Incorporated takes place in 2074, where corporations have supplanted the government, the rich live in the protected Green Zones (while the poor fend for themselves in the lawless Red Zones) and the ecosystem has gone to hell. But how did things get so bad?
The History of the Future
The hottest year on record, and declared the 'Point of No Return' for climate change.
Scientific estimates for climate change are dramatically outpaced, causing more extreme weather conditions than any point in recorded history. The extreme weather leads to unrest amongst the populace and concerns about resource shortages.
An infestation of pesticide-resistant Asian Longhorned Beetles wipe out over a hundred million trees across North America, escalating climate change even more.
The U.S. Government gives billions in subsidies to biotech startup SPIGA to help combat both the beetle infestation and the massive problems of deforestation.
SPIGA eradicates the Asian Longhorned Beetle and begins work on complex genetically modified plants to help address the carbon gap. In return for their service, SPIGA is given tax-exempt status.
Superstorm Yolanda does massive damage to the entire southwest. The U.S. Government is nearly bankrupted by the event and is left unable to repair the destruction.
Following the failures the preceding year, the U.S. Government contracts with several private corporations in order to provide service and care for those displaced by natural disasters. By beginning privatization of first responders, the government returns to solvency.
Congress passes a bill allowing any and all weather-related disasters to be categorized as Acts of God and not covered by private insurance companies.
Food riots commence following an outbreak of a virulent strain of malaria, amplified by the global temperature rise and nearly five years of standing water left in the wake of Superstorm Yolanda.
All genetic research in the government and educational system is banned, handed over to private corporations including SPIGA and its bio-tech rival, Inazagi.
A dust bowl is formed, stretching from Oklahoma to Texas. Millions are displaced and move northward.
A substantial piece of the Arctic Shelf breaks off, leading to water rise that begins to swallow New England. Mass western migration begins.
After 20 years of the hottest weather on record, the ground throughout the Midwest is declared unfit for farming. A dust bowl of epic proportions bombards the South and the Midwest, making them nearly uninhabitable.
The country is hit by a trifecta. Hurricanes, flooding and a typhoon make both coasts and much of the river-adjacent coastline uninhabitable. FEMA is unable to help, leaving the Private Corporations to step in and provide service … for a price.
Population in northern Midwest cities skyrocket. Chicago's population grows from 2.7 million in 2016 to 25 million. Milwaukee grows from 600,000 in 2016 to 3 million in 2038.
In order to stop the rampant illegal immigration of Americans, Canada erects a border wall stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic with armed guards posted every quarter mile. They are given orders to shoot to kill.
The Oil Wars begin. With energy at a premium, the U.S. Government sends its military force to wrest control from the remaining Oil Superpowers, leading to the bloodiest and most destructive war of all time. The United States is forced to call in the aid of private corporate armies and mercenaries in order to secure victory. The war spans two years, costing millions of lives.
Unable to repay the corporate supporters of the Oil Wars, entire sections of the United States are handed over with no restrictions to the major corporations.
Civil unrest explodes following the construction of Corporate Enclave 'Green Zones,' wherein corporate employees live in comfort and care, outside of the 'Red Zones,' which are racked with poverty, hunger and disease. The Corporate Armies are used to quell the revolt, raising questions of war crimes.
The U.S. Government ratifies the 29th Amendment, granting corporations sovereignty. They are now, essentially, nation states, with all of the rights and abilities of a separate government.
SPIGA buys out several of its closest rivals, becoming the largest biotech corporation on the planet. Inazagi will follow suit and buy out several of its competitors to become a close second.
The groundwater of several major cities becomes contaminated, leading to widespread malaria, dysentery and Zika outbreaks. There is a final massive migration, bringing 80% of the population into the major Midwestern cities.