Jinn Clip #1
- Clip URL: https://criticalcommons.org/view?m=ZUC2yfPlW
- Concepts: Opportunity cost, scarcity, limited resources
- Background: Yassin’s mother struggles to pay for his private highschool tuition. However, Yassin’s mother and stepfather are seen spending money on other goods and services such as a birthday cake, alcoholic beverages, a dinner at a restaurant, rent, and food.
- Question: Resources are limited and scarce. Define the concept of “opportunity cost” using Yassin’s situation.
Jinn Clip #2
- Clip URL: https://criticalcommons.org/view?m=QpT8ByVyR
- Concepts: Income inequality, labor market, education, technological progress
- Background: Jinn was shot in the cities of Petra and Amman. In this clip, we meet the family of Hosny, a Bedouin teenager who disappeared from the ancient city and is suspected of being possessed by a spirit. Hosny’s family lives in Petra, in a modest and traditional house. Fahed lives in a modern villa with a pool in Amman, the capital and largest Jordan city.
- Question: Compare the Bedouins’ living conditions with those of Amman’s high schoolers. Explain the societal issue of economic inequality and identify potential causes by comparing Hosny and Fahed’s lifestyles.
King Of Boys Clip #1
- Clip URL: https://criticalcommons.org/view?m=Xny7RzCZW
- Concepts: Technological progress, creative-destruction process
- Background: The editor of the Conscience explains that readers prefer to read the news online rather that on a traditional newspaper. Information technologies (e.g., internet) have made this transition possible. Technological progress is an essential component of productivity and is usually considered positive for a country’s economy.
- Question: Discuss whether technological progress actually benefits everybody in society. Are there potential losers of technological progress?
Queen Sono Clip #1
- Clip URL: https://criticalcommons.org/view?m=7n3xia6QP
- Concepts: Gains from trade, production possibilities, opportunity costs, comparative advantage, foreign direct investment, national spending approach, technology transfer
- Background: In Queen Sono, we get hints of Africa’s abundance of natural resources, such as the diamond mine in episode 1 and the mention of an oil rig in episode 3. The non-governmental organization Afrifeed also accuses the company Superior Solutions of planning to exploit Africa’s natural resources. The heiress of the private arms company Superior Solutions concludes her speech by saying: “All these regions have the resources to support big businesses, to attract foreign direct investment. We all dream of an Africa that is at peace with itself, an Africa ready for a new and prosperous future.”
- Question 1: Research what commodities Sub-Saharan African countries mainly export. Then, using trade theories, explain how African countries can benefit from trade.
- Question 2: Table 1 illustrates the advantages of the two countries, expressed in terms of how many hours it takes to produce each good. To simplify, let’s say that each country has 100 worker hours.
|Copper (hours per thousand tonnes)||Computer (hours per unit)|
|Republic Of The Congo||5||200|
Table 1. Number of Hours to Produce One Unit
First, calculate the production possibilities before any trade. Second, calculate the opportunity costs and discuss which country has a comparative advantage in producing copper and computers.
- Question 3: Discuss whether foreign direct investment can help increase the economic growth of Africa’s poorer countries.
Queen Sono Clip #2
- Clip URL: https://criticalcommons.org/view?m=ZR4JMhnvK
- Concepts: Wealth of nations, role of institutions
- Background: While Africa is abundant in natural resources, several African countries are among the poorest countries in the world. The Netflix series depicts the corruption of some African leaders and the legacy of apartheid in South Africa.
- Question (Let’s Use Data): Find the most recent GDP per capita for five Sub-Saharan African countries. Compare the data to those of some developed countries (e.g., United States, Sweden, United Kingdom, Canada). Discuss if institutions play a role in encouraging economic growth. To answer this question, you may use the GDP per capita values (current U.S. dollars) from the World Bank website: https://data.worldbank.org/.
Sacred Games Clip #2
- Clip URL: https://criticalcommons.org/view?m=LTtTaCeal
- Concepts: Rent control, price ceiling, shortage
- Background: Sacred Games was shot in Mumbai, and several scenes show different views of the city. For several decades after 1947, existing rents were frozen. In 1999, the Maharashtra Rent Control Act was passed, allowing landlords to increase rent by 4% per year. Rent remained extremely low compared to market value. Sacred Games exposes some of Mumbai’s slums.
- Question 1: Is rent control an example of a price ceiling or price floor? Explain the concepts. What are the unintended consequences of rent control that you may have noticed in Sacred Games? Are these similar to the ones predicted by economic theory?
- Question 2: Use the supply and demand analysis to explain how rent control led to a shortage of dwelling units, which in turn resulted in a growing number of slums. Research population growth in Mumbai and discuss its impact on the shortage issue. You can use the following website: https://www.macrotrends.net/cities/21206/mumbai/population.
Stranger Things Clip #1
- Clip URL: https://criticalcommons.org/view?m=B1oiNzfxp
- Concepts: Technological progress, innovation, creative-destruction process, CPI, consumer needs
- Background: Stranger Things is set in the 1980s, when walkie-talkies, phone booths, portable media players such as the Walkman, and boomboxes were widely popular.
- Question 1: Think of the items you use to call your friends and listen to music. What has changed since the 80s, and how does it affect our daily life?
- Question 2: What else do you do with your smartphones? What would you have to buy to replace your smartphones if smartphones were not available anymore? Altogether, would it be more or less expensive than a smartphone? How does introducing new goods, such as smartphones, impact the CPI? What do you think is different about how we make phone calls nowadays?
Finding ‘Ohana Clip #1
- Clip URL: https://criticalcommons.org/view?m=hR0RpMI6B
- Course Classification: Macroeconomics, Development
- Concepts: Technological progress, innovation, creative-destruction process.
- Background: Pili and her brother Ioane travel to Hawaii to spend time with their grandfather. In his house, house items have not changed since the 1990s.
- Question: Find at least three examples of Schumpeter’s “creative destruction” phenomenon in this clip. What is the impact of the technological innovations Pili and Ioane are used to in New York on our society?
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind Clip #2
- Clip URL: https://criticalcommons.org/view?m=rZGUZM9PW
- Categories: Macroeconomics
- Concepts: Wealth of nations, economic growth
- Background: William lives in Kasungu, Malawi. Malawi is a landlocked country situated in Southeastern Africa. Malawi is considered one of the world’s poorest countries
- Question: Find the under-five mortality rate in Malawi, Seychelles, Tunisia, and Egypt on the UNICEF website (https://data.unicef.org/country/). What is the difference in GDP per capita in these countries? List three reasons for such disparities between Malawi and the other three countries.