At 5pm ET, Eli hosts Eric Lotke, the author of the novel 2044: The Problem isn’t Big Brother. It’s Big Brother, Inc.

2044 starts where George Orwell’s 1984 left off. The problem isn’t Big Brother and the leviathan government. The problem is Big Brother Inc., and the all-powerful marketplace.

The heroes of 2044 are two overworked professionals who spend long days at the office and short nights in tiny apartments. Malcolm Moore is an engineer who designs security devices for the titanic Tentek Corporation. Jessica Frey is a lawyer who defends such corporations in court. Both are single and both are lonely — though Jessica has a six-year-old son, her sperm-banked answer to isolation.

The story begins when Malcolm discovers a cheap, easy way to take the salt out of seawater. Fresh water is scarce enough right now. By the year 2044, people will die and countries will go to war for water. A microorganism that takes the salt out of seawater could benefit literally billions of people.

But it also threatens business interests who are happy the way things are. Malcolm’s effort to persuade Tentek to sell his discovery gets him fired. His effort to strike out on his own gets him branded a terrorist. People who assist him are harassed, jailed and even killed.

Eric Lotke writes from the heart of the progressive political movement.

As Research Director at the Campaign for America’s Future he has researched policy failures of conservative ideology and worked to develop progressive alternatives. He has published path breaking research on subjects ranging from clean energy to urban infrastructure. As Policy Director at the Justice Policy Institute and Executive Director of the D.C. Prisoners’ Legal Services Project, he has brought lawsuits and ballot initiatives, and done all kinds of political organizing to turn ideas into reality.