Vox takes a deeper look into the use of ramen as currency inside America’s prison system. Ramen serves a unique function as money since actual cash isn’t allowed in prisons. In order to serve as currency, an item needs to be durable, portable, and standardized, which ramen is. Ramen is the largest item purchased in prison commissaries and once inmates stockpile ramen, they can inflate/distort prices for other goods and services in the prison. The use of Ramen in prison economies is also mentioned in Brooklyn 99.
In Lucy and the Great Bank Robbery, Lucy and Viv rent their room people trying to visit the New York World’s Fair. Unbeknown to Lucy, she rents the room to two bank robbers who have decided to rob Mooney’s bank at night. After the heist, the bank robbers discuss whether they should stay in town and actually visit the World’s Fair or if they should leave. One of the robbers dutifully notes that money is only good for two things: stealing and spending. While your economics instructor would probably advise against the first part, we typically focus on the role of money as being only used for spending or saving. The two then go on to discuss how they’ll store their money since they can’t put the stolen money back into the bank. Saving money at home (in mattresses or in the ground) are common ways that money leaks from the money supply.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac, McDonalds is releasing a special coin that allows the holder to purchase a Big Mac in any country around this world. This “food-backed currency” allows the holder to avoid exchange rates between countries and references The Economist’s Big Mac Index as Big Mac’s ability to be essentially identical across the world. Economists may soon be able to teach a whole survey course using tv and movie scenes referencing McDonalds (1, 2, 3).
Thanks to Kim Holder for the clip suggestion:
This TedEd video looks at how money supply impacts the value of bills in the economy. As an animated illustrated, it does a great job working through the idea of fiat money and how inflation/deflation is controlled through the money supply.
Jakes owes everyone on the squad a lot of money and he starts by paying back Terry. Initially, Jake tries to buy something from a vending machine by giving it a $2.50 coupon because he believes that’s worth what’s printed on the money. When he tries to borrow money from Terry, the Sergeant decides to cut him off because he’s borrowed too much money. Based on the interactions of the squad and Jake, he has a fairly high leverage ratio. When Jake decides to start pay back Terry, he starts by emptying his bank account since that’s the most liquid of his assets.
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.
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.
Colorful stickers have become de facto currency on the playground. TJ can’t buy things because he doesn’t have any stickers even though his friends have them. Because of the increase in demand, the local shop owner doesn’t even have any stickers left.
TJ decides to start working in order to earn more stickers to buy things. When he gets tired of doing labor for stickers, he turns into a managerial role and begins delegating tasks to other kids who needs stickers. When TJ collects nearly all of the Monstickers on the playground, the kids aren’t able to actually purchase anythings. Eventually, Monstickers become obsolete and the playground converts to Lick ‘n’ Stick Alien Stamps and the Monstickers become useless.
One of the main characters just changed the value of the international currency to be zero which has the effect of causing all money to be worthless. The clip focuses on the president of the galactic federation and his aides discussing what to do about the sudden lack of money when the aides realize that without any money they won’t get paid and that they refuse to work for nothing. The president comes up with a solution that involves blowing his brains out with a handy space pistol.
Thanks for the summary and clip Ben Kupp!