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 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?
- Clip URL: https://criticalcommons.org/view?m=NPgFYnhdW
- Concepts: CPI, real prices, inflation rate, real wage
- Background: In 1985, Steve worked 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 US (e.g., Baskin Robbins). Steve tells Robin, “I make three bucks an hour, and I have no future.” Please note that the price of a wafer cone is subject to change and may need to be updated.
- Question 1 (Let’s Use Data): The consumer price index (CPI) measures the average price of a basket of goods and services bought by a typical American household. Research the CPI in 1985 and today, and calculate the real price of an ice cream scoop in 1985. You may use the CPI values from the BLS website to answer this question (https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?bls). 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 Indiana’s state minimum wage rate from the FRED website (https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/STTMINWGIN).