The Economics of The Hunger Games and Divergent: Making Dystopia Didactic Jeffrey Cleveland, Howard Community College (MD) Kim Holder, University of West Georgia Brian ORoark, Robert Morris University (PA) NETA 11th Annual Economics Teaching Conference Dallas, Texas November 5-6, 2015 Agenda About my classroom Background: The Hunger Games and Divergent
Macro- and microeconomic lessons The assignment results Got a question? Ask anytime. 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 2 About Howard County, Maryland Baltimore Centrally located between Baltimore and Washington, DC Washington, DC
Population: 310,000 (5% of MD) Median HH income: $109,865 (second in U.S.) #6 Best Places to Live, MONEY Magazine Howard Community College 14,000 credit students Great College to Work For, 2009-2014, Chronicle of Higher Education You Can Get There From Here. 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 3 Classroom Demographics Both intro to macro and micro 22-26 students
40 +; 15.00% Females; 37.30% up to 24; 50.00% Males; 62.70% 25 to 39; 35.00% 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland
4 Economics: What WE Think Price S Ep = $4 $3 PV = F / (1 + i)n D2
Y = C(Y - T) + I + G + NX 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 5 Economics: What THEY Think What have I gotten myself into?! 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 6 You Can Get There From Here Abstract Theory
Real Life (Meaningful Use) 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 7 The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins 2008, Scholastic Press First book in trilogy Initially positioned as Young Adult Fiction Print + digital: 28M HG/65M
trilogy Four-movie franchise, $2B Numerous awards First-person protagonist 16year-old Katniss Everdeen 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 8 The Hunger Games: Plot Overview Panem, a post-apocalyptic North America
The Capitol and 13 surrounding Districts The Capitol: Seat of power, wealth, and control Each district assigned specific production function (District 12: coal) 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 9 Map of Panem Grain Transportation
2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 10 The Hunger Games Backstory Uprising 74 years ago by the Districts against the Capitol Capitol emerged victorious, destroying District 13 in the process 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 11 The Hunger Games Backstory
War, terrible war. Widows, orphans, a motherless child. This was the uprising that rocked our land. Thirteen districts rebelled against the country that fed them, loved them, protected them. Brother turned on brother until nothing remained. And then came the peace, hard fought, sorely won. A people rose up from the ashes and a new era was born. But freedom has a cost. When the traitors were defeated, we swore as a nation we would never know this treason again. And so it was decreed that, each year, the various districts of Panem would offer up, in tribute, one young man and woman to fight to the death in a pageant of honor, courage and sacrifice. The lone victor, bathed in riches, would serve as a reminder of our generosity and our forgiveness. This is how we remember our past. This is how we safeguard our future. President Coriolanus Snow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgEJyn69cw4
2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 12 The Treaty of the Treason In penance for their uprising, each District shall offer up a male and female (Tributes) between the ages of 12 and 18 at a public Reaping. These Tributes shall be delivered to the custody of the Capitol, then transferred to a public arena where they will Fight to the Death until a lone victor remains. Henceforth and forevermore this pageant shall be known as the Hunger Games.
2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 13 1. Identifying the Economic Organization Gregory and Stuart (1999) Decision-making structure Centralized multitude of economic actors Coordination and dissemination of information Planning document
pricing mechanism Property ownership and rights State common/co-op private Incentives Fear self-interest 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland
14 1. Identifying the Economic Organization Capitol controls ALL economic decisions Monopsony; no inter-district trade Absolute or comparative advantage? Information Plan quotas enforced through Peacekeepers Property ownership Capitol owns all factors of production Incentives
Fear: the Reaping 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 15 2. Production: Possibilities and Frontiers Two-sector specific-factors model C1 Guns A1 C2
A2 B1 A3 B2 B3 A4 Roses 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 16
2. Production: Possibilities and Frontiers 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 17 2. Production: Possibilities and Frontiers 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 18 2. Production:
Possibilities and Frontiers 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 19 2. Production: Possibilities and Frontiers 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 20 2. Production: Possibilities and Frontiers
2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 21 2. Production: Possibilities and Frontiers 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 22 2. Production: Possibilities and Frontiers
2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 23 2. Production: Possibilities and Frontiers 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 24 3. GDP and Standards of Living Defining economic activity and output GDP per capita as a proxy for standard of living Real-world comparative economics
Country GDP (B) GDP/capita Haiti Country GDP (B) Canada GDP/capita
$44,967 $1,785 USA $17,348 Mexico $54,370 $17,950 $1,291 $1,757 $9 DR
$14,014 $64 2014 GDP and GDP/capita PPP (Source: IMF) 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland Country GDP (B) N. Korea GDP/capita $1,800
$15 S. Korea $1,667 $35,379 25 3. GDP and Standards of Living Advantage: Capitol Access to/control of technology enablers Standing military force Exploitation through resource extraction Political control through economic dominance and restrictions
2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 26 3. GDP and Standards of Living
NO free trade NO labor mobility NO inter-district travel or communication NO capital formation or investment NO private property or ownership rights NO opportunity for entrepreneurship or innovation NO ability to pursue self-interests NO ability to enter into non-coerced contracts NO pursuit of the profit motive 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 27 3. GDP and Standards of Living
Drivers of economic growth Free trade Unrestricted travel and communication Mobility of labor and capital Private property ownership and rights Consumer sovereignty Entrepreneurship
Pursuit of self interests and the profit motive Could the citizens of the Capitol have even higher standards of living today? Do dystopian leaders care about the standards of living of their citizens? 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 28 4. Distribution of Income
2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 29 4. Distribution of Income 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 30 5. Game Theory and the Taking of Tesserae Reaping Rules All 12- to 18-year-olds
Cumulative entries over time 12-year old = one lottery entry 13-year-old = two entries 18-year-old = seven entries One boy, one girl from each of 12 districts Tesserae A year's meager supply of grain and oil for one person Limited to the total number of family members Also cumulative entries over time (18-year-old) + (total family size = 5) + (tesserae each year) = 42 entries https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s7qgNMqDJI 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland
31 5. Game Theory and the Taking of Tesserae 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 32 6. A Special Case: Food as a Veblen Good? 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 33
6. A Special Case: Food as a Veblen Good? 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 34 6. A Special Case: Food as a Veblen Good? 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 35
Divergent: One Choice Decides your friends Defines your beliefs Determines your loyalties forever Can transform you A lifetime of opportunity costs at the Choosing Ceremony: On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote
the rest of their lives. Divergent: Division of Labor The Factions are responsible for different things to help the society function. Compassion/ Governance Truth??? Food Law/ Technology
Protection Divergent: Its All About Scarcity Who controls the resources? Abnegation does, but Erudite wants them. Erudites claims: Abnegation is withholding resources. They are giving the Factionless too much. Divergent: Production
There is a need for labor to create prosperity As Dauntless/Erudite begins their takeover, they cant kill EVERYONE. Human capital and technology The Factionless want to destroy data. To deprive Erudite of power they need to deprive them of knowledge. Sustainable production Amity is a perfect example This is a general theme of dystopian production. The Hunger Games: The Assignment 1,500 word paper on various economic ideas
Worth 15% of final grade Structure Introduction/thesis Critical thinking on key economic ideas Conclusion/synthesis of thesis and thinking Grading criteria Spelling, grammar, and organization Clarity of the summary Economic analysis
Timeliness 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 40 Paper Grades and Final Grades n = 153 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 41 Student Observations Through the use of properly implemented fiscal and monetary
policy by the government, the nation of Panem could enjoy drastically higher standards of living than those that are currently present among the lower districts, and improve the general measure of standard of living (Gross Domestic Product per capita) for the nation of Panem as a whole. - Griffin Collins shows that as long as this inefficient economic structure is in place, the odds will never be in their favor. - Nicole 2015 Jeffrey Cleveland 42 The Economics of The Hunger Games and Divergent:
Making Dystopia Didactic Jeffrey Cleveland, Howard Community College (MD) Kim Holder, University of West Georgia Brian ORoark, Robert Morris University (PA) NETA 11th Annual Economics Teaching Conference Dallas, Texas November 5-6, 2015
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