Even the Chairman of the US Council of Economic advisers is not beyond projecting narrative arcs onto economic charts:
As Paul Krugman explains: “On the horizontal axis is the Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality. On the vertical axis is the intergenerational elasticity of income — how much a 1 percent rise in your father’s income affects your expected income; the higher this number, the lower is social mobility. As he shows, America is both especially unequal and has especially low mobility. But he also argues that because we are even more unequal now than we were a generation ago, we should expect even less social mobility going forward.”
The reference was from this French essay on the New Deal and the political will to “show poverty”, and its current abeyance (on Gatsby and the crisis, there’s some useful pages in Morris Dickstein’s Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression).