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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  
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Comments

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_Top_Robbery

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

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