Discussion Board

Topic: Mariposa economics question

From: Belton Myers
Location: Wheaton, MD
Date: 02/08/2011

I loved Mariposa, but found myself wondering how realistic the solution to the USA's debt problem came from. Do you think an international consortium could really demand collateral for America's debt, and how do you think any President could agree to such a thing?
It also looks like the United States is headed for dissolution in the book.

Re: Mariposa economics question

From: Greg Bear
Date: 02/25/2011

Hello, Belton! Thanks for your question. Take a look at where the majority of our foreign debt is handled, and how few foreign-controlled centers of finance it would take to decide, over the next few years or decades, to exert a banker's political control over the U.S. The State Department's reaction to Chinese difficulties is already, on occasion at least, remarkably subservient...

Of course, I like the wicked analogy that one hundred billion dollars of debt is dangerous, but with a trillion dollars of debt, the U.S. is too big to fail!

I first discussed a severe economic downturn in the U.S. in QUANTICO. Written in 2003-2004, published first in 2005. Sigh.

Re: Mariposa economics question

From: Kurt
Location: Portland, OR
Date: 03/07/2011

I also enjoyed Mariposa for the same reason. The total U.S. federal debt is roughly equal to the GDP, around $14T. This will probably swell to around $25T or so by 2020. It is worth noting that the federal government has around $40-50T in assets, most of it being ownership of a significant percentage of the western states (e.g. 85% of Arizona and Nevada). It is conceivable that the federal government will have to start selling this land on a piecemeal basis starting around 2020.

In the meantime, the Chinese and Japanese, who own much of the debt, can use it to pressure the U.S. to doing things more favorable geopolitical towards China. One example would be to end the ITAR/Wasseneu restrictions on high tech exports into China. Another would be to allow Chinese ownership of U.S. oil companies.

Re: Mariposa economics question

From: typhon
Date: 03/18/2011

Well, you know Gibson hinted at all these things in the purposely-limited backdrop of Neuromancer.

Re: Mariposa economics question

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/09/2011

NEUROMANCER is a classic, no doubt, with a vision that remains startling and perceptive.

Re: Mariposa economics question

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/09/2011

Scary thoughts, Kurt! Not off the table, however, is to return the tax rates to what they were in 1992, which didn't seem to squash one of the biggest economic booms of this century... Heaven forbid! Daddy Warbucks and Scrooge McDuck might have to open their gold pits to orphans and widows...

Re: Mariposa economics question

From: Brandolf
Location: Maine
Date: 04/29/2011

Well at least the good news is we know the world of Quantico and Mariposa recovers (sort of) seeing as how it transitions to Queen of Angels and Slant. (And afterwards to Moving Mars if I recall correctly.) Sliding M Choy and Colonel Sir and Raphkind made it a very memorable, nostalgic read. I must've first read Queen of Angels and Slant almost ten years ago. Any plans to insert another prequel?

Re: Mariposa economics question

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/25/2011

Not at the moment, but we do have thirty-plus years to fill! Thanks, Brandolf.

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