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Literature: "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!"

"This book is not a novel. Nor is it nonfiction. In the literary world, it might be described as 'a practical utopia.' I call it a fictional vision that could become a new reality. Some known and not-well-known people appear in fictional roles. I invite your imaginative engagement."
Author's note

"Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!" is a 2009 utopian novel by consumer advocate, author, and occasional presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

In 2005, billionaire Warren Buffett watches the damage of Hurricane Katrina and, seeing the slow government response, decides to help out himself. After helping out, a woman shouts, "Only the super-rich can save us!" Buffett gets an idea. He will help fix the country, with the help of some other super-rich folks, the Meliorists:

Other celebrities who appear are Warren Beatty, Woody Harrelson, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Nader was inspired by Edward Bellamy's utopian novel Looking Backward; the book could be considered a left-wing Atlas Shrugged.

This book provides examples of:

  • Alternate History: The novel takes place in an alternate 2006.
  • Arc Words: "Stay tuned."
  • Author Avatar: The Meliorists are basically Ralph Nader disguised as celebrities.
  • Author Tract
  • Character Filibuster: Frequent.
  • Door Stopper: 733 pages.
  • Love at First Sight: Bad guy Lancelot Lobo is instantly smitten with Yoko Ono upon seeing her speak at the Meliorsts' press conference.
  • Meaningful Name: Lancelot Lobo; Sean Hannity Pawn Vanity; Wal-Mart CEO Leighton Clott; Senator Thurston Thinkalot; charismatic businessman Luke Skyhi; election law expert Theresa Tieknots; Senators Prune, Sunup, Merchant, and Bitter; farmers Gil Groundwork and Hal Horsefeathers; Jasper Cumbersome III, CEO of The Leviathan Corporation.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Averted with most of the main characters, but some secondary characters are barely disguised-talk show hosts Sean Hannity Pawn Vanity and Rush Limbaugh Bush Bimbaugh, Washington Post columnist David Broder David Roader, conservative activist Grover Norquist Brover Dorquist...
  • Operation Blank
  • Propaganda Machine
  • Punny Name: Head of recruitment Seymour Depth; evil businessmen Hugh Mongous, Sy Clopean and Cole Ossal.
  • Real Person Fic: But the complete opposite of slash-it'll only turn you on if you're a policy wonk.
  • Rule of Three: As observed here, Nader uses groups of three throughout the book.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Averted-one of the plans, to "buy back" members of Congress by funding their campaigns if they refuse donations from special interests, is scrapped because it would violate federal election law.
    "The Meliorists learned the hard way that not every honest and lean political idea was legally permissible."
  • Strawman Political: Big Business.
  • Title Drop: After Warren Buffett has helped out during Hurricane Katrina, a woman cries out...
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Though in keeping with the letter of the trope, not the spirit-the Meliorists' Expansion of Dynamic Democracy Act states, "Corporations, partnerships, and legal associations of any kind shall not be deemed 'persons' for purposes of applying or interpreting the US Constitution. 'Person' is hereby defined by law as 'human being.'"
  • Write Who You Know: Brilliant political consultant Bill Hillman creates fantastic ads for the Meliorists' campaign; in real life, Hillman worked on Nader's 2000 presidential campaign. Nader himself isn't a character in the book, but a young critic of the auto industry's unsafe products is mentioned, as well as "the astute restauranteur Nathra Nader" (Ralph's father).

Northwest FrontSmall Genres and Unclassified LiteratureThe Tin Drum
Only RevolutionsLiterature of the 2000sOn the Jellicoe Road

alternative title(s): Only The Super Rich Can Save Us
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