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The arts usually provide meaning to the activities that are engaged in our societies. In that respect, films have been used as a medium for displaying how our societies have evolved in the social, political and economic senses (McDonald 1830). Hollywood has provided an artistic understanding of economics over the years. This paper will explore the films I have seen, and their corresponding economic ideas. These concepts were not only limited to the film but also influenced markets after viewing. It is important to note that the themes stated here are not restricted to either micro or macroeconomics, but the field as a whole.
In 1934, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert featured in the film ‘It happened One Night.’ On the surface, the movie appears as a simplistic romantic comedy. On scrutiny, various economic concepts can be observed. In one scene, Gable creates an influence on the market for undershirts. When he exposes a bare chest in the film, the audience alters its tastes regarding undershirts. In the United States, there was an increased demand for undershirts at the time. The film featured extensive bus travel. At the time, women did not like bus travel and the gender, therefore, maintained low demand for this transport business. Claudette influences the female tastes on bus travel. Subsequently, the gender develops increased demand for the medium of travel. The movie, therefore, highlights increase in demand following change in market tastes and preferences. This corresponds to the demand curve and how it may be shifted.
Cimarron is a 1960 film based on Edna Ferber’s novel of the same title. It is a Western film on the life of a frontier film in the Oklahoma land rush of the 1890s. The economic theme that has been developed through the film is the allocation of valuable resources, devoid of market participation. Non market forces are those operating outside the market system. The film’s characters present such forces, since they acquire land resources devoid of market participation. For example, they do not exchange any economic value for their acquisition of the land. The plot offers a dramatic example of how land can be allocated without involvement of the market. In that respect, there are interesting economic questions that have been put forward. For example, the question of rent seeking is examined through the unfolding events. Similarly, the question of who gets the land is also explored.
Mad Max is a series of films starred by Mel Gibson. In all the films, the economic theme of scarcity has always maintained an underlying role. When Max fails to meet his commitments, the town’s mayor punishes him. In response, Max later destroys the town. This urban center was the only viable economy in the region. By damaging the economy, there is a stinging scarcity of goods that affect the area. In the plot, there are two competing overlords. In that respect, the film explores the role of government in resource contracts. There are questions on how resource should be distributed equitably and efficiently to competing parties.
Waterworld is a 1995 film by Kevin Costner. It focuses on a dystopic version of the planet that has been affected by climate change. In the story, the earth has been covered with water. Many of the world’s resources are extracted from the earth. For example, we depend on fossil fuels for energy and minerals for industrial purposes. Similarly, food is sourced from plants and animals that are reared on the surface. As a result, there is a biting shortage of many commodities and resources. Their corresponding economic value rises even further due to the scarcity. This is attributable to the economic principles related to the demand curve.
Blood Diamond is a 2006 film by Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou. The story revolves around diamonds that are sourced from warlords in Sierra Leone’s civil war days. Due to the scarcity of these commodities, ethical concerns such as human rights are forfeited by the buyers. In that respect, the economic measure of cost-benefit analysis can be applied to this form of trade. The cost of obtaining these goods is the loss of life and other inhumane conditions. Conversely, the benefit is mostly one-sided as the film has portrayed. From the film, the economic question of what standard should be applied in determining costs and benefit emerges. From the film, the question of monopoly within markets is also examined. The plot has demonstrated that De Beers maintains a monopoly of the diamond market through purchasing from all mines in the world. As a result, it has consistent stocks that can sway market demand and supply.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a 2010 film directed by Oliver Stone. The film attempts to track the events behind and following the recession on the global economic system through an assessment of the financial systems. The movie’s plot underlines the notion that financial policy should be less of a governmental activity. There, it is determined by the private sector through banks. This implies that they understand the market better and that the same market should be left to its own means and corrective mechanisms. In the film, an important economic concept is permeated. Gekko’s daughter has a screen that highlights the message ‘privatize the gains and socialize the losses’. This is one of the concepts that have defined financial markets. Government has been used as means for reducing exposure to losses, by speculative parties.
It has been seen that economic concepts and themes have played critical yet underlying roles. They have been used to develop meaning in storylines, with interesting effects. This has been useful in providing economic understandings of various subjects to the public. Similarly, films have been used as media for altering market perceptions of products. As a result, demand for some goods took off following the showing of these films.
McDonald, Adrian H. “Through the Looking Glass: Runaway Productions and” Hollywood Economics”.” bepress Legal Series, (2006): 1830. Print.
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