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Late 70's, early 80's. Possibly Amazing Stories/Science Fiction Science Fact or similar periodical, possibly a reprint (astounding ?).

I am pretty sure this was not a comic, and for many years I believed the title was "The Union Forever" but not Barry N. Malzberg's.

All persons acquire a living allowance by means of a stock grant at birth. Employment is lucrative but nobody seems particularly interested in giving up their free time.

Employment is by frequently dodged draft.

The main character is drafted into a systems admin role, for which he is surprisingly qualified by comparison to the incumbents who are rorting the system (possible anti-socialist story line), having been taught (punched card) processing by an aged relative, possibly a grandfather.

Ala "Winston" in "1984" he attracts attention, and the "Union" makes a move...

  • 1
    What means "rorting?" I wot not this word. – DavidW May 31 at 3:24
  • Riding the gravy train, not actually working. Fraudulently misrepresenting their time cards etc.etc. Basically being as useful as mammary glands on a bull, but still cashing their paycheck. – mckenzm May 31 at 3:28
  • 2
    Probably "The Union Forever", a novella by Mack Reynolds in Analog, December 1980 but I don't seem to have a copy of that issue, so I can't confirm that the story matches your description. – user14111 May 31 at 3:34
  • I'll check that by Monday, I do have that issue. Possibly from wandering down this path before. It would match his MO. I could be wrong about the title as well. – mckenzm May 31 at 5:25
  • The part about every U.S. citizen being issued some shares of "Basic Common Stock" at birth, thus giving him a small but steady source of income even if he never finds a steady pay, was a basic assumption in many of Mack Reynolds's stories. As soon as I read the question, I figured it had to be something by Mack Reynolds. – Lorendiac May 31 at 9:02

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