Sorry, you aren't profitable enough to live.
February 13, 2012 10:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for what are (probably) Science Fiction or Dystopian stories/novels based on the premise that a person's value in society is based on how profitable he/she is to a bank. I.e., a person who didn't live his/her life in such a manner as to be profitable for a bank would suffer negative consequences as a result. It sounds uncomfortably close to reality, nowadays, so I figure someone wrote the stories I'm thinking of years ago. Any ideas?
posted by pjern to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Super Sad True Love Story is very like this - everyone's credit score is public and people are judged by it in every aspect of their lives, and entire cities are only open to High Net Worth Individuals.
posted by ukdanae at 10:06 AM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Max(x) Barry's Jennifer Government, maybe? In which you take the surname of your employer and have to buy protection from the police if you need it?
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:10 AM on February 13, 2012

Not banks, necessarily, but Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake and The Year Of The Flood involve the funneling of students into what are basically feeder-schools for corporations; those who aren't useful to the corporations' profits become second-class citizens, and ultimately end up as guinea pigs for experimental products.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:17 AM on February 13, 2012

I think there was an episode of Sliders like this.
posted by steinsaltz at 10:32 AM on February 13, 2012

The last (?) sequel of SAW touches this topic, though it's (health) insurance companies and not banks. It's not scifi though.
posted by MinusCelsius at 10:35 AM on February 13, 2012

A similar theme gets quite a bit of play in YA novel Feed. In this case, however, it's about being unprofitable for advertisers, rather than banks.
posted by Joe Schlabotnik at 10:51 AM on February 13, 2012

The Unincorporated Man, by Dani Kollin & Eytan Kollin deals with this theme. If "corporations are people" what if every person became a corporation?
posted by General Tonic at 11:34 AM on February 13, 2012

Never Let Me Go by by Kazuo Ishiguro certainly brings up questions regarding the worth of a human life.
posted by koinonia at 12:24 PM on February 13, 2012

Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story features a collapsing US where individuals credit ratings are displayed above their heads and govern all aspects of their lives.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:41 PM on February 13, 2012

There are hints of this in the "Sonmi" chapter of Cloud Atlas.

Fredrick Pohl's The Merchants War and Midas World are based on a post-scarcity reverse-consumption economy where the poorest people are the ones who have to work hard consuming things, but the rich are allowed to relax on only consume things they need.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:04 PM on February 13, 2012

Stepfather Bank by David Poyer brushes up against these concepts pretty hard.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:13 PM on February 13, 2012

Scott Westerfeld's Extras is set in a city where individual compensation & financial worth is determined by one's relative fame.
posted by Cuke at 5:11 PM on February 13, 2012

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