Market Forces, by Richard K. Morgan, Ballantine Books 2005, 464pp.
In a dystopic future, satirically meant to be the logical outcome of Globalisation, Chris Faulkner works at a job in "Conflict Investment", because big business now manages small profitable wars in third-world countries, to keep them poor so that Westerners can have luxurious lifestyles. Actually only 'Zecs (executives) get the luxuries -- the huge wealth gap relegates everyone else to cordoned slum zones. And 'Zecs compete with each other by fatal car duels on the roads.
The book came to me via Goldman friends, one of whom did not finish it. I can see why -- it is depressing and violent and repetitive. And yet it gets the live-for-work mindset very accurately. Chris's arguments about work with his wife and mechanic, Carla, are squirmingly spot-on (she comes from Sweden, where things are still fair). And Morgan makes the idea of using handguns and baseball bats in business meetings seem way too natural! And yet he was an English teacher -- perhaps all corporate work is the same.
I kind of admired the "unhappy" ending, not that it was a big surprise in a story full of kneecappings and institutionalised betrayal. But I was glad to be done with it. Contrary to what I have said, there are a few novels about corporate life...
Joe wrote: "big business now manages small profitable wars in third-world countries, to keep them poor so that Westerners can have luxurious lifestyles." You think this is fiction???