Brooklyn 99 — The Danger of Email

 

Jake and Charles are sent to the US Postal Inspection Services to get help with a case they are working on that involves a mail key. There they meet Agent Jack Danger who identifies the key as being part of a set of old post boxes that are no longer in service. Jake and Charles want the list of people who were responsible for collecting they key and recommend that Agent Danger emails them the list. This clearly upsets Agent Danger since many of his friends were laid off because of the introduction of email.

KRON 4 — Online News in 1981

A look back at a 1981 news segment that covers the Internet and the eventual push to online media. At the time, 8 newspapers were currently part of the network delivering their daily news via this system. The “paper” included all text, but not images or classifieds. Near the end of the segment, they predict that nearly all news will be delivered electronically, but that the time would be a few years away. The segment closes with a look at a newspaper salesman who would potentially become structurally unemployed when the need for physical papers vanishes.

Bloomberg — How Much Money Do You Need to Be Wealthy in America?

Relative values of wealth are often difficult for students to analyze, primarily given our focus on income. Income is the flow of money while wealth is an accumulation of assets. Different generations perceive the concept of “wealthy” differently, but this video includes nonpecuniary aspects like spending time with family or being able to vacations as markers of wealthy. It would be interesting to survey students what they feel is a level of wealth that they would identify as being “wealthy.” I suspect it could also be a good opportunity to talk about the differences between means and medians.

Vox — China’s Panda Diplomacy

One of the coolest examples of international trade is China’s use of pandas as a tool for encouraging international trade. While the pandas (and their eventual cubs) may come with a hefty fee, the majority of these pandas accompany major international trade deals that countries sign with China. This quick explainer video outlines the way China uses pandas to their advantage.

Jimmy Kimmel Live — 2nd Grader Explains Trade Deficits

 

With the recent stretch of tariffs being imposed on other countries (and other countries on us), Jimmy Kimmel uses some of his showtime to interview 2nd graders about the trade deficits. The basis of the segment comes from Trump’s misguided tweet regarding trade deficits and why a trade war won’t hurt the US:

Shiloh, our 2nd grader, explains the pros and cons of international trade, including the potential for lost jobs in the US and unsafe working conditions abroad. She also highlights the pros of trade by noting countries are able to buy more things, create jobs in exporting industries, and bring countries together.

Thanks to Abdullah Al-Bahrani for the post!

Young Sheldon — 1989 Technology

Radio Shack was a huge part of Sheldon’s life because of all the great technology tools available. In this scene, Sheldon describes the benefits of having a new computer and tries to convince his mom to purchase one so that they can be more productive. A computer costing $998 in 1989 would be equivalent to about $2000 in 2018 dollars. Sheldon is not initially successful in convincing his mom.

While some technology gains are productivity enhancing, at the end of this episode, we see that the gains aren’t the same for everyone.

Young Sheldon — Productivity and Technology

The Cooper Family decides to purchase a new computer after Sheldon convinces his mother about all the things it could do for the family. Sheldon shows his parents how their life is a bit easier because of the benefits of the computer. Not all of the members of the family experience the technology gains, but instead have gains in happiness.

Young Sheldon — Relative Gifts

The Cooper family is on their way to get a computer unbeknownst to the children. Sheldon’s sister Missy is in love with her pony, even if some of is derived from the fact that Sheldon doesn’t have a toy (known as a positional good). This all changes when their mother announces that Sheldon will be getting his computer. Missy is now upset because she has a “lousy toy” that she loved minutes ago. This scene is a good representation of the issues of inequality despite both parties gaining, the relative gain is unbalanced. The two siblings experience a Pareto improvements in their lives (both gain), but one is happier about the situation than the other.

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