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2044: The Problem isn't Big Brother. It's Big Brother, Inc. Paperback – April 29, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eric Lotke writes from the heart of the progressive political movement. He has published policy reforms and organized campaigns for change. An attorney with a Masters in Philosophy, Eric has taught law school classes and flushed every toilet in the D.C. Jail. He lives with his wife and children in Arlington, Va.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (April 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440134715
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440134715
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #491,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed 2044. It's a riveting page-turner set in a world of the future where big business is in control and fresh water is in short supply. It's about an average guy, Malcolm, who comes across a new technology that desalinates water without need of energy. It's a technology that's good for people, but bad for business. Find out what happens when Malcolm and his friends set out to share the technology with the world.
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Format: Paperback
I found Lotke's vision of 2044 more frightening than Orwell's 1984. While the threat to our individual freedoms has shifted from government control to the increasing power of global corporations, the plausibility of the threat becoming a reality feels way more likely, and at times, approaching probable.

I highly recommend this novel. The pace is fast, the characters are compelling, the message is haunting, and the punch is hard. Lotke extrapolates to a world where employees are reduced to productivity obsessed units of production. A smaller and smaller number of increasingly consolidated multinational corporations monitor, manipulate, pressure, and control its employees and customers.

Today, we rationalize our commitment to long work weeks with language, such as spending "quality" time with our friends and family. However in Lotke's world, we don't even try. Normal social interactions are a distant memory -- part of our antiquated past left by the wayside on the steady march in the name of progress. Instead, we pledge loyalty to the corporation and willingly sacrifice our fleeting leisure time to complete the next project like a workforce of Bill Murrays trapped in a really scary version of Ground Hog Day.

Like Orwell, Lotke relies heavily on exaggeration; however, after reading the book, one cannot help but notice things at work in a different (more jaded) light. On a similar note, I just saw a phenomenal documentary, Food, Inc. (a must see) where the alleged behavior of today's Monsanto Corporation is no less alarming than Lotke's fictionalized Microtech Corporation. Unfortunately, glimmers of 2044 are already here in 2009.

I'm very interested in seeing what Lotke sees in his crystal ball for 2084...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Read this book on my Kindle. It was a good read, almost on par with the master Orwell himself. I would recommend this book to others. However, the formatting took away from the reading experience. Whoever formatted the book for the Kindle didn't go back and check to make sure all the paragraphs were indented properly and such. Still a good read but I gave it less stars due to the formatting issue because it pulled me out of the story. A distracted reader is not good.
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Format: Paperback
Beware of employers with God-like CEOs and regular pledges of allegiance to the company. In this world, working as many hours as possible is valued above all else. Entrepreneurs are jailed or simply disappear if they try to compete with the mammoth corporations.

Set in the Los Angeles area, the neighborhoods of the rich and poor are described in vivid detail. The poor crowd into dirty subway cars and wait in long lines for water. Meanwhile, the rich enjoy hors d'oeuvres at a mansion with a stream flowing through the carved marble floor at their feet.

As soon as I hit Part III, I did not put the book down. I loved the unexpected ending.
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For those of us who vaguely recall the Orwell original as a long-ago high school read, and remember thinking, as 1984 went by, "well, that was just science fiction", 2044 is a startling mirror to present times (albeit with the author's healthy imagination ginning up the stakes). Yes, it's a page-turning easy read at the entertainment level (and to that end, beats most movies this season), but it also left me unsettled and contemplative. Is this where we're heading as a society: a corporatocratic dystopia? Oh wait: we're already there! Aren't corporations people now? Yet immune from punishment as they play with our lives in housing, employment and health care? 2044 is a must read, both for early summer escapist pleasure, and for the sobering challenge that each of us may face the choices this protagonist does: to stand up and take risks in the name of democracy and the health of the planet, or to go down silently. Don't miss this one.

(and btw: I read mine on a Kindle with no formatting issues at all!)
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This is a thought-provoking and important book about the perils that await a culture that is taken over by corporations. Any institution (government, corporations, religions, etc) can create havoc if it is not accountable to the greater society. In these days of anti-government sentiment, it is good to remember that corporations need not be above mischief. The picture painted in 2044 is worrisome, and would be bleak indeed if not for the compelling and human story of Malcolm and Jessica.
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This is just the kind of book that reminds me why I got a Kindle. I did not want to put it down. I read it, horrified yet not wanting to stop, as my husband drove the car, as I was waiting for a concert to begin, in bed... etc. The "Predator State" that James Kenneth Galbraith describes so well, the oligarchy we live in, could definitely get worse. We have corporations now who decide life and death issues for people by denying health care and lobbying to oppose health care for all. Climate change is already depriving 3rd world citizens of food and water and it will get worse and effect us in the west also. The author has put together a novel that paints one of the possible bleak scenarios that await unless we regain our identities as citizens and NOT consumers, and invest in a world economy that supports human life and human dignity over greed and short term gain for those at the top.

See also The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too
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