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Approaching Economics with Humor: Some Favorite Videos

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA®, CFP®

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This entry was posted on Dec 31, 2019 1:48:54 PM

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To ring out the year, Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan shares some videos that approach economics with humor. I suspect not too much work will get done today, at least in my house, so let’s have some fun. Below are links to some of my favorite economic and investing videos. In true economist fashion, I have categorized them appropriately. Note that I may not agree with the content—especially for the funny ones! Start at the top.

Enjoy—and see you in the new year!

Generation Z angst?: Gumball’s “Economy Song”

I have to give a hat tip to my son for this cartoon, since I was watching TV with him when I saw it. As the song announcer says, “The stock market has fallen, but these animated graphs will tell you all about it.” The clip is from the Cartoon Network’s Amazing World of Gumball television series.

Keynes vs. Hayek rap battle: “Fear the Boom and Bust”

In this 2010 music video—an oldie but goodie—twentieth-century titans John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich von Hayek attend a modern economic summit and rap about the boom-and-bust business cycle. Created by John Papola and Russ Roberts, the video addresses the question: should we steer the markets or set them free?

Rodney Dangerfield: “First Economics Class”

Who better to parody economic theory versus reality than Rodney Dangerfield in the classic 1986 comedy Back to School? In this bit from the movie, Dangerfield stars as a successful but uneducated businessman who enrolls in college. Here’s what happens when the practical loudmouth takes his first economics class, with the topic being real estate development.

Homer Simpson: “An Economic Analysis”

Does Homer Simpson’s job history represent that of many middle-class Americans? In this 2016 video analysis, Vox charts Homer’s hypothetical salaries from 100 of the jobs he held during 27 years as the lead character of the popular TV series The Simpsons. Vox’s conclusion? Homer’s median income just might be a paradigm of the “middle-class squeeze.” 

American Economic Association: “The Funniest Papers in the History of Economics”

As Yoram Bauman, PhD, says in this humorous presentation at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in 2016, “It was a challenge to just get them down to a couple.” Bauman bills himself as “the world’s first and only stand-up economist.” This video is quite a compilation—which one is your favorite?

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