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Science Fiction Books/SF-story in which Poor-Rich is reversed


This is about  a  short story I read some decades ago in a SF booklet out of 1960's or 1970's, which was a collection of short stories, all of them in (American) English.
The short story I thus read long ago, but still remember today, dealt with the following:  not with extraterrestrials, but with normal human beings, here on earth. The very interesting, even exciting, content of the story was a funny reversal of the economic society:
From all citizens, the largest part of them were compelled  (by the government) to maximize their consumption:  to spend, to buy, to consume everyday enormous amounts of food, clothes, furniture or whatever; they were called "the poor people";
On the other side, a small minority of citizens, the so-called "rich people", had no obligation to endlessly spend their time everyday for buying things, for consuming; they instead could relax.
So this was a society in which "economics" extremely overshadowed "humanity", and where  enforcement of extreme consumption totally changed the familiar meanings of "poor" and "rich".
Unfortunately, I don't remember the TITLE and the AUTHOR of the story; also the title of the booklet in which this short story appeared, I don't remember;  it was a pocket book, and I guess the story was  about 15-20 pages long.
I would be very grateful to you, if you could tell me TITLE and AUTHOR, so that I can find the story again via internet.

This excellent story is called The Midas Plague, by Frederick Pohl.  Collected in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, volume 2B.  Also available in the anthology The 7 Deadly Sins of Science Fiction collected by Isaac Asimov.

I can highly recommend the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, volumes 1, 2A, 2B, 3 and 4.


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Sue Kayton


Engineer who has read thousands of science fiction books and short stories. Can recommend stories on specific subjects and comment on technical feasibility. Especially good at older out-of-print books and authors.

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