The Grinch — Christmas Will Be 3 Times Bigger

The increasing commercialism of Christmas can be used to illustrate the concept of inflation. In The Grinch, one of the Whos shows the Grinch a new flyer that the mayor is anticipating that Christmas in Whoville will be three times bigger than last year! In a similar manner, inflation can devalue money and cause people to spend an increasing amount of money each year to keep up with the past. A specific set of Christmas decorations won’t be valuable as the previous year since everyone is expected to do things three times bigger this year.

Thanks to Mandy Mandzik for the clip recommendation. Check out her working paper, All I Want for Christmas is an A on My Econ Final: A Holiday-Themed Review Class, for more Christmas-themed economics examples.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas — Extreme Decorating

The increasing commercialism of Christmas can be used to illustrate the concept of inflation. In The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, the Whos engage in a yearly competition to have the best Christmas light display. Each year the neighbors attempt to outdo each other with bigger and more extravagant displays. In a similar manner, inflation can devalue money and cause people to spend an increasing amount of money each year to keep up with the past. A specific length of Christmas lights isn’t as valuable the next year as it was the year before and neighbors will have to spend more and more to remain competitive.

Thanks to Mandy Mandzik for the clip recommendation. Check out her working paper, All I Want for Christmas is an A on My Econ Final: A Holiday-Themed Review Class, for more Christmas-themed economics examples.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — Not Enough Presents

Harry Potter’s spoiled cousin Dudley Dursley is upset that he received fewer presents for his birthday than last year. Instead of holding firm, Dudley’s parents decide to increase the number of presents to make up for Dudley’s disappointment. Similar to inflationary pressure seen across a broader economy, Dudley’s gifts seem to lose value over time and only an increasing number of gifts will satisfy him. There’s an expectation that each year Dudley will receive more gifts than the year before.

Thanks to Amanda Mandzik for this clip suggestion and summary!

Teen Titans Go — The Gold Standard

The gang tries to catch a leprechaun for St. Patrick’s Day so that they can get his three wishes. In their quest, Beast Boy uses one of his wishes to become a leprechaun and beings to “live the leprechaun life” which includes a lust gold. Beast boy sells all of his friend’s stuff in exchange for gold. He then announces that his goal is to get the government back on the gold standard and attempt to fix the exchange rate. They go on to explain the rationale behind the gold standard and Nixon’s authorization to end the gold standard.

Thanks to “Mike on Twitter” for posting about the clip!

The Pajama Game — 7 1/2 Cents

Asking for a raise is tough, but even a modest raise in wages can have a huge impact on worker salaries. In this scene from The Pajama Game, we see how a 7.5 cent raise can impact a worker’s wage. The cast goes through the calculations of what they could earn with additional income, including an automatic washing machine, a year supply of gasoline, and a vacuum cleaner.

Assessment idea: This is a neat opportunity to calculate real wages and see what 7.5 cents would be worth today versus 1953. The BLS has a calculator so you don’t have to wait!

Looking for more: Do you want to see more economics in Broadway shows? Check out BroadwayEconomics.com

Thanks to Mark Sammons from the University of Arizona for sending this clip in!

Agents of SHIELD — She Wanted Gold!

 

Loralei is seeking to take over the world and she wants money, but Rooster shows up with a bag full of paper money instead of gold. Rooster explains to her that on Earth, paper money is just like gold although he mistakenly says that Ben Franklin was a US president. While dollars used to be based on gold, they have since been converted to fiat money is backed on faith of the US government.

 

Disjointed — The Role of the Federal Reserve (Conspiracy)

 

In a “puff and paint” party, some patrons of a local dispensary have gone a bit too far in the describing the role of the Federal Reserve. While the stated goals of the Fed are price stability and full employment, this hallucination has the Fed at the center of a universe-wide conspiracy. Bloomberg has a podcast that looks at why so many conspiracy theories seem to form around the Federal Reserve.

My former student, Luke, sent me this clip. You should follow him on Twitter!

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