Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Modern Slavery and the Gods of Consumption

Title: Modern Slavery and the Gods of Consumption

Author: Ofer Even

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Rating: 5 out of 5 fairies

Where to buy: Amazon

Synopsis: Meet Michael Marks, the man who wants to buy everything
Michael Marks is a successful advertising agent, obsessed with consumerism and climbing the corporate ladder. He takes more pleasure in buying a new car than in his wife’s third pregnancy. In fact, he even appraises his children in terms of profit and loss! Then a series of experiences and disillusionments begin to turn his life upside down…
A roller-coaster of events shakes Michael to the core
When Michael’s client is jailed for embezzlement, Michael learns that the American prison system is a business for profit with the highest ratio of inmates in the world, 1:100! His company advertises meat without FDA approval, leading to a crisis that forces Michael to fire thousands of workers. Then in an argument with his impoverished housekeeper, Jonathan, Michael is unnerved when accused of being an unwitting prisoner in a gilded cage who worships the “God of Consumption”.
The complete transformation of Michael Marks
Michael comes around to Jonathan’s way of thinking and together they write a manual advocating the overthrow of the corporate “sole” and its grip on society. Can Michael free himself and his family of “modern slavery?” Can he change the world without losing all that is dear to him?

About the Author: Ofer is curious. He floats along various life-streams as he delves deeper into his main hobby: people. To make a living, Ofer Even is a lawyer. This allows him to watch and learn how things work. People, crowds, religions and how all of these clash are of particular interest. Ofer's life is atypical. At eighteen he was diagnosed with cancer and given less than a 30% chance at survival. This completely changed his world-view. Now, each day is a gift and each year is a warmly embraced surprise. This is Ofer's first book. It attempts to organize 30 years'-worth of accumulated insight gained by observing the environment, the distribution of wealth and exponentially increasing cultural changes.

Review:  When I first started reading this, I thought it was set in some kind of dystopian future. Then I realized - this is what those ones at the upper end of society, but not the highest 1% often do. The hiring someone as an act of "charity" the ruthless need to have more, get more, get ahead. It's what makes them successful in the corporate world. But, does it make them truly successful? Jonathan lacks Michael's family's material wealth. He is often given old clothes and shoes and food from his employer's family, and yet seems to be completely happy the way things are. This stark comparison between the rich and poor, the haves and have-nots is startling. If you're always reaching for more can you ever be truly happy? Can you undo a lifetime of want and learn to be happy with less?

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