Some writers of science fiction turn out to be reasonably accurate prognosticators of the future. In Mack Reynolds’ Mercenary, the elite 1 percent control the wealth of the nation and thus the nation. War as we know it has been eliminated, and disputes between nations, unions, and corporations are settled on a battlefield by mercenary soldiers with pre-1900 weapons. These battles are televised, and the combatants become heroes, not unlike NFL players. Meet Joe Mauser, one of the best of the best; a tactician and gun for hire.
Island One, the U.S.'s first space colony and symbol of an American renaissance, is in trouble. Low morale, shoddy workmanship, unexplained malfunctions, and avoidable accidents have become a way of life, and nobody seems to know why. Is it the Russians? Home-grown anti-technologists? Arabs afraid of cheap solar power from space - or something even more sinister?
On a future Earth wracked by strife and shortages, Roy Cos buys into a lifetime of ease through the Deathwish Policy, but his privileged status makes him a target for killers hired by the elite Worldgov.
It's a crooked road to world peace...but it works. Warfare between nations has been banned. Taking its place are the Corporate Wars - full-scale battles between mercenary armies hired by large corporations, ostensibly to settle trade disputes. But the wars are also free entertainment for the masses. In a world where most jobs have been taken over by automation, free tranquilizers have to be issued to the vast lower class to keep them subdued.