Ryan Hamilton — Making it in New York

 

One of the underlying assumptions of the improvements to society from ease of migration comes from the fact that the models assume homogenous works. While there may be gains to productivity from easier migration, it doesn’t mean that workers will necessarily adapt to their surroundings. In Borjas’s book, We Wanted Workers, he points out the implications of psychic costs on movers and argues that it’s not fair to assume all workers who move will be as productive as they were at their source. This bit from Ryan Hamilton echoes that sentiment that allowing for migration may not mean productivity gains will occur if workers are unable to adjust to their new surroundings.

A Series of Unfortunate Event — Library Operating Hours

 

Olivia is frustrated with the administration because they only allow the library to be open for a short amount of time. She rightly notes that it doesn’t actually cost anything for the library to be open longer, partly because her salary is paid regardless of the number of hours. The administration, though, has used the money for personal reasons and doesn’t understand why it needs to be open longer. Olivia argues that the marginal cost of operating the library is zero, which implies that operating the library is only one large fixed cost.

Thanks to Brittany Pifer for the scene recommendation!

South Park — Necessities & Substitutes

 

The economy of South Park has dwindled and Randy has some suggestions on they can survive the economy’s wrath. He recommends substituting many of their everyday items for cheaper alternatives, and returning back to the basics: water, bread, and margaritas. During recessions, income and wealth take a dip and people are unable to afford many of the items they may have once consumed. This shift allows for a discussion of inferior and normal goods.

Thanks to Zoe Cook-Nadel for the suggestion!

South Park — Spending and Debt

 

Stan gets a no-limit credit card and pays the debts for the citizens of South Park so that they can go out and begin shopping again, and stimulate the economy. The entire episode is themed around the crucifixion as Stan “pays for the debts” of everyone in town. Keynesian economics argues that governments can increase spending during times of recessions in order to help lift the economy out of recessions.

Thanks to Zoe Cook-Nadel for the suggestion!

South Park — Fiat Money

 

Stan describes the economy as being both real and not real at the same time. The market works because people believe in the economy and believe that paper money and plastic can count as spending. The concept of fiat money stems from people’s belief that the currency they hold actually has true value. This differs from commodity money in that the currency is not tied to a single asset.

Thanks to Zoe Cook-Nadel for the suggestion!

South Park — Substituting Inferior Goods

 

Now that the South Park economy has dwindled, citizens are left to wonder why the economy has turned sour. Randy suggests a variety of methods of ways everyone can cut back. Without realizing it, he lists a variety of inferior goods for the citizens, which increase demand from decreases in income, like from a recession.

Thanks to Zoe Cook-Nadel for the suggestion!

South Park — Failing Economy

 

Stan’s dad discusses why he believes the economy in South Park is failing. Modeled after the Great Recession, Stan’s dad believes that too many people were buying unnecessary items on credit, but then not being able to pay for those items. Since times are tough, dinner isn’t exactly what the family is expecting. Even though his father believes people wasted a lot of money on things they don’t need, he proceeds to make himself a margarita using his newest blender.

Thanks to Zoe Cook-Nadel for the suggestion!

South Park — Margarita Securities

 

Stan tries to return his dad’s Margarittaville machine so that his family can have a bit more money during the recession. Turns out that his dad bought it on a finance plan, which has been repackaged and sold to investors. Similar to mortgage-backed securities, loans can be issued for assets and then re-packaged to spread out risk among risky investments. If you’re looking for an easy way to teach about the MBS crisis, this scene does a great job condensing the major components.

Thanks to Zoe Cook-Nadel for the suggestion!

South Park — It’s Gone!

 

Stan heads to the local bank to put a check from his relative into a bank account, but the South Park Bank is pretty terrible with their investment strategy. Unknowingly, the economy is about to tank and depositors are finding their money is suddenly gone.

Thanks to Zoe Cook-Nadel for the suggestion!

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