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.

Young Sheldon — Germaphobe

Sheldon is a bit of a germaphobe and flu season may be the worst time for him. While one sneeze could be caused by a variety of different items, someone who is sick may be contagious and harm others. Having the flu can impose a variety of external costs on others if they get sick. These externalities often plague college classrooms around exam time though, but it’s not as convincing of a story as The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome.

Chris Rock — Break Up

Chris Rock discusses his recent divorces and encourages couples in love to make sure they hold tight to one another. He does warn that if you’re thinking about leaving then you should probably leave immediately, perhaps after the show. A lot of people stay in relationships they don’t like being in because they’ve been together for so long, but that’s just irrational!

Life in Pieces — Coupons as gifts

Matt isn’t the best at giving gifts and he’s realizing that this year. Matt gives his wife a homemade coupon book that she decides to finally cash in to show him how awful the gifts are. After a while he doesn’t work as hard, but then at family dinner he finds out that no one really appreciates his gifts because it doesn’t seem like he puts much thought into them. There is a small line about positive externalities because Jen got a flu shot for her birthday once, which her husbands announces was “the gift that keeps on giving.”

Life in pieces also has another great clip on opportunity cost that’s worth checking out!

Chris Rock — High School Orientation

Chris Rock describes taking his daughter to her high school orientation and hearing the vice principle talk about how students can be anything that they want to be. While optimistic, Rock points out that it’s more appropriate to tell them that they can be whatever they’re good at as long as someone is hiring. It turns out Chris Rock¬†and stand up comedy has a lot of insights on economics.

Thanks to Kim Holder and ECONShots for clip idea!

 

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!

Friends — Rent Control

This is a classic example of a price ceiling, where the government comes in and sets a maximum price on what can be changed to consumers. One of the most prolific examples of price ceilings is rent control. In this episode of Friends, Chandler brags about how because the apartment was rent controlled, it was a ‘freaking steal!’

Thanks to James Tierney for the clip and description.

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