Edward Bellamy (1850-1898) was an American journalist and novelist best known for his futuristic utopian novel Looking Backward: 2000-1887, which was first published in 1888 and captured the anxiety and the optimism of the Gilded Age. Bellamy's book sold more than a million copies and inspired the formation of clubs around the country dedicated to his ideas, one of the most enduring of which was the concept of technological advance as a means of social progress.
Looking Backward is the story of a man who wakes up 113 years in the future and finds America transformed into a perfect society in which the giant corporations of the nineteenth century have merged with a benevolent government. Advances in industrial technology have produced such an abundance of material wealth that there is no longer any scarcity or social conflict. In this utopia, Americans now live as equals, retire at age 45, and enjoy the pleasures of mass consumption by using an object similar to a credit card.