What are the novels about monetary policy?

Ezra writes:

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

That's Matthew Yglesias, and it got me wondering about whether there are any novels about monetary policy. There's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," which some believe to be an allegory for the debate over the gold standard. 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?

I am reminded of Paul Cantor on Thomas Mann on hyperinflation.  Specialists may wish to consult Friedrich Achberger, "Die Inflation und die zeitgenossische Literatur," in Aufbruch und Untergang: Osterreichische Kulturzwischen 1918-1938, Franz Kadrnoska, ed. (Vienna: Europa, 1981), pp. 29-42; there are monetary policy themes in Musil, Zweig, and Broch, among others.  Hans Fallada too.  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?

Addendum: Here is Krugman's pick.  And more here.

Comments

H.G. Wells's novel/anatomy _A Modern Utopia_ includes a long section describing a utopian currency pegged to energy production: http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/wells/hg/w45mu/ch...

Many Wyndham Lewis novels include discussions of "social credit": _The Vulgar Streak_, for example.

Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and his Baroque Cycle are about money but not exactly monetary policy. That said, the latter is a lot harder if you don't understand the former.

The Black Tulip by Dumas, père is about events set off by the 17th century tulip craze. Not monetary policy but economics is front and center in it.

Robert Heinlein addressed this a few times in some of his novels. In 'Time enough for love' one of the characters is running the local bank and explains to someone else how he used to burn the bank's spare cash in the back yard incinerator. I think that was my first introduction to Monetary Policy!

I thought that given the present circumstances liberals had gone back to blaming the Great Depression on Wall Street instead of monetary policy. I'm so glad to see that Ezra Klein hasn't adopted Paul Krugman's position, yet.

Kundera derides Dostoevsky's approach to characters as "inflation of the soul".

Charles Stross's recent novel Halting State is about the robbery of the central bank of an MMORPG. Cryptography, arbitrage and other forms of gaming ensue.

The Dispossessed, by Ursula Le Guin, contrasts capitalism and socialism and deals with stagflation. The Foundation series has some pieces of monetary policy here and there, though it's not a main theme.

Not a novel, but Ezra Pound had some quacky monetary ideas.

...the way I read it, You Shall Know Our Velocity was an extended analogy about monetary policy...

Nineteenth Street NW by Rex Ghosh is a novel about the IMF and its policies.

David Baldacci's Total Control (spoiler to come) involves blackmail, the Chairman of the Fed and the Fed funds rate.

Really. No one mentioned Atlas Shrugged, where inflation caused by government dolts is a feature, and a 100% gold standards prevails at Galt's Gulch.

Robert Heinlein addressed this a few times in some of his novels.

Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so, Excellent post!

Comments for this post are closed