academy, where it is revealed how people live in the Rogue States and what it represents for them to be welcomed in the World Union.
Memorable characters are Phoenix's colleagues like the backstabbing and ambitious Julio Dominguez, Phoenix's boss Dagmar Morssen who can sympathise only to a certain extent, and Phoenix's best friend Sandra Pescara, who is the embodiment of selfishness. A real treat is the Attorney Douglas Anderson and his boyfriend image-maker Roger Arnett, the latter being most revealing in how the elite citizens of Adrianopolis really think compared with what is taught in the Child-Development Centres.
At first the book Culpa Innata seems to present a utopia. There are no more murders in the new World Union, no more organised governments or religions, no more traumatic biological births or marriages. The rights of citizens are respected and it could appear as if you had all the freedom in the world to accomplish whatever you wish to achieve. This is not a system that forces you into submission by dictation; nobody obliges you to do anything. However just like today in our society the social pressure around you indirectly conditions your mind to conform to the norms.
Huge compensations are paid by the commercial companies that have taken over the work of the police force if they intrude too much on your personal life. 100% of the population works. You still have the dream to become a Devotee or an Arrivee at the top of the social pyramid, if you have enough greed and selfishness in this predatory capitalism pushed to its logical conclusion. So why is the New World Order depicted in Culpa Innata instead a dystopian novel?
The difference between Culpa Innata and other dystopian novels like Brave New World of Aldous Huxley, 1984 of George Orwell, and Men Like Gods of H. G. Wells, is that it is the closest to describing where we are as a society today and where we are going. None of the great classical authors could have predicted where capitalism and socialism pushed to their extreme limits could lead in time and what measures could have been put in place to build over such disasters.
If there is already any such thing as a New World Order, and for any population to accept such a state of affair no matter how desperate they are, such a world would need to provide the illusion of freedom. On the surface at least, it would first appear ideal and to be the solution to all our worldwide problems. This is where Culpa Innata differs from the other authors who presented us a bleak future from the start--readers knew right away they would not want to live in these societies. Some people today who don't know better might actually enjoy living in the World Union; this is why it is powerful.
You don't have to be fit in the World Union, but if you are not you will be an outcast. Your health-insurance premium will skyrocket. You don't have to be greedy, but the system interferes when you step on someone else's toes, and that is so easy to happen. Everyone is a corporation and a country. You are the only citizen of your country and you can live by the rules you set, as long as it doesn't interfere with any other country's rights.
In the Rogue States their style of capitalism, socialism, and communism appear to have led to constant riots and chaos, pushed by the constant poverty and corrupted government officials linked with the mafia still espousing some form of capitalism whilst pretending to socialism for the rest of the population.
In the Western World however we witness what happens when we reach the end of capitalism, where only a handful of people in the world own all the money and assets of the rest of the population and capitalism only works for those trillionaires. An economic meltdown followed by riots also erupted everywhere due to poverty and the end of the American dream, prompting those trillionaires to pay the entire debt of all these countries for a price: the instauration of a New World Order.
In this New World Order everything has been privatised. The Global Peace and Security Network (GPSN), a private company, is in charge of the police and the military for which every citizen must pay for their security or be thrown out of the World Union and unleashed into the Rogue States. Banks are no longer working as they used to. The corporate-personhood argument has been twisted to include every citizen being now a small corporation in their own right. Investors can sponsor and invest in people's ego shares based on their future potential in accumulating wealth. Citizens who cannot work and pay for their insurance and security are also thrown out of the World Union.
Culpa Innata means innate culpability for being born, and every citizen must pay for that original sin of being born by paying their debt to society and to the investors who brought them into the world. There is an elaborate pyramidal system called Human-Development Index, which classifies every citizen into the class they belong to. Over 90% of the population is at the bottom of the pyramid and cannot aspire to much in life. All Rogue-States inhabitants are under the 70% HDI while in the World Union you work your way up from a disciple starting at 70% up to a Supreme Self at 98% to 100%. When you reach a 90% HDI you get an Arrivee tattoo on your forehead.
Children no longer have parents; natural birth is deemed too traumatic an experience for any new-born. All children are brought up in Child-Development Centres where some sort of early conditioning to the ways of the World Union can be achieved. You will meet an 8th grader (an eight-year-old) in the novel who speaks just like you would expect a banker or politician today to speak like in private. Emotions like altruism and love are considered archaic instincts. And physical training is important since everyone aspires to be healthy, wealthy, with perfect genes.
There does not seem to be any censorship since any threatening idea seems to have been eliminated from everyone's mind a long time ago. However there is still a censorship of the press; they are prevented from talking about the first murder of a World Union citizen in 14 years, from fears they will never get any other scoop from the GPSN in the future.
Culpa Innata is perhaps the closest dystopian novel to our situation; it shows where we might end up if we are not careful and if we fail to operate a radical change in our ways as a society. And now here is the interview with the author B. Barmanbek in order to clarify certain key concepts of the novel.