Know Any Good Novels About Monetary Policy?

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Do you know any good novels featuring monetary policy? If so, please respond to notable bloggers Matthew Yglesias, Ezra Klein, Tyler Cowen, and Paul Krugman, who've been musing about the subject lately. Together they've mentioned more than a few works of fiction that wrestle with the (on first glance) not-very-scintillating topic. Naturally, we've compiled most of the titles they came up with. Feel free to add to the list:

  • On the Brink (Krugman) - "A 1978 novel about hyperinflation in America. The villain was a thinly disguised George McGovern...I can’t tell you how much it pains me to realize that I still remember all of that; what a waste of neurons!"
  • The Last War (Cowen) - "Is there a monetary theme in H.G. Wells's The Last War?; Wells was a follower of Frederick Soddy. How about from 19th century England? From science fiction? Isn't there mutual banking in Eric Frank Russell?"
  • The Grapes of Wrath (Klein) - "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."
  • Making Money (Klein commenter) - "From the ever so insightful Terry Pratchett. One of the best and most entertaining novels about how our monetary system works (by magic of course)."
  • Interface (Yglesias) - "Basically about the effort of a shadowy cabal to stage a coup aimed at preventing the US from defaulting on the national debt."
  • Snow Crash (Yglesias) "Gives the initial impression of a standard postapocalyptic “cyberpunk” scenario, but it swiftly becomes clear that there’s been no war here."
  • Great Simoleon Caper (Yglesias) - "Short story offers an alternative path to currency anarchy in which encryption and the digitization of money lead to a breakdown of the tax system."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.