I read this story many years ago. In the future, all industrial production had been taken over by machines. The problem then became the need to consume the stuff produced, so people were assigned consumption quotas.

As a reward for good service, consumers were given higher rank and required to consume less. The story has modern implications so I would like to find the title and author.


1 Answer 1


It sounds like "Midas World" by Frederik Pohl. This is a collection of short stories linked to the same time line, notably "The Midas Plague"

"The Midas Plague" (originally published in Galaxy in 1954). In a world of cheap energy, robots are overproducing the commodities enjoyed by mankind. The lower-class "poor" must spend their lives in frantic consumption, trying to keep up with the robots' extravagant production, while the upper-class "rich" can live lives of simplicity. Property crime is nonexistent, and the government Ration Board enforces the use of ration stamps to ensure that everyone consumes their quotas. The story deals with Morey Fry, who marries a woman from a higher-class family. Raised in a home with only five rooms she is unused to a life of forced consumption in their mansion of 26 rooms, nine automobiles, and five robots, causing arguments. Trained as an engineer, Morey modifies his robots to enjoy helping to consume his family's quota. He fears punishment when his idea is discovered, but the Ration Board—which has been looking for a way to abolish itself—quickly implements Morey's idea across the world.

  • Your answer requires high rank users to consume MORE, not less. Which is my recollection of a story which is probably the one you cite. It may or may not be what the OP is looking for. Jul 8, 2020 at 5:31

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