The Colbert Report — Picketty


Colbert interviews Thomas Piketty regarding his book, Capital. Colbert challenges the notion that income inequality is a concern, but Picketty argues that growth is important. Picketty emphasizes the importance of economic mobility from a growth standpoint. This interview would serve as a good introduction to the topic in a principles course or a quick review of topics for an intermediate course.

Last Week Tonight — Wealth Gap


John Oliver looks at the wealth gap in the United States following the announcement by President Obama that income inequality was “the defining challenge of our time.” Critics immediately accused the President of class warfare. Oliver discusses popular reasons for growing inequality but also highlights some of the current policies that contribute to its growth. An interesting extension of his coverage on the estate tax is a framing argument that by simply telling people the threshold required to pay those taxes can cause people to switch their support for the tax.

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.

TED — How Containerization Shaped the Modern World

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.

Centel Cellular — 1991 Commercial

Centel Cellular wanted to take customers in a bold new direction for communication. This ad is a lighthearted look at how far we’ve come since 1991. The amount of economic growth has been beyond most people’s imagination.

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