Making Money by Terry Pratchett

On today’s Grammar Girl podcast, she recommended a book that sounds rather intriguing during her Audible ad:

With all the crazy stuff going on with the stock market and banks, I’ve been thinking about a fantasy novel by Terry Pratchett that I listened to last year called Making Money. It’s a cleverly written story about a former con man who takes over the bank in an imaginary world called Ank-Morpork, and he changes the system so that it’s based on paper notes instead of gold. The con man, Moist von Lipwig, has to build confidence in the system and convince people they don’t need gold in the vault. It’s funny and timely…

Has anyone read this? It sounds like a novel an Austrian economist might write. If you’ve read it, is it as fun for Austrians as it sounds? Please send me an Austro-libertarian review of this book and I’ll append it as an update to this post.

Despite being a huge reader of fiction when I was younger, (a book every day or two), I have been incapable of reading fiction for 10 or more years since these crazy libertarians got me interested in political economy and political history. Otherwise I would check it out myself.

UPDATE: Félix Moreno writes:

It’s lots of fun and touches on many economic subjects, Pratchett is a great student of the 19th century… references to Ricardo and the Currency school are rife. Distrust of bankers, and the explanation of how media of exchange take hold are also good.

The city ruler “The Patrician” is an evil, ruthless man who is however portrayed as good because he lets things work, unlike his crazy predecessors.

The book’s monetary conclusions, however, are keynesian, portraying all the positive effects of the boom but bypassing the bust through a deus ex machina worthy of fantasy (or bailout rationales). The author makes fun of the pro gold standard sentiment without ever giving the other side of the argument. (“It keeps the banks honest” says a minor character..”How?” says Moist “Dunno…” says dumb minor character)

Despite this I highly recommend Pratchett to libertarians. His take on “qui custodiet ipsos custodes” in “Night Watch” is excellent. In fact, he won a Prometheus award… He is also good on war, talking about how Empire already economically ruined Ankh-Morpok several times.


8:39 am on October 3, 2008