governments are so weak as to be irrelevant. megacorporations rule the world. consumption is a virtue and advertising is a higher calling. major shortages of water, clean air, natural resources.
The Space Merchants satirizes the beginnings of consumer culture; written in 1952, the authors would be amazed to see so many of their “300-years-from-now” concepts be commonplace by the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21th centuries.
the main character is Mitch, a “Copysmith Star Class” who has been given an almost-impossible assignment: make volunteering to be a colonist to Venus (nasty, brutish, unbearable, short lifespan) an appealing option to the teeming masses of the overpopulated Earth.