Stephen invites Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman to ride a rollercoaster with him (Krugman has never been on one!) and discuss macroeconomic theory during the ride.
I reached out to #EconTwitter and asked what songs they like to use to teach different topics in their classes and the results did not disappoint:
I need some help #teachEcon! What's your favorite song(s) to play for class that's associated with economics topics you're teaching that lesson?
— Jadrian Wooten (@Wootenomics) August 15, 2018
Since I’m not a macroeconomist, I have very little content on the macro side from tv and movies, but apparently music covers a lot of macro topics. The first suggestion was this 1975 Billy Paul song, Let the Dollar Circulate which begs for money to start flowing through the economy and wonders why things have slowed down (Is it all because of Watergate?). Paul notes that “Things are gettin’ higher, makes it hard on the buyers” (inflation is happening) and “Unemployment on the rise.” The song was released at the end of the 1973-1975 recession. I was curious what unemployment and inflation looked like in the 1970s leading up to the recession, so I went and put together a FRED chart for you:
Thanks to Leo for the song suggestion!
This young Thai kid dreams of being an astronaut and making great scientific discoveries, but he’s got to save enough Baht (Thai currency) to be able to afford to the telescope. For reference, 2500 baht is about $75 US. The young boy is tempted by ice cream, street food, video games and toys, but he maintains his frugalness and saves up enough to buy the telescope. After enough time, he rushes to the store to buy the telescope, only to find out that the telescope now costs 3500 baht. The message is clear, inflation occurs and makes the value of money deteriorate over time. This Thai bank is encouraging savings to help combat that.
Thanks to Peach Tantihkarnchana for the clip suggestion!
This TedEd video looks at how money supply impacts the value of bills in the economy. As an animated illustrated, it does a great job working through the idea of fiat money and how inflation/deflation is controlled through the money supply.
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.
Colorful stickers have become de facto currency on the playground. TJ can’t buy things because he doesn’t have any stickers even though his friends have them. Because of the increase in demand, the local shop owner doesn’t even have any stickers left.
TJ decides to start working in order to earn more stickers to buy things. When he gets tired of doing labor for stickers, he turns into a managerial role and begins delegating tasks to other kids who needs stickers. When TJ collects nearly all of the Monstickers on the playground, the kids aren’t able to actually purchase anythings. Eventually, Monstickers become obsolete and the playground converts to Lick ‘n’ Stick Alien Stamps and the Monstickers become useless.
Watch Nixon address the nation during a period of high inflation. Nixon’s decision to implement price freezes across the United States sounds like a great policy, but the inefficiency of price manipulation typically outweighs the benefits that some consumers receive. Here’s a nice summary from the Cato Institute.