Ballard convincingly asserts that the suburban office park is the architectural manifestation of nihilism. "Thousands of people live and work here without making a single decision about right and wrong," writes Ballard. "The moral order is engineered into their lives along with the speed limits and the security systems."
In Super-Cannes, the absence of moral agency drives executives into bouts of managed psychosis, employed to advance the greater good of executive productivity and shareholder value. As the novel advances, the degree of this executives' violence, sexual predation, and racist xenophobia become more and more intense and unnerving, but Ballard anchors it all in realism by name-dropping familiar corporations (a next-door neighbor who clubs Arabs by night is a Mitsubishi executive by day, a gruesome gunfight takes place on the roof of the Siemens carpark) - and mundane descriptions of the familiar office park landscape.
Interestingly, right after I finished reading this, my wife had me listen to a recent This American Life podcast about psychopathy. In Act 2, Jon Ronson (author of the recent The Psychopath Test) interviews a successful business executive and finds that a lot of the traits he considers intrinsic to his success could also be interpreted as indicators of psychosis (actual doctors may find that a stretch, but the guy definitely has antisocial tendencies).
"The whole corporate campus seems a little dated,” says Joe Mansueto, chairman and CEO of Morningstar... “We've always liked being in Chicago. It helps keep employees on the pulse of what's happening in our society. It keeps them current with cultural trends and possibly technological ones.”