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The global financial crisis and its aftermath: a perspective from fiction

Linda Arch (ICMA Centre, Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, UK)

Qualitative Research in Financial Markets

ISSN: 1755-4179

Article publication date: 29 March 2021

Issue publication date: 7 June 2021




Since the global financial crisis of 2007-2009 academic research has paid considerable attention to understanding the nature of the crisis, its causes and consequences. This is not surprising given the scale and scope of the crisis. Much of this research has been undertaken within social science disciplines. At the same time, the crisis has also been the subject of fiction – novels, poetry and drama, and there is also a small body of academic scholarship on fiction relating to the crisis (and on finance in fiction more generally). The purpose of this paper is to suggest that fiction can offer a new perspective on the global financial crisis and thereby enhance our understanding of it.


This exploration draws upon three works of post-crisis fiction: the 2009 play by David Hare, The Power of Yes: A Dramatist Seeks to Understand the Financial Crisis (hereafter The Power of Yes); Other People’s Money, a novel by Justin Cartwright (2011); and Robert Harris’s novel The Fear Index also published in 2011. Its approach is based on close readings of the three texts in question.


Finance fiction stimulates a reconceptualization of the global financial crisis as a crisis of innovation and technological change.


This paper is a viewpoint article. The originality lies in the author’s interpretation of reading the global financial crisis through fiction.



The author wishes to thank Bloomsbury Publishing for permission to publish extracts from Other People’s Money. Extracts from The Power of Yes: A Dramatist Seeks to Understand the Financial Crisis and from The Fear Index have been reproduced on a fair use basis. The author also wishes to thank Professor David Brauner and undergraduate student Rajal Khan of the University of Reading for our discussions during Raj’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Project in 2019 on responses in literature to the global financial crisis.


Arch, L. (2021), "The global financial crisis and its aftermath: a perspective from fiction", Qualitative Research in Financial Markets, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 50-58.



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