The easiest way to write fiction about white collar crime is to take a set of facts, embellish them, add a little sex, some violence, perhaps some murders, and voila you have a novel. The great advantage of this is that you don’t need the imagination of a genius like Stephen King. When I read The Green Mile I spent half the novel pinching myself in bewilderment at his ingenuity and inventiveness.
Right now we are watching two financial disasters play out in real life. Tiny Greece with a history of corrupt politicians, a population of only 11 million and 0.3% of the world’s trade looks like it’s going to go bankrupt for the sixth time since 1800. It owes its creditors 240 billion euros and recently held a referendum where there was a 61% vote against further austerity. This is not unlike me holding a family vote against not making any more mortgage payments to the bank. How Greece’s creditors could ever have let it have 240 billion euros in loans is beyond me, but we now have a situation where this tiny country is playing havoc with the world’s financial markets.
There is far bigger problem in China where the stock market put on 134% in just nine months to June, 2015. During that time the Chinese were opening new accounts with stockbrokers at the rate of four million per month. Stockbrokers in China offered their clients leverage (margin loans) of between three and five time’s capital. On a worst case scenario a Chinese investor with $20,000 was able to borrow $100,000 and buy $120,000 in stocks. Since June the Chinese market has fallen 35%, there have been millions of margin calls, the government has frozen trading in the stock of some companies and many more millions of Chinese investors have been wiped out. The international ramifications are far more serious than the Greek situation. If you use the US GFC experience and think of Greece as Bear Stearns and China as Lehmans multiplied by a factor of at least 10, it puts the current crises into perspective.
Enough gloom. I have another novel (yet to have a title) coming out within sixty days. Its focus is on insider trading and organized crime. Unfortunately I’m really struggling to come up with an ending. The most difficult part of any novel. I recently read a Grisham novel (my favourite author) where he built the story for 300 pages and finished it in 40. I instantly knew that he had struggled to come up with an ending and in exasperation had just finished the book to get it out of the way. It’s never a good look and something I’m trying to avoid.
Until next time,