A while back, I put up a post
about an idea for a book, a collection of works of literature that taught economic ideas. Thanks to comments on that post, my list has expanded from two works to four, with a few other possibles. The purpose of this post is to make what I am looking for clearer and ask for more suggestions.
The plan is for a book consisting of works of literature, probably stories and poems, that are good enough to be worth reading for entertainment but that in addition embody interesting economic insights. Since it is to be a collection, the individual pieces have to be reasonably short—a novel would not fit. In my experience, good fiction writers usually write better fiction than even good economists, so I am not looking for something written by an economist to teach in fictional form, such as Looking Backwards by Hazlitt or Murder at the Margin and its sequels by Breit and Elzinga writing as Marshall Jevons–and in any case, all of those are too long for my purposes.
A science fiction story whose point is that, in order to stop someone from doing something, you don't have to make it impossible, just unprofitable.
An allegory in verse arguing that economic interdependence brings peace.
"So I make a jest of Wonder, and a mock of Time and Space,
"The roofless Seas an hostel, and the Earth a market-place,
"Where the anxious traders know
"Each is surety for his foe,
"And none may thrive without his fellows' grace."
"The Cambist and Lord Iron" by Daniel Abraham
A short story about prices--of an obscure currency, two men's lives, and a soul.
"Business as Usual DuringAlterations" by Ralph Williams
A short story about why matter duplicators would not crash a market economy.
Other suggestions? An excerpt from a longer work isn't impossible, but it has to stand on its own, be worth reading as a story.
P.S. I think I have one more. "The Jigsaw Man" by Larry Niven. The central point is the same that I later and independently published in the JPE as "Why Not Hang Them All: The Virtues of Inefficient Punishment."
A commenter pointed me at The Literary Book of Economics by Michael W Watts, which seems to be a project along the same lines as mine; I've ordered a copy. From descriptions I could find, it's a lot of relatively short excerpts from works of literature, each making some economic point. I'm thinking in terms of many fewer pieces, probably each complete.