Robinson, Kim Stanley. New York 2140

Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140 (2017).

This novel deals extensively with economic themes, particularly finance and the relationship between environment and economy. Here's an excerpt from the opening pages:

    [...] “This I know. It’s why we live in a tent on a roof.”
    “Right, and now people are even worried about food.”
    “As they should. That’s the real value, food in your belly. Because you can’t eat money.”
    “That’s what I’m saying!”
    “I thought you said the real value was code. Something a coder would say, may I point out.”
    “Mutt, hang with me. Follow what I’m saying. We live in a world where people pretend money can buy you anything, so money becomes the point, so we all work for money. Money is thought of as value.”
    “Okay, I get that. We’re broke and I get that.”
    “So good, keep hanging with me. We live by buying things with money, in a market that sets all the prices.”
    “The invisible hand.”
    “Right. Sellers offer stuff, buyers buy it, and in the flux of supply and demand the price gets determined. It’s crowdsourced, it’s democratic, it’s capitalism, it’s the market.”
    “It’s the way of the world.”
    “Right. And it’s always, always wrong.”
    “What do you mean wrong?”
    “The prices are always too low, and so the world is fucked. We’re in a mass extinction event, sea level rise, climate change, food panics, everything you’re not reading in the news.”
    “All because of the market.”
    “Exactly! It’s not just that there are market failures. It’s that the market is a failure.”
    “How so?”
    “Things are sold for less than it costs to make them.”
    “That sounds like the road to bankruptcy.”
    “Yes, and lots of businesses do go bankrupt. But the ones that don’t haven’t actually sold their thing for more than it cost to make. They’ve just ignored some of their costs. They’re under huge pressure to sell as low as they can, because every buyer buys the cheapest version of whatever it is. So they shove some of their production costs off their books.”
    “Can’t they just pay their labor less?”
    “They already did that! That was easy. That’s why we’re all broke except the plutocrats.”
    “I always see the Disney dog when you say that.”
    “They’ve squeezed us till we’re bleeding from the eyes. I can’t stand it anymore.”
From Paul Kincaid's review in Interzone #270:
Robinson is at pains to make clear that capitalism itself is to blame for the environmental failures. But capitalism is remarkably resilient: even among the ashes, the hedge funds make money. The intertidal zone, that flooded portion of Manhattan where tower blocks like the old Metropolitan Life building on Madison Square now house thousands of people in their own little islands, is disputed territory, its legal status now unknown. But life here has settled down since the last pulse, which means it is ripe for the money men to move in. One of Robinson’s characters has even devised an index that records the tidal movement of populations, the collapse of old towers, that provides a guide for hedge funds on when to invest, when to sell.
New York 2140 entry at ISFDB.