THE SPACE MERCHANTS (1952) by Frederik Pohl & Cyril M. Kornbluth.
Although this novel was written in the 1950s, it depicts an all-too-believable future:
corporations run everything including the government; food is laced
with addictive drugs; the environment is being depleted by rampant
greed; society is stratified into the haves and have-nots... and
powerful, feuding advertising agencies hold it all together by
manipulating the public.
In this world, Greta Thunberg wouldn't be allowed to speak; the environmentalists (called "Consies"=Conservationists) are persecuted and smeared as dangerous subversives.
Sounds dreary - but in fact this
satirical novel is quite funny. And while the protagonist eventually
joins the "Resistance," he is at heart a selfish jerk. (Think Don Draper
of the future.)
THE SPACE MERCHANTS may have inspired later near-future stories, but it remains an enjoyable SF classic.
The novel originally ran as the serial "Gravy Planet" in the magazine GALAXY Science Fiction. Check out these scanned magazine pages containing the first chapter...
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