John Stossel — Blue Laws

Blue Laws in the United States date back to Puritanical times when local governments wanted to ensure that people were in church on Sunday and observing the sabbath. Today, Blue Laws are a form of prohibition that limits the amount of time that businesses can sell profits. While most states have removed their blue laws, some still remain, like the inability to sell cars on Sundays or more extreme limitations like those in Bergen, NJ. This Stossel clips argues that the prohibition is a restriction of freedom for businesses that want to sell products.

Stossel — Diamond Engagement Rings


In this Stossel segment, we learn about the history of the De Beers diamond corporation and their control of the diamond market. Stossel interviews guests and asks them to identify diamonds from knock-off rings, but most can’t tell the difference despite claiming to be capable.

John Stossel — Tragedy of the Commons

In this Stossel in the Classroom segment, Stossel analyzes the issues around common resources and public goods. In the opening interview, many people believe public versions of items are better and often cite the lack of a price as the main reason for selecting that over a private item. The same people are quick to point out that a public toilet doesn’t have the same connotation because people overuse it and don’t take care of the resources because no one owns it.

This clips is beneficial to talk about how tragedy of the commons can be overcome by assigning property rights to a business and turning it into a private good.

John Stossel — The Fight Against Food Trucks

John Stossel, through ReasonTV, looks at the regulations behind the food truck industry. From a competitive market standpoint, food trucks have the ability to respond to high demand areas by relocating at any given moment. For brick-and-mortar businesses, however, food trucks enter the market as a low-cost competitor and steal customers from permanent restaurants. Many cities in the United States have setup regulation limiting the location of food trucks or the hours they may operate. This rent seeking behavior, however, limits the amount of options available to consumers in the name of “fairness.”

John Stossel — The Economics of Sports Stadium

John Stossel is back to discuss sports stadiums (mega events) and why their subsidies aren’t worth the investments from an economic standpoint. Along with economist, JC Bradbury, Stossel investigates the counterfactual to the claim that stadiums and mega events will become an economic boom to cities and states.

John Stossel — Rent Control in New York City

John Stossel explores New York City’s decision to implement rent control throughout the city. He covers many of the predictable outcomes associated with inefficient policy controls. Ask students to identify issues as he progresses through the video. ¬†While the references are a bit dated, there aren’t many videos that hit the outcomes as closely as this one does.

John Stossel — Spontaneous Order

In this Stossel in the Classroom segment, John Stossel analyzes political promises and looks at how government intervention actually can harm business. A good portion of the video focuses on how the invisible hand dictates much of what we see occurring in our lives and how centrally planned economies like the Soviet Union break down.

John Stossel — Price Gouging

Is price gouging evil or is it the sensible economic decision when shortages arise? In this series, John Stossel explores price gouging around natural disasters. This topic is really good for discussing the tradeoff between equity and efficiency.

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