Jennifer Government is a 2003 novel by Max Barry, a Dystopic tale of a corporate run world. Set Twenty Minutes into the Future, the United States has become a globe-spanning corporate empire including the western hemisphere (except Cuba), the British Isles, South Africa, India, Japan and Australia, a recent acquisition where most of the book takes place. A map provided in the book identifies some countries as "affiliates" and others as "socialist" and "fragmented markets." Taxation is a thing of the past, people take the surnames of their employer company, and business is basically above the law since so few laws remain.The story begins when Corrupt Corporate Executive John Nike signs employee Hack Nike up for a new guerilla marketing scheme, killing a dozen customers that buy the latest model of their shoes to raise street cred. After Hack outsources the kill to NRA via the privatised police, the Government gets involved. The investigation is led by Jennifer Government, a single mother / secret agent who seems to have a personal stake in solving the case. Another story thread follows Hack's self-employed girlfriend, Violet (later Violet ExxonMobil) getting caught up in the war between US Alliance and Team Advantage, two "Customer Loyalty" programs that are effectively competing with each other and the government for control of the nation, and Hack getting involved with a group of anti-capitalist activists.Meanwhile, in Texas, Billy Bechtel (Later Billy NRA) is laid off as Bechtel closes down their tank factory and he decides he wants to go skiing. Several misunderstandings later he is a part of John Nike's ultimate plan: to overthrow the government. We also follow stock trader Buy Mitsui, who is a bystander to the initial Nike shootings who ends up dating Jennifer.Often compared with the dystopia novel 1984, Jennifer Government flips the basic premise on its head by looking at a world where the state has too little power. Taxation was abolished long ago, which one character points to as the beginning of serious problems since it removed people from any sort of investment in the larger society, and almost all government services (Including law enforcement and road repair) have been privatized. The Government only has the power to investigate crimes against private property and life, and only the funding to help those who can pay.The book suffers in some places from too many characters, and the presence of several intertwining storylines means that a lot of characters do not get the screen time they deserve. Strong points include Barry's comedic wit and the book's complete indifference towards being sued for any of the monstrous things its (named) corporate entities do. Consider the fact that the primary story is about Nike contracting a man to kill children and you realize that Barry has some serious pelotas a-swingin'.
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