Mon Dec 27th, 2010 at 05:48:13 AM EST
I'm sure we all have moments of despair when we listen to broadcast news, or read mainstream newspapers, explaining sententiously how financially ill-disciplined countries must pay for their prodigal ways, and how we must sacrifice more virgins to appease the angry gods of the Market.
A recurring theme at the European Tribune is how we can help to break through this "pensée unique", the "There Is No Alternative" syndrome, and implant alternative explanations in public consciousness. In order to, one supposes, mobilise civil society to pressure the Wise Heads who govern us into stopping the madness.
Jake's Financial Meltdown card game is a fabulous idea, but with, I would expect, a rather limited audience. ET itself as a think-tank / pressure group / e-zine is an ongoing subject...
But, personally, on a good day I am barely able to understand the economic discussions here, let alone usefully contribute. What could I do to help progress public awareness?
The other day, an idea for a novel popped into my head. (I have had a couple of tries, but never finished one yet. Perhaps this will be the one.) The germ of the idea is shamelessly derivative of a certain ongoing news phenomenon, as you will see.
My future novel goes something like this : one member of a small clique of progressive thinkers becomes depositary of a document dump from a whistleblower. This person, an insider in international finance, has accumulated damning documentation of financial skulduggery, involving
[INSERT HERE : laundry list of everything that's wrong with the international financial system].
frontpaged - Nomad
The group decides to publish. They are founding members of an international lefto-ecolo-libertarian collective blog, but this is not their chosen medium. They decide to build a viral organisation from scratch for the purpose. They need to cover their tracks, and they need a front man.
The novel mostly covers the adventures of their chosen front-man, through stages of organization building, publication, instant celebrity. There are various attacks on the organization (denial of service, financial, guns and explosives) from parties implicated in the exposed scandal. The front man has to go underground, has narrow escapes, changes countries etc.
The whole thing is written in an urbane, light-hearted, hopefully witty style, to match the front man, who's definitely a lightweight with respect to economics. He's fine as long as he sticks to the script, but it gets amusingly out of hand when he improvises. There is plenty of sex, including both bad behaviour from the anti-hero, and a honey trap.
I've got a handle on the story, the principal characters, and how it plays out. What I have no clue about, is the content of the scandal itself.
So here's a mission, or food for thought in festive post-prandial torpor (if food does not preclude thought in this context?), for the economically-sophisticated among us.
What to put in the laundry list?
Stuff that, in the cold light of day, would cast a very unfavourable light on important institutions. Perhaps triggering a run on certain currencies, or pushing a nation to the brink of insolvency. Stuff that illustrates how dysfunctional the international financial system is, who benefits from it, and suggests paths for improving outcomes. Stuff that would push the implicated actors to attempt suppression, censorship, and murder.
Obviously, one has to be cautious about naming names in fiction. So the people or organisations have to be mostly ficticious. I guess you can get away with the Fed, or Vladimir Putin, or the Zetas militia.
What do you reckon? Salient phenomena that will ring bells for the reader, combined with more subterranean stuff that can be set out didactically... It will all have to hang together in the end, but a disjointed list is an acceptable starting point. All contributions gratefully accepted!
(I brace myself for several weeks of silence...)