In a future United States, robots do all the work and there is no need for jobs or money. The major corporations have been turned into government ministries, and the universities train the human staff for those ministries. Everyone gets just about everything they want, but limits are imposed based on what strata of society you inhabit. The top level, called the Swells, get whatever they request. The next level, the Shoals, get almost whatever they want, but not as fast as the Swells. The final strata is the vast majority, nicknamed the Sands. All of their needs, from housing to food to clothing and health care, are met. They can't get the same luxuries as the Swells and the Shoals and have to wait longer to receive what they're authorized. The government places heavy emphasis on societal contentment. As artificial intelligence entities and robots do almost all of the work, the ministries spend most of their time in minor turf wars. Humanity is slowly giving way to the machines. The Sands have developed a vibrant barter trading system. Some neighborhoods grow crops to augment government-supplied food while others craft designer clothing highly prized by the Swells and Shoals. Life in Sand communities can be dangerous. Not as heavily policed as other neighborhoods, they are rife with barbaric gangs and addictive drugs. People across the society seek to add purpose to their lives. Some have embraced a philosophy called The Unused Path, which stresses self-discovery and self-reliance. No one knows where The Path came from, but it is gaining popularity and the government is starting to see it is a threat to contentment. And anything that challenges the social order is not tolerated.