Stranger Things is an American science-fiction TV show that premiered in 2016. This captivating show is set in the 1980s in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. The three seasons follow a band of children investigating supernatural events, including the psychokinetic abilities of a young girl.

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 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? What is the impact of the introduction of new goods, such as smartphones, on the CPI?

Clip URL: https://criticalcommons.org/view?m=NPgFYnhdW

Concepts: CPI, real prices, inflation rate, real wage

Background: In 1985, Steve works at an ice cream parlor "Scoops Ahoy." A single scoop of ice cream with a wafer cone costs $1.25. Today, the same treat would cost $3.78 at a similar ice cream parlor in the U.S. (e.g., Baskin Robbins)[1]. Steve tells Robin, "I make three bucks an hour, and I have no future."

Question 1 (Let’s Use Data): The consumer price index (CPI) is used to measure the average price of a basket of goods and services bought by a typical American consumer. Research the CPI in 1985 and today, and calculate the real price of an ice cream scoop in 1985. To answer this question, you may use the CPI values from the BLS website[2]. Is the CPI a perfect measure of the cost of living?

Question 2 (Let’s Use Data): Compare the minimum wage increase in Indiana since 1985 and compare it to the inflation rate. You may use the state minimum wage rate for Indiana from the FRED website[3].