I am at a writer’s conference. Very struck by the amount of conversation about economics, but a bit different. These are people looking for plot lines and settings. As a result they read economic news, not for generalities so much as for details, the interstices, the little places of human stories smoothed over by normal economic research.
These people have a deep need to know and they have lots of curiosity. They seem less trapped by group think memes than in the business/finance community where there is also a need to know, but less intense. The result for the writers is an amplification of the more difficult parts of economic life. Moreover many are vets, either of the military or various bureaucracies, some financial and many not. They know stories of corruption, brutality, rip offs and collusions. So they have lots of first hand experience, often driven by what they saw, to write. Many are retired and are deep into remaking themselves consistent with their experience and a need to tell their stories.
They read things like zero hedge and study the comments, and are good readers of small foreign newspapers. The result is a different picture of the world. More real?