Pop Economics: Economics by way of the lens of popular culture


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So, the economic system is in disaster. Effectively, when is it not? The worldwide economic system is turning into like that one histrionic particular person that’s at all times depressing, in shambles and crying for consideration.

And people cries for consideration appear to be working. Now we have politicians, policymakers, environmentalists, attorneys, international motion teams, local people teams, writers, actors, singers, and speak present hosts speaking in regards to the state of the economic system. Apparently, these teams of non-experts appear to grasp the economics of day by day life higher than their completed counterparts, or no less than they’ve a knack presenting the concepts extra simply.

This realization dawned on me after I began my economics PhD on the nexus between debt and the true economic system, at which era I had an current specialization in advertising and solely an elementary data of monetary ideas. As I learn by way of books, stories and educational papers, I discovered myself on a dangerous expedition with difficult fashions, charts, methods and a lexicon that left me baffled.

It took me months of annotations, underlining and highlights to make sense of financial textual content, which continues so far. Throughout this time, I got here throughout a number of popular culture economics references that have been carefully related to day by day life, extra so than tortuous journal papers which frequently give attention to very particular areas of analysis that aren’t very relatable. It appears spectacular how popular culture references combine the intricacies and complexities of financial ideas and ideas into our day by day experiences, whereas financial texts and journal articles really feel distant and notional.

Urged Alternatives

  • PhD Program
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PhD Program in Economics

at Luiss Guido Carli College of Rome

Rome, Italy


Luiss Guido Carli College of Rome

  • PhD Program, Grasp’s Program
  • Posted 1 day in the past

MSc/PhD in Quantitative Economics – College of Alicante

at College of Alicante

Alicante, Spain


College of Alicante

So, I acquired insights into economics’ most debated matters from philosophy, poetry, jazz, rap, satire, films, podcasts, and so forth. For starters, contemplate the assertion “Inflation is if you pay fifteen {dollars} for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for 5 {dollars} if you had hair” which comes from a former baseball participant, Sam Ewing. This humorous quote matches the final sentiment very effectively throughout occasions of inflation.

We even have the Beatles singing in regards to the authorities’s tax insurance policies, a subject you least count on to make for a very good gig, with the catchphrase, “Let me let you know how it is going to be, there’s one for you, nineteen for me”. In the meantime, the road “the way in which the taxes are, you may as effectively marry for love” by Joe E. Lewis is one other comical tackle the grave challenge of excessive taxation.

These statements appear to traverse the boundaries of politics and time, remaining related to folks and teams all through the eras. Although popular culture has touched all important financial areas, two traits that are typically prevalent are shopper sentiments and widening inequality. Again and again, messages about economics in popular culture has represented the aspirations, issues and expectations of the final populace, and when an financial disaster hits (which is usually), it highlights the on-the-ground realities higher than the designated indexes compiled by economists to characterize sentiments.

Well-known 18th-century thinker and composer Jean Jacques Rousseau noticed, “When the folks shall don’t have anything extra to eat, they will eat the wealthy”, precisely representing the sort of animosity behind rising populism and cynicism in direction of the elite class.

The same level was put ahead within the Seventies by Gil Scott-Heron in his track “Whitey on the moon” , the place he blatantly factors out the partisan insurance policies of the US authorities. He writes, “I am unable to pay no physician payments, However whitey’s on the moon. Ten years from now, I will be payin’ nonetheless, Whereas whitey’s on the moon.”

Equally, in his satirical tackle the federal government’s insurance policies, comic Will Rogers feedback “The cash was all appropriated for the highest within the hopes that it could trickle right down to the needy. Mr. Hoover did not know that cash trickled up.”

We even have prose and poems commenting on the economic system and providing solutions. The Eighties rock band Dire Straits supplied an correct description of the state of affairs after they sang, “these are class signs of a financial squeeze…sociologists invent phrases that imply industrial illness”. Then we’ve got the 2008 track “Flow into” by Jeezy. “Sound just like the nation’s going broke. The business’s going up in smoke…Please (please), Please (please) Let the greenback flow into”, a seemingly workable resolution to the liquidity disaster confronted by the international locations then.

Within the drama realm, we’ve got in style films comparable to Fashionable Instances, Mom India, The Wizard of Oz, Robin Hood, and extra lately, The Pursuit of Happyness, Sorry to Hassle You, Parasite, Inception, Born Equal, Nightcrawler, Excessive Rise, and Squid Recreation. There are additionally dystopian films like The Starvation Video games, The Age of Silly, and Atlas Shrugged which clarify the dynamics of the economic system, although they aren’t part of the everyday wall avenue style.

So, if you are going over your financial textbooks and journal articles repeatedly, it is perhaps good to take a step again and mirror on how these matters have an effect on the common particular person. And, whilst you’re at it, you may as effectively play some good data.

Header picture image credit score: Pixabay.com


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