Billy Paul — Let the Dollar Circulate

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:

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!

Kiatnakin Bank — Saving for your dream

 

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!

Shawshank Redemption — Cigarettes as Money

In this short scene, Red pays an inmate to smuggle contraband with cigarettes. Cigarettes are used as money a lot in prison and it is shown throughout this film. This scene can be shown to talk about medium of exchange, commodity money, bartering, etc.

Thanks to James Tierney for the clip and description.

Always Sunny — Circular Flow

Mac and Dennis come up with a plan to create Paddy’s Dollars in order to stimulate their bar’s revenues, but they have the system a bit backward. They decide to give away a bunch of vouchers that could be used to buy beer to local homeless people. Unfortunately, there’s no incentive for those individuals to come back and buy more Paddy’s Dollars later. This would also be a neat example when teaching circular flow diagrams.

Always Sunny — Internal Economy

While visiting a Dave and Buster’s, Mac and Dennis decide to create Paddy’s Dollars to promote their bar, based on the Dave & Buster’s Power Card. They believe that by giving out Paddy’s Dollars they can get people to come back to their store and spend more money there. They want to require people to buy Paddy’s Dollars using real dollars.

This could be a cool introduction to the Capitol Hill Babysitting Co-op.

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