BCG Henderson Institute

Lionel Shriver is the author of several prize-winning novels including the best-seller We Need To Talk About Kevin (2003) and A Perfectly Good Family (1996). Her novels typically tackle difficult societal problems. She is also a contributing journalist to publications such as The Economist and The New York Times.

She joins BCG Chief Economist Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak in conversation to discuss her book, The Mandibles: A Family, 2029–2047, a riveting and dystopian take on the destructive potential of national debt, currency crisis, and inflation as experienced by one fictional family across several generations and socio-economic circumstances. They discuss the novel, why economic dystopian novels are rare, and the way in which the novel can make the fears of economic collapse come alive.

Spoiler Alert

We preface this podcast with a ‘spoiler alert’ as this novel is different from the more formal economics works we usually discuss on this podcast, and we wish to give the listener the chance to opt-out and read the book first if they wish. We greatly enjoyed the read and even if we don’t see eye to eye on much of the economics in this novel, we found the indulgence of literature a valuable endeavor to make more tangible some of the human aspects of economics — including the fear of collapse.