Nov 2, 2011

What Horror Movies Can Teach Economic Policy Makers

From a very fun and interesting piece in the WSJ:
Horror movies are about confronting adversity and tackling problems. Because of that, they offer some broad, light-hearted yet serious lessons for economic policymakers trying to negotiate the best economic outcomes for their national economies and a novel lens through which to understand the broad sweep of economic history. I think there are four key lessons seasoned veterans of the horror genre can offer economic policymakers wrestling with challenging economic problems.
First, don’t be fooled by the slow, sleepy first half hour . . . 
Everyone knows who dies first in horror movies; the hard partying, hedonistic teens out purely for a good time . . .
The bogeyman is rarely stopped with conventional weapons; usually only elaborate and imaginative forms of defence put an end to his murderous rampage and it often takes several attempts . . .
Speaking of which, just as we should never be lulled into a false sense of security by the initial phases of horror movies, the end of the movie is rarely the conclusion of the story . . . Never assume that we are going to live happily ever after; the evil always comes back and presents new and different challenges . . . 
Eeach of these lessons has its economic counterpart. 
Given the economic circumstances, or prabably in any circumstances, Hollywood is not enough and economists policy makers should also see a good bunch of independent movies to try to figure out what to do and what not to do. Although very often independent movie are as harsh as reality, and therefore their distractive function can be limited -- the psicological elementes can play a very important role. 
The article concluedes:
Now, I am not suggesting that the Professors at Yale or Harvard should pack away their mathematical diagrams and replace them with monster masks and machetes. But as we worry about major challenges this Halloween, we should keep in mind that we can learn serious lessons about very sobering issues from the most unlikely sources. Perhaps our language itself gives a clue as to the connection. To avoid the spectre of economic gloomand give ourselves the ghost of a chance of eternal prosperity, we need to stay alert andspirited.

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