The Invoice – by Jonas Karlsson (2011 in Swedish, 2016 in English)



If George Orwell’s classic “1984” could be combined with the old television shows “The Outer Limits” and “Glenn Beck”, you might end up with this story. Set in Sweden, the main character is living a bland, uneventful life when he receives an invoice in the mail for over 5 million kronor. At first he ignores it, thinking it’s a computer malfunction. What on earth would he have a bill that large for?

The novel portrays a society where the government monitors every event in your life, and records each as either a bill or a credit. Had a happy, well-adjusted life with a good income and lots of possessions? That’ll cost you. Are you disabled, oppressed, have a dysfunctional family, or are discriminated against? You’ll get a credit for that. Basically, the government attempts to redistribute the wealth to even things out. Unfortunately for the main character in the story, he doesn’t fit the typical human mold, and that results in an unbelievable invoice.

The story may seem ridiculous at first, but it isn’t all that far from the truth. It’s just a matter of degree. We’re already experiencing massive surveillance and excessive taxation. The department of revenue service has total control over people, and there is no mercy with them. There is no way to make all people equal financially, but this short novel shows the ridiculousness of attempting to do so.


Author: alwaysreading2014

I'm just a person with an intense love for reading!

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