QUOTA by Vercors


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Modern consumer economy is the target of this somewhat obvious satire, and its locale is Tahualpa, a ""republic, between the U.S. and Mexico...populated by immigrants of all races and nations."" Tahualpa is in an economic decline until a mysterious man named Quota appears. The psychological super-salesmanship by which he forces people to buy what they do not want is not always credible at first, but soon, the entire population is caught up in a buying spree from which Quota allows no escape. Wages are high if purchasing is high, until every family is flooded with surplus refrigerators, TV sets, etc., whereupon Quota's psychology department sets about creating new needs and new gadgets. When all else fails, the built-in obsolescence rate is stepped up until cars, appliances, buildings need to be replaced every few months. The truth is stronger than the fiction here, and this is a sobering if heavy-handed view of the end to which modern economy often seems to be heading. As a topical novel, it has its own built-in obsolescence.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1965
Publisher: Putnam