South Park — It’s Gone!

 

Stan heads to the local bank to put a check from his relative into a bank account, but the South Park Bank is pretty terrible with their investment strategy. Unknowingly, the economy is about to tank and depositors are finding their money is suddenly gone.

Thanks to Zoe Cook-Nadel for the suggestion!

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.

Moby Dick — The Ship

Two potential sailors come aboard the Pequod to inquire about becoming joining the crew. Peleg asks why any man would want to become a sailor when the conditions are so rough. He works through the requirements of being a sailor to make sure the men are willing to undergo through strenuous conditions. The reason whalers were so well-paid at the time was because the risk of death aboard the ship.

Here’s a good interview from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the captain of a fishing boat on the show Deadliest Catch.

Bleacher Report — The Coach That Never Punts

 

At Pulaski Academy in Arkansas, Kevin Kelley’s team never punts because he opts for high risk decisions because the probabilities are in his favor. He doesn’t believe in taking the risk averse method and he also believes in focuses on his team’s comparative advantage instead of just doing the traditional method.

Always Sunny — Smoking in the Mailroom

Charlie decides to start smoking in the mailroom because it’s a stressful job and the cigarettes help him calm down. He rationalizes it that it’s okay to do something so risky because he has health insurance. In economic terms, health insurance creates a moral hazard because Charlie is only smoking because he knows he has insurance and he wouldn’t be as risky without it.

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