ESPN 30 for 30: Broke — Risky Investments

 

Athletes become broke after retirement because of overspending, unexpected expenses, and poor financial advice from third parties. Because of the prominence of reporting athlete salaries, distant friends and family pitch business ideas to athletes, most of which have no knowledge of the risk involved in starting a business. Safer assets are not viewed as exciting or sexy, despite their considerable safety. One way to help secure financial futures is to seek out financial advice from professionals who are educated in the field.

Abdullah Al-Bahrani and Darshak Patel have a great paper in the Southern Economic Journal that looks at using ESPN 30 for 30 to teach economics.

The Big Short — Risk vs Reward

In this scene from The Big Short, the traders illustrate the concept of risk/reward payoffs using Jenga blocks. When trying to determine which investments to approach, the safest returns (the blocks at the top) are the easiest to invest in, but they don’t offer much of a return because they are so safe. The investments that are a bit risker (the blocks at the bottom) are compensated with higher returns to compensate investors who take the risk.

Futurama — Fishful of Dollars

We can see economic concepts throughout the episode when Fish learns that he is rich because of a small savings account he opened 1000 years ago. Thanks to interest rates, his money has grown to billions. When Fish and his friends try to order a pizza, he finds out that anchovies no longer exist because of overfishing when humans arrived on the planet. Zoidberg notes that his people killed the anchovies because they always believed one more wouldn’t have an impact.

Going Places (1948)

 

From YouTube:

Cold War cartoon defending the profit motive against anti-capitalist critics. The second of seven smart-looking animated shorts in the “fun and facts about American business” series. Its subject is “the profit motive,” and it stars “Freddie Fudsie,” a lazy soap maker who just wants to go fishing. He invents bar soap, makes some money, and is about to retire in peace and quiet when a sexy lady (the Profit Motive) walks by and Freddie — who suddenly needs more money to win her affection — never sees a fishing hole again. But that’s okay, because “the profit motive has been the driving force behind the growth of American industry” and “will make a better life for the children of tomorrow.”

The Colbert Report — College Credit

Stephen goes through the issues associated with the earning potential of various degrees. This satirical piece points out that college students receive credit for different courses, but they aren’t charged differently for their credit. He then goes through examples of ways colleges could break down credit into three tiers and charge based on potential gains to the students.

The Founder — Opening Scene

The Founder is based on the rise of Ray Kroc and the McDonald’s brothers. The opening scene of the movie can be used to talk about a variety of topics in producer theory. Michael Keaton plays entrepreneur Ray Kroc and the opening scene starts with Kroc explaining how fast food establishments can upgrade to a 5-spindle milkshake machine and boost the production of milkshakes at the restaurant. Keaton also goes describes themes that are used in monopolistic competition that focus on firms differentiating their products, perhaps by being able to focus on milkshakes.

Thanks for the submission Ryan Herzog!

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