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Back in the 70's my local library had a novel about a human coming to a human-colonized (I think) planet where mind control was common and where he was there to solve a crime. There was a hierarchy based on how many other people you could control, starting in the single digits and eventually going by tens up to eighty or so. The main character's local associate was something like a 40 working on 50, and our hero gets in trouble with his associate at one point for interrupting a mind duel he's engaging in on the road to 50.

Those in the single digits do most of the grunt work, though fortunately for our main character those who have no mind-control powers at all are exempt - he also chats with a "disabled" native at one point who is very glad to be disabled and out of all the competition.

Standard attire is a catsuit with your number over your heart, and what I remember most about the (hardback) book is the dustjacket, which depicted a woman who filled out her catsuit exceptionally well.

I have a vague recollection that the book was originally published in the 50's, but I wouldn't swear to it.

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    Not in the least apropos to the questions, but how or why did the "people in the future will all dress alike" thing ever get started? OK, I mean maybe the story has a Message (tm), but come on. – dmckee Jan 11 '12 at 20:52
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    @dmckee perhaps they are Dress-Coded for Your Convenience or perhaps all the clothes in the future are so popular that is a case where they all Dresses the Same. – Xantec Jan 11 '12 at 21:09
  • Actually that reminds of a pretty good short story I've got around somewhere...body plans are freely adjustable and everyone wears some approximation of la mode --- told through the eyes of a refugee from the time of have to live with how you were made. – dmckee Jan 11 '12 at 21:21
  • @DMCKEE -- it's not that uncommon theme in Scifi, along with treating Men & Women the same. It's usually associated with far advanced cultures when it shows up, and is part of the who 'absolute equality' that applies to physical / gender / racial traits. Basically, they all dress alike so that nothing about their dress shows anything about them -- you must judge them totally on their mind/merits/etc. Often done with a heavy hand, though, sadly, but it's been an expected trend for many years. It's usually seen in cultures that prize intellect above everything, but shows up other places too. – K-H-W Jan 12 '12 at 0:51
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The book is called 'Mind Traders' by J. Hunter Holly, published in 1974. I unearther that book recently in my house, and if I find it again I'll post more details. Was a good yarn as I remember....

http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Traders-J-Hunter-Holly/dp/0532953045

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