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.

Monty Python — Cheese Shop Sketch

One of the many benefits of international trade is increased product variety because countries can devote resources to the goods they have a comparative advantage in. Monty Python demonstrates what a world without trade would look like. After going through a list of a variety of different types of cheese (even cheddar!), but nothing is available. The finest cheese shop is at least clean!

Thanks to Rob Szarka for the clip suggestion on his Twitter account!

Shawshank Redemption — Cigarettes as Money

In this short scene, Red pays an inmate to smuggle contraband with cigarettes. Cigarettes are used as money a lot in prison and it is shown throughout this film. This scene can be shown to talk about medium of exchange, commodity money, bartering, etc.

Thanks to James Tierney for the clip and description.

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