When I think of literature as a spontaneous order, one of the characteristics it seems to have is that it tends to develop in ways that are critical of what writers see as the established order. I can't claim to have thought very deeply about this, but it seems to me that any story with a plot suggesting that all is well with the world would not be particularly interesting. So, that might explain why the culture of liberty declined over the last 150 years or so.
It might also explain why the most popular literature of liberty over this period seems to be forward-looking i.e. suggesting that existing trends are taking us toward a dominant order that will be a serious threat to liberty. Again, I am making generalizations that might not stand up to close scrutiny.
However, if the pattern that I see is an accurate observation, then the question arises of whether we would expect it to continue in future. Perhaps we can expect a lot more interesting stories to emerge from the threats to liberty that people currently face in their daily lives.
Winton lays out a few interesting ideas for papers on the history of literature. Please note that he argues that one of the roles of literature is as immanent criticism of the prevailing order. If the dominant system is captialism (or is perceived to be capitalism), then one should not be surprised to find works of literature criticizing that system. This comes about because, after all, there has to have some sort of problem for there to be a story at all. He also suggests why much literature that is located in the author's present (including the author's lifetime) is often anti-market, while much "libertarian" literature is science fiction.
In times and places where economic liberty is under severe threat, or liberal society has been almost completely destroyed (such at the Soviet Union), so we see more pro-market writers? Keeping in mind censorship and officially recognized literature, of course. Which means we must look to the more underground works, or those of emigres. With the latter, we must also keep in mind that many people do not understand the deep connection between economic liberty and political liberty (you can have the former without the latter, but not the latter without the former), and so end up supporting many of the very economic policies within their adopted country as they were escaping.
This issue of ignorance also raises questions about the nature of immanent criticism. Understanding is not required to engage in such criticism. Much such criticism is in fact done from a great deal of economic ignorance, or from mere folk economics (there's a book there: Folk Economics and Its Influence in Literature). Those economic theories that come closest to folk economics are thus most likely to be supported by the vast majority of people who have not been educated in economics (and, sadly, many who have been schooled in economics -- I refuse to say "educated," since you cannot be educated in economics if you accept folk economics, no matter how much schooling you have). So much immanent criticism is likely to not even be valid. Yet, it can have a profound influence, and drive a culture in illiberal directions. Sad to say, many literary authors have been most guilty of these very things.
Can we expect our literary writers to get the details of economics right? After all, economics is a specialized field of knowledge. The first thing I would point out is that when we read a science fiction novel, we expect the author to get the science right. Physics is a specialized field of knowledge, yet many science fiction authors have learned physics sufficiently well to create realistic works of fiction, that stick to the science. Should we not expect other authors to do the same if they are going to bring up issues of economics in their works? Well, that brings me to my second point, which is that there are certain fields of knowledge -- those typically most deeply intertwined with the human experience -- in which everyone thinks their opinion matters simply because they are human beings. The same person who would not dare express an opinion about the nature of atoms, not knowing any quantum physics, will nevertheless go on and on about how we need to tax companies that outsource jobs, raise the minimum wage, raise trade barriers, etc., even though they are equally ignorant of economics, meaning they don't have the foggiest idea what will really happen if those things were in fact implemented. Everyone is a psychologist, everyone is an economist, everyone is a sociologist, and everyone is a moral philosopher. Point out everyone's ignorance on these things, and you risk the fate of Socrates.
So why, then, should we concern ourselves with the economic opinions of literary writers? We should concern ourselves precisely because they are immanent critics, even if they never intended to be such (typically they did so intend). We need to analyze their views and try to understand why they held them, and the ramifications for what it is they said and represented in their works. The literary Austrian critic must act as the immanent critic of the literary order.
The fact is that critics do in fact influence authors. It is thus important that our kind of criticism take place. It is important to help us understand works of literature, it's true -- but the fact that what we uncover and discover can influence other writers to create more liberal works is of equal importance. I don't want to overemphasize the importance of critics, to be sure. But each work is created from a kaleidoscope of influences -- we should want to be one of those shapely colors.