Letter: Pure fiction

The prognostications of Ian Angell about satellite banking and the demise of the nation-state are as fictional as the scenario Matthew Sweet constructs on their basis ("A smart way to avoid the tax man", Review, 22 June). Such attempts to predict the future have a notoriously poor track record. I suggest that both authors are saying more about contemporary anxieties, Professor Angell converting these into simple- minded power fantasies, Mr Sweet offering profounder images of urban alienation. His citizen lives alone and evidently grew up in a lone-parent family. His larger world of city-states separated by primitive and dangerous "hinterlands" is a version of an old metaphor (which would have been recognised by Matthew Arnold and his Victorian readers) for the isolation of the individual.

Alan MacColl

St Andrews, Fife