Sunday, August 14, 2011

Author Guest Post: Paul McDonnold

-The Economics of Ego Surplus
-5 Pillars, 7 Sins
Description of the book: 
Part action novel, part literary novel, part guidebook to economics, The Economics of Ego Surplus is the story of college instructor Kyle Linwood. Anticipating a relaxing summer with his girlfriend and his PhD dissertation, he gets recruited by the FBI to help with an obscure case of terrorist internet "chatter," which explodes into a shocking, mysterious assault on U.S. financial markets. As the economy melts down and a nation panics, Kyle follows a trail of clues from Dallas to New York City to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In his quest to discover the truth, he will be forced to confront the assumptions underlying his education as well as his life. But will it be enough to save America from the most brilliant terrorist plot ever conceived?
I’d like to thank Basma for letting me do this guest post to go along with her review of my novel The Economics of Ego Surplus. It’s a crime thriller that chronicles a terrorist attack on the economy from the point of view of the protagonist, Kyle Linwood. The book is my attempt to offer an entertaining story that also imparts a little education about how the economy works, and what happens when things go haywire.
Some readers have asked how plausible the scenario of a terrorist attack on the economy is. It’s a hard question to answer. In the novel, the leader of a large multinational bank decides to turn his organization into sort of a financial suicide bomb, in an attempt to destroy America’s economy. Nothing like that has ever happened in the real world, of course. But there are reasons we should be concerned about the possibility.
I loosely based the multinational bank in the novel, Emir Banc, on a real bank named the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).  On its surface, BCCI was a legitimate and successful international financial organization. Beneath the surface it was deeply criminal, involved in the financing of all sorts of underworld activities. Eventually, regulators and investigators from multiple countries uncovered BCCI’s dark side and shut the bank down in 1991.
The 2008 financial meltdown and the troubles we have been struggling with since show how much harm a faulty economy can bring to the lives of ordinary people. And that is when the only “culprit” in taking down the economy is human greed. If a well funded and technologically sophisticated group was intentionally trying to destroy the stock markets and the economy, the result might be much worse. It’s not something to panic over. Panic itself is the enemy of a healthy economy. But it is something I think our government needs to be concerned with, and taking steps to guard against. Hopefully that is already happening, behind the scenes, and the catastrophe in the story never becomes an example of life imitating art!

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