Tomorrow is an important day in the Democratic primary elections in the US. In honor of it, I thought I'd share a look at Petri's world, a world ruled by corporations...
Excerpt from Rainbow Dreams:
Many of the residents of Upworld were sensitive about having dealings with underworlders. The society of Upworld was extremely stratified, with an enormous gap between the lowest levels and the highest levels of income. People who lived on the lower rungs of the Upworld salary ladder were usually only a paycheck or two away from becoming underworlders themselves.
Trying to fit in better, Petri surreptitiously observed those around her and tried to ape their mannerisms. One thing she couldn't help but notice was that quite a few of her fellow pedestrians had the same sort of obvious, artificial augmentation as Per Mirna had for his eyes. Almost all of even the low-level jobs that Upworld citizens did required the tech to facilitate interfacing with the computer systems they used. It was possible to camouflage the enhancements of course, and even create them out of organic tissue. Most executives at least concealed their accessories, and many used the biotech instead of the straight tech. But those types of cosmetic upgrades were expensive, so most junior employees made do with the less sophisticated models.
Residents of Under City weren't allowed to possess that kind of tech, so anyone who lost their Upworld citizenship had their tech augmentation removed. Petri had seen people in Under City missing eyes, ears, hands, arms, legs, and other body parts. She knew that sometimes it was because they had sold part of themselves to the grinders, but now she realized that some of them were probably also people who had lost their tech. It hadn't occurred to her before because almost no one who was low enough in rank to have to use the unconcealed tech would willingly travel to the underworld.
The companies that ran the Upworld government made sure to keep the majority of the populace on the margins of survival. They needed a small, relatively stable, and educated pool from which to draw employees who they could work to death, but they also needed to maintain control. Making sure that most people were entirely occupied with making ends meet was the easiest way to keep them from pursuing a more equitable distribution of power. Any remaining energy the drones might have, the companies strove to get them to focus on investing in the belief that they were better off than the underworlders. If any citizen did have the temerity to show the slightest hint of disloyalty to or rebellion from the companies, that person would immediately be banished from Upworld and relegated to the slums of Under City.
This culture of conformity and fanatical devotion to the companies resulted in a tendency among the rank and file of Upworld to resent any effort from the underworlders to improve their situation. After all, their one comfort in life came from the fact that there was someone else who was worse off than them. Without that, it was hard for many of them to face the emptiness of their existence. So they clung to their perceived superiority fiercely, and did everything in their power to protect it.