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Monetary Policy Literature

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Monetary Policy Literature"

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Given that You Shall Know Our Velocity is not, in fact, about the velocity of money, Ezra Klein asks for recommendations of literary treatments of monetary issues.

I haven’t actually kept up with his more recent work, but I think the earlier fiction of Neal Stephenson is intriguing in this regard. The key thematic elements are preoccupation with debt and hyperinflation in a way that I think is misguided in the present day but made sense in the early 1990s milieu. Interface, originally published under a pen name, is 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 gives the initial impression of a standard postapocalyptic “cyberpunk” scenario, but it swiftly becomes clear that there’s been no war here. Instead the back story has to be an effort by the US government to cope with a deficit crisis by printing money. His “Great Simoleon Caper” 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.

Anyways, this is reminding me that I really liked these books and should probably read Anathem or the Baroque Cycle.

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