Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 8:47 AM ET, 12/29/2010

Monetary policy in fiction

By Ezra Klein

"It’s too bad, " writes Matthew Yglesias, that "'You Shall Know Our Velocity' isn’t a novel about monetary policy."

That got me wondering about whether there are any novels about monetary policy. Some believe 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' is an allegory for the debate over the gold standard, but my understanding is that that's a clever, but wrong, interpretation. If you're willing to include novels about the effects of monetary policy, pretty much any novel about the Great Depression counts, and "The Grapes of Wrath" is particularly eloquent on the subject. But is there anything more on-topic than that?

By Ezra Klein  | December 29, 2010; 8:47 AM ET
Categories:  Books, Federal Reserve  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Wonkbook: GOP's Fannie flip-flop; WH thinking on Summers' replacement; 157 banks failed in 2010
Next: The 2010 labor market in one graph


Rocky & Bullwinkle's Box Top Robbery storyline was the greatest allegorical treatment of monetary policy I've ever seen:

Posted by: raylehmann | December 29, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

It's not quite about monetary policy, and I tend not to agree with the political spin in his novels, but Tom Clancy's "Debt of Honor" includes a major plot element in which the BAD GUYS undermine the US economy by electronically blowing up the computers on Wall Street. Along the way, he gives a very nice summary of monetary policy and the role of money in the economy.

Posted by: MOmark | December 29, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

From the book "AN AUTISTIC WORLD (1)"

One of the usual inferences from inequality, is the recognition for the need of a more equilibrated distribution of wealth, which in turn would produce a better society. That is only partially true. Dividing wealth among individuals is not a bad idea, but isn’t a fair idea either because doesn’t value the different efforts of those individuals to acquire prosperity. What is needed is the realization of common sense. A society that has thirty or forty percent of its population under an economic struggle is a society in trouble, even if it doesn’t count correctly the number of people unemployed and disregard the health concerns of those individuals. It would be a matter of time until they will ask “why us, and not you,” in which case two options could be given: one is to publicly admitting that the current system is effective only for part of our community; the other is to transform those individuals into living zombies in order to ignore their reality.

Posted by: kanino | December 29, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Rex Ghosh's, "Nineteenth Street, NW" sort of fits the bill. It is an economic thriller - a fun read.

Posted by: ckalish | December 29, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"Making Money" from the ever so insightfull Terry Pratchett. One of the best and most entertaining novels about how our monetary system works (by magic of course)

Posted by: jbernau | December 29, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Does "The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs" count? I see the goose as the middle class. And the bad guy, as always, are the conservatives.

Posted by: grat_is | December 29, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The Baroque Cycle, by Neal Stephenson?

Posted by: mudlock | December 29, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Try F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story, "A Diamond as Big as the Ritz."

Posted by: dlewis22 | December 29, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story, published this year, is about a near future where the richest Americans are lucky enough to have dollars that are pegged to the Yuan, whereas everyone else has dollars that depreciate wildly.

Also, the Chinese Central Banker is the most important politician in America. The US Defense Secretary is the second most important, and I'm not sure we really even meet the US President.

Posted by: frank71899468 | December 29, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company