Why is there no great Keynesian novel?
Many Marxists and socialists have used literature to convey their economic ideas (The Jungle, Looking Backwards, and The Grapes of Wrath come immediately to mind). And libertarians have done the same (Atlas Shrugged, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress). But why has no one written a good Keynesian novel?
My guess is that the lack of a Manichean battle between good and evil is the obstacle. Socialists can write about virtuous workers struggling against evil capitalists, and libertarians can write about heroic entrepreneurs opposed by tyrannical government officials. In contrast, Keynesianism is just a story of coordination failure: individually rational decisions to increase liquidity lead to collectively irrational decisions to reduce production. It is much harder to write a great novel about an abstract process than a struggle between good and evil.
Here is my challenge: come up with a reasonably interesting premise for a Keynesian novel. It doesn’t have to be completely realistic – Rand’s premise of capitalists going on strike is more than a little farfetched, but it is an interesting literary strategy to explain the importance of economic freedom and entrepreneurship to a prosperous society. Can anyone come up with an analogous way to make deflationary expectations, price stickiness and financial disintermediation into a riveting novel?