Vox takes a deeper look into the use of ramen as currency inside America’s prison system. Ramen serves a unique function as money since actual cash isn’t allowed in prisons. In order to serve as currency, an item needs to be durable, portable, and standardized, which ramen is. Ramen is the largest item purchased in prison commissaries and once inmates stockpile ramen, they can inflate/distort prices for other goods and services in the prison. The use of Ramen in prison economies is also mentioned in Brooklyn 99.
Stan describes the economy as being both real and not real at the same time. The market works because people believe in the economy and believe that paper money and plastic can count as spending. The concept of fiat money stems from people’s belief that the currency they hold actually has true value. This differs from commodity money in that the currency is not tied to a single asset.
Thanks to Zoe Cook-Nadel for the suggestion!
In this commercial, office workers are lamenting the apparent weakness of the dollar relative to other currencies. Another worker comes by with a hamburger from McDonald’s $1 menu and the office changes their tunes when they realize that a dollar can buy a whole hamburger.
One of the main characters just changed the value of the international currency to be zero which has the effect of causing all money to be worthless. The clip focuses on the president of the galactic federation and his aides discussing what to do about the sudden lack of money when the aides realize that without any money they won’t get paid and that they refuse to work for nothing. The president comes up with a solution that involves blowing his brains out with a handy space pistol.
Thanks for the summary and clip Ben Kupp!
A Business Insider correspondent travels around New York City with 100g of gold and a single Bitcoin to see how easy/difficult it is to conduct transactions using these alternative currencies. Even though gold is universally agreed currency, no one is willing to accept it. Bitcoin is a little more popular, but some local places didn’t accept it as payment.
With Jake stuck in prison, he needs to find a way to get a cell phone. His prison pal, Caleb, tells him about an opportunity to get a cell phone from another inmate in gen pop (general population), but it’s going to cost Jake. It turns out that since cigarettes have been banned in the prison, various flavors of ramen noodles are now the preferred currency. This new medium of exchange makes it where Jake can finally get a cell phone
This was forwarded along by the good folks at Norton Economics. The characters on the show go on to discuss bees as currency, which would be a great intro for a principle of macroeconomics course.