PBS Newshour investigates the economics around the first Thanksgiving, including the differences between Europe’s cash economy and the indigenous barter system as well as common resources and property rights.
The gang decides to try and start selling their own gasoline because they are tired of the high prices the local gas station is charging. The three come into the gas station to let the owner know that he’s about to see the pain of a free market because they intend to take customers away from him. Free markets allow for easy entry and exit of competitors, which should drive down prices and profits.
Rick’s quote in this episode is as followed, “The point of automation is to reduce cost and labor!” He says this because his robot’s dialogue disappointed him. This directly relates to economics, labor economics in particular, as when a firm’s supply of labor becomes too inelastic they will substitute capital for labor in order to reduce costs and increase profits. The firm, or Rick, is substituting capital for labor as we saw when examining firms’ reactions to labor markets.
Thanks to Justin Cooper for the clip and description!
When Mr. Pulitzer decides to raise prices in the distribution channel by forcing the newsies (the newspaper boys) to pay higher prices for a pack of 100 papers, the newsies decide to go on strike. Without raising the price to the final consumer, the price increase essentially just lowers the profits the newsies can collect. They decide to go on strike and create a newsies union to have more monopoly power in the process.