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Thread: South Park FTW on Economics and Gullible Old People

  1. #1

    Default South Park FTW on Economics and Gullible Old People

    Apparently last night's South Park episode had some great economic insight. Thought I'd share the article with you guys.

    http://hanseconomics.com/2012/03/22/...ark-economics/

    Imagine an entrepreneur really finds out some business venture is making large profits by taking advantage of people. Imagine he is as depraved as Cartman, and he enters the same line of business, what would happen? First, he would drive prices down to compete with the home network. As there is a large discrepancy in the cost and asking price, this would certainly happen. Second, the price of the cheap jewelry would go up as Cartman (and other businesspeople) increase the demand for cheap jewelry. As a result of this arbitrage, the profits the home shopping network makes would disappear.

    Itís unclear if South Park was trying to make this point, but they certainly laid the ground work for it. Stanís dilemma with his grandfather was a family issue with economic repercussions. Imagine the limitations of a government solution: a new law that would take ages to pass and get votes, and months more to implement and enforce. And after all that, Stanís grandpa would still look for a cheap way to buy his grandsonís affections.

    A better solution is the one provided by markets. Let entrepreneurs like Cartman (however disgusting) bid the price of jewelry sold to the old folks down and the cost of the jewelry from India up. This would eliminate the profits. Itís a chilling conclusion, but in their haste to take advantage of people the scumbags stop making windfall profits.



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  3. #2

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    I haven't seen the episode yet, but it wouldn't surprise me if South Park is the only show on TV to get anything right on economics.
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  4. #3

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    lol, the kid who wrote that article studies economics at a city college and has a better understanding of it than most pHDs in economics.
    "He's talkin' to his gut like it's a person!!" -me
    "dumpster diving isn't professional." - angelatc


    "Each of us must choose which course of action we should take: education, conventional political action, or even peaceful civil disobedience to bring about necessary changes. But let it not be said that we did nothing." - Ron Paul

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  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by dannno View Post
    I haven't seen the episode yet, but it wouldn't surprise me if South Park is the only show on TV to get anything right on economics.
    That can't be right. I'll figure a way to refute this. I can't think of one right now though. Oh god... there has to be at least one possible TV show.
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  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Athan View Post
    That can't be right. I'll figure a way to refute this. I can't think of one right now though. Oh god... there has to be at least one possible TV show.
    I was thinking the same, but really can't come up with another TV show that's as economically or politically "savvy" as South Partk

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by eduardo89 View Post
    I was thinking the same, but really can't come up with another TV show that's as economically or politically "savvy" as South Partk
    I don't know, I remember the episode on the bailouts was pretty bad, IIRC the moral of the story was basically that infinite credit can be created without consequence. Trey and Matt definitely seem more like 'Reason' libertarians as opposed to austrians.

    edit: last night's episode was pretty good / brutal toward the Home Shopping Network. The week's before lampooning the TSA was even better.
    Last edited by Schiff_FTW; 03-22-2012 at 01:29 PM.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schiff_FTW View Post
    I don't know, I remember the episode on the bailouts was pretty bad, IIRC the moral of the story was basically that infinite credit can be created without consequence. Trey and Matt definitely seem more like 'Reason' libertarians as opposed to austrians.

    edit: last night's episode was pretty good / brutal toward the Home Shopping Network. The week's before lampooning the TSA was even better.
    They're not perfect, but at least they have their moments. The TSA episode was great.

  9. #8

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    toilet seat authority! that one was better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schiff_FTW View Post
    I don't know, I remember the episode on the bailouts was pretty bad, IIRC the moral of the story was basically that infinite credit can be created without consequence. Trey and Matt definitely seem more like 'Reason' libertarians as opposed to austrians.
    I thought the point was to pay down debt and stop buying stupid stuff, but to not stop buying things entirely because when people stop buying things entirely the division of labor reverses and we end up living in the stone age.

    Everything on the Treasury Department chart was a bad idea:

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  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by enoch150 View Post
    I thought the point was to pay down debt and stop buying stupid stuff, but to not stop buying things entirely because when people stop buying things entirely the division of labor reverses and we end up living in the stone age.

    Everything on the Treasury Department chart was a bad idea:
    Maybe I'm remembering it wrong. I thought the episode ended with Kyle or Stan getting an unlimited credit card somehow and using it to pay off all of the townspeople's foolish purchases. It's been a few years, but at the time the take-away didn't strike me as particularly libertarian (or even fiscally/morally responsible). Same for other overtly political episodes, like the Obama election one.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schiff_FTW View Post
    Maybe I'm remembering it wrong. I thought the episode ended with Kyle or Stan getting an unlimited credit card somehow and using it to pay off all of the townspeople's foolish purchases. It's been a few years, but at the time the take-away didn't strike me as particularly libertarian (or even fiscally/morally responsible). Same for other overtly political episodes, like the Obama election one.

    lol, that part was sort of a satire about Christianity as well, Kyle (a Jew, like Jesus) got the credit card and took on everybody's debt (aka sins). Then he ruined his credit and everybody else was saved and everything could start over.

    I saw that sort of like how Ron Paul says that we need to "liquidate the bad debt".
    "He's talkin' to his gut like it's a person!!" -me
    "dumpster diving isn't professional." - angelatc


    "Each of us must choose which course of action we should take: education, conventional political action, or even peaceful civil disobedience to bring about necessary changes. But let it not be said that we did nothing." - Ron Paul

    "Paul said "the wave of the future" is a coalition of anti-authoritarian progressive Democrats and libertarian Republicans in Congress opposed to domestic surveillance, opposed to starting new wars and in favor of ending the so-called War on Drugs."

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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schiff_FTW View Post
    Maybe I'm remembering it wrong. I thought the episode ended with Kyle or Stan getting an unlimited credit card somehow and using it to pay off all of the townspeople's foolish purchases. It's been a few years, but at the time the take-away didn't strike me as particularly libertarian (or even fiscally/morally responsible). Same for other overtly political episodes, like the Obama election one.
    Yeah, Kyle transferred everyone's debt to him. It was just a way to kind of hit the reset button on the show, not a suggestion for unlimited credit. It also played into the Jesus sacrificing for everyone thing.

    Obama's election made the point that it didn't matter if either Obama or McCain won because they were both basically on the same team and planning on robbing the country blind. Slightly more subtle than the 2004 election which made Kerry and Bush out to be a literal giant douche and a turd sandwich, and, again, making the point that it didn't matter who won.

    South Park has subtly or not so subtly come out in favor of legalized drugs, open borders, and free trade, and against intellectual property laws, the fear based war on terror, hate crimes laws, bailouts (even back in 2001), and various government regulations. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single instance of when they came out in favor of any government law or regulation. And let's face it, whether or not they completely understand economics, only one economic system accounts for the absence of government enforcement. They may have single-handedly created an entire generation of libertarians and probably helped lay the ground work for Ron Paul's campaign.

    My favorite South Park line: "Hell, everything's legal in Mexico. It's the American way." - Uncle Jimbo after Colorado banned fireworks
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  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by enoch150 View Post
    Yeah, Kyle transferred everyone's debt to him. It was just a way to kind of hit the reset button on the show, not a suggestion for unlimited credit. It also played into the Jesus sacrificing for everyone thing.
    Seemed pretty obvious to me that Kyle was a representation of all the young people that will end up footing the bill for all the debt that the past and current generations are racking up, while destroying the young people's future purchasing power ("credit").
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  15. #14

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    Trey Parker and Matt Stone are professed libertarians.

    Quote Originally Posted by enoch150 View Post
    Yeah, Kyle transferred everyone's debt to him. It was just a way to kind of hit the reset button on the show, not a suggestion for unlimited credit. It also played into the Jesus sacrificing for everyone thing.

    Obama's election made the point that it didn't matter if either Obama or McCain won because they were both basically on the same team and planning on robbing the country blind. Slightly more subtle than the 2004 election which made Kerry and Bush out to be a literal giant douche and a turd sandwich, and, again, making the point that it didn't matter who won.

    South Park has subtly or not so subtly come out in favor of legalized drugs, open borders, and free trade, and against intellectual property laws, the fear based war on terror, hate crimes laws, bailouts (even back in 2001), and various government regulations. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single instance of when they came out in favor of any government law or regulation. And let's face it, whether or not they completely understand economics, only one economic system accounts for the absence of government enforcement. They may have single-handedly created an entire generation of libertarians and probably helped lay the ground work for Ron Paul's campaign.

    My favorite South Park line: "Hell, everything's legal in Mexico. It's the American way." - Uncle Jimbo after Colorado banned fireworks

  16. #15

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    I like how this episode illustrates the price of free market, gullible people will waste money. Which is probably a good thing to some people here.

    They tried to show something wrong with how gold is recycled back and forth, when in fact, that's the BEST part of it. Think of all other things you buy which have no recycle value.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schiff_FTW View Post
    I don't know, I remember the episode on the bailouts was pretty bad, IIRC the moral of the story was basically that infinite credit can be created without consequence. Trey and Matt definitely seem more like 'Reason' libertarians as opposed to austrians.

    edit: last night's episode was pretty good / brutal toward the Home Shopping Network. The week's before lampooning the TSA was even better.
    They are not very economically literate so they got help from their uncle who is an economist of the Keynesian persuasion. Don't watch south park for the economics. The social issues can be heart warming... or embarassing depending on who else is in the room. My god do they push boundaries. lol.
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  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schiff_FTW View Post
    I don't know, I remember the episode on the bailouts was pretty bad, IIRC the moral of the story was basically that infinite credit can be created without consequence. Trey and Matt definitely seem more like 'Reason' libertarians as opposed to austrians.

    edit: last night's episode was pretty good / brutal toward the Home Shopping Network. The week's before lampooning the TSA was even better.
    Reason libertarians are not Austrians?

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by onlyrp View Post
    Reason libertarians are not Austrians?
    They can be. Reasonites just tend to be less methodological in their approach to economics than Austrians (granted, Reason is geared more toward a popular audience than theorists).

  20. #19

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    It's a pretty brilliantly done show - I don't think their point is always clear in one episode and many times they'll take multiple points and show the logic and false logic of both sides but what I love about the show is it has at time made me question my opinion on certain topics - that's pretty rare for a TV show - and the fact that it started as this gross out cartoon (and in many ways still is) is pretty incredible.
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  21. #20

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    South Park is about Anti-Authoritarian as you get. They've stood up for big tobacco by addressing how things like smoking bans are a form of fascism. They've stood up for big business and though they definitely have a tongue cheek way of supporting the LGBT community, they had an episode where Big Gay Al basically explained that it was okay for the Boy Scouts to not allow gays be scout leaders (even though they probably didn't take notice that the scouts aren't completely a privately funded organization...but the point was very libertarian in message).

    As Penn Jillette said, the creators are some of the most moral people out there with their triumphant stances on freedom of speech and association. As well as individuals making decisions without interference from the nanny state.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky201 View Post
    They've stood up for big business and though they definitely have a tongue cheek way of supporting the LGBT community, they had an episode where Big Gay Al basically explained that it was okay for the Boy Scouts to not allow gays be scout leaders (even though they probably didn't take notice that the scouts aren't completely a privately funded organization...but the point was very libertarian in message).
    Maybe that issue was related to the news stories about how the Boy Scouts gets welfare as it is allowed to rent out government land for free.
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  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky201 View Post
    South Park is about Anti-Authoritarian as you get. They've stood up for big tobacco by addressing how things like smoking bans are a form of fascism.
    http://www.southparkstudios.com/full...07e13-butt-out

    funny episode

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Athan View Post
    That can't be right. I'll figure a way to refute this. I can't think of one right now though. Oh god... there has to be at least one possible TV show.
    Breaking Bad...supply and demand at work.

    South Park is a real gem; although, it has gone down in quality in the past few years imho.
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  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaAla View Post
    Breaking Bad...supply and demand at work.

    South Park is a real gem; although, it has gone down in quality in the past few years imho.
    They used to be more about lampooning celebs and pop culture. Now the show is somehwat more big picture, politically oriented. I can't even remember the last episode that a celeb was skewered.
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