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.
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.
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.
In this scene, cheap inmate labor provided by Shawshank crowds out private investment. The Warden ends up getting bribed to make sure he does not bid on a contract that the private investor needs to have. This can be shown to students to talk about how programs that are meant to help the economy can crowd out private investment. It can also lead into a discussion on corruption and greed.
Thanks James Tierney for the clip and description!
Tim decides to customize his lawn mower in order to get more power out of it. By doing so he’s able to mow his lawn much quicker than he previous did. This technological innovation allows him to complete his task much quicker and spend more time on other tasks that need to be completed around the house.
Sir Harold Evans, the author of They Made America, describes how the shipping container revolutions international trade and made it easier to ship products around the world. This TED Talk could be used when discussing comparative advantage and trade or even when thinking about factors that have led to the growth of countries.
Jane decides to help Tarzan increase is human capital by learning some new “human” skills. After learning these various skills, Tarzan should be much more productive.
Thanks for the clip recommendation Courtney Conrad!
Nissan simulates a world where everything runs on gasoline and asks potential buyers to consider a world where everything didn’t.
Louis C.K. on Conan really hates technology even though it’s provided significant gains in standard of living. Louis outlines the negative externalities and the unintended consequences associated with the growth.