Business Insider — Robotic Kitchen

This Boston restaurant (Spyce) uses robots to cook food for customers and can cook your meal in 3 minutes or less.  Customers order from electronic kiosks at their table and a screen displays which robot station is preparing the diner’s dish. The woks are designed in a way to ensure consistency. The only labor used in the kitchen is the “garden manager” who is responsible for adding toppings and ensuring presentation. The bowls are priced at under $8.

Thanks to Peach for the clip suggestion!

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — Two Jobs Gaffe

 

In an interview segment discussing the economy, primarily the unemployment rate, Ocasio-Cortez dismissed claims that the economy is strong because of a historically low unemployment rate because “unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs. Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family.”

The issue with this claim is, namely, that the unemployment rate does not distinguish between the number of hours that people are working, nor the number of jobs they hold. While there are a narrow set of rules to be considered unemployed, only about 5% of Americans currently hold multiple jobs:

While politicians routinely make mistakes regarding the economy (1, 2), this gaffe is particularly note-worthy because Ocasio-Cortez holds a bachelors degree in economics from Boston University.

Billy Paul — Let the Dollar Circulate

I reached out to #EconTwitter and asked what songs they like to use to teach different topics in their classes and the results did not disappoint:

Since I’m not a macroeconomist, I have very little content on the macro side from tv and movies, but apparently music covers a lot of macro topics. The first suggestion was this 1975 Billy Paul song, Let the Dollar Circulate which begs for money to start flowing through the economy and wonders why things have slowed down (Is it all because of Watergate?). Paul notes that “Things are gettin’ higher, makes it hard on the buyers”  (inflation is happening) and “Unemployment on the rise.” The song was released at the end of the 1973-1975 recession. I was curious what unemployment and inflation looked like in the 1970s leading up to the recession, so I went and put together a FRED chart for you:

Thanks to Leo for the song suggestion!

World Economic Forum — Alibaba’s Automation

A look inside the robotic warehouse of Alibaba in Huiyang, China. The robots pick up the physical items and deliver them to the workers who are in charge of sorting the orders before shipment. The robots can carry about 1100 pounds of good around the warehouse floor all while not bumping into other robots because of a laser guidance system.

CBS News — Man Loses Life Savings On Carnival Game

Henry Gribbohm lost a few hundred dollars trying to play a carnival game to win an Xbox, but then went home to get his life savings, $2,600, which he then proceeded to spend at the carnival game. Gribbohm claims the game is rigged, but he did walk away with a giant banana with dreadlocks. While humorous at first, it does paint a picture of financial literacy should be an important component of secondary education.

Thanks to Tammy Batson for the suggestion!

Hard Knocks — Carl Nassib Teaches Compound Interest

 

Athletes are notoriously bad at saving money and making smart financial decisions after coming into their fortunes. Carl Nassib, a defensive lineman with the Cleveland Browns, discusses the power of compound interest with other rookies. His goal is to convince his teammates not to go out and spend $10,000 on a needless purchase because that means they are giving up a lot more money later in life. While 10% may be an unlikely interest rate, the power of compounding interest is one of the key principles in financial literacy programs.

Kiatnakin Bank — Saving for your dream

This young Thai kid dreams of being an astronaut and making great scientific discoveries, but he’s got to save enough Baht (Thai currency) to be able to afford to the telescope. For reference, 2500 baht is about $75 US. The young boy is tempted by ice cream, street food, video games and toys, but he maintains his frugalness and saves up enough to buy the telescope. After enough time, he rushes to the store to buy the telescope, only to find out that the telescope now costs 3500 baht. The message is clear, inflation occurs and makes the value of money deteriorate over time. This Thai bank is encouraging savings to help combat that.

Thanks to Peach Tantihkarnchana for the clip suggestion!

Adam Ruins — Rent Seeking & Taxes

 

Adam Ruins Everything is a half-hour informational comedy were host, Adam Conover, debunks popular myths. Each episode is divided into 3 segments with some common theme. In the Spring of 2018, James Tierney and I sat down to go through all three seasons of Adam Ruins Everything to pick out examples in each episode that could be used in an economics course. If you’re curious about the paper, you can read about it here.

In this segment, Adam reports on the frustrations of taxes and why we don’t see return-free filing in the United States. Because of lobbying efforts by major tax software companies, the tax system is kept just complicated enough that consumers will purchase their products.

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