Bellerbys Economics - Mr Stephenson

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Let's All Go to the Lobby!!

There are some great Economics movies around at the moment. When you start getting withdrawal symptoms during the holidays, you might like to go and see one of these - or perhaps get them on DVD - but don't take your boyfriend to the cinema with you - he may distract you from the Economics in the movie - with that strange grunting sound he makes when eating popcorn.

Whilst you are doing this, you may also think about the Economics behind the movie industry - a world oligopoly centred around Hollywood, Bollywood and Hong Kong - but in reality what we have is three local area monopolies - the West, South Asia and East Asia.

Also, each of these industries has an oligopoly within them. In the west, for example, there's Universal Studios, Sony Columbia, Fox and Disney Touchstone.

A policy of 'crowding out' is deliberately pursued by these big studios. As well as the big blockbuster movies they make which generate mega-profits, they also deliberately make dozens of cheap thrillers, comedies etc simply to dominate screentime around their region - thus preventing local movie industries such as in France and Spain - or even small independents in the states - from being able to grow and develop.

But now the movies:

"Syriana" stars George Clooney and is a gripping thriller which looks at the dark side of the oil industry
"The Constant Gardener" stars the fragrant Rachel Weicsz and is about how the big pharmaceutical companies test their products in developing countries like Kenya
"The Corporation" is a documentary which looks at the psychology of multinational companies
"Outfoxed" is a documentary about how the media multinationals exert their influence over the market for news
"Super Size Me" is a documentary about McDonalds and externalities
"V for Vendetta" is about how a dangerous mixture of nationalism, racism, Christian fundamentalism, big business and marketing style (spin-doctoring) is creating a dominant class in American and British society. It also stars Natalie Portman and the special effects are good - but the graphic novel was even better!

Older movies worth looking out for are 'The Insider' with Russel Crowe about the tobacco industry and another Russell Crowe film, 'A Beautiful Mind' about the creator of Game Theory - John Nash.


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