Archives for posts with tag: Zombies

My research is on financial stability, but I like to dabble on the economics of fictional stories every once in a while. This is too good not to share.

First, let me tell you that I do think there are much more important subjects to be using your time and energy on than reflecting on hypotheticals in the fantasy world of horror flick monsters.  Still, we’re allowed to have a little fun every once in a while, especially on Halloween, right?

With that in mind, those that know me well know that I both REALLY like economics, and I REALLY like zombies, among other silly things. So when LearnLiberty publishes something like this video it makes me really, really happy. I tried the genre once, too.

Even thought it is fun and awesome to have something mixing zombies and economics, I’m not convinced by the analysis in the video. What I like about zombie fiction is the alternative institutional arrangements that authors come up with precisely because of the breakdown of traditional institutions to support exchange and peaceful cooperation. What is interesting is precisely that there is no more room for money to emerge, and no more room for anything even resembling a market price. It is not whether bullets or shovels will become the new currency. How do you trade and cooperate with one another when there is no significant rule of law left? How do you enforce contracts? What happens to cooperation when your temporal horizon becomes dramatically uncertain?

Anthony Davies asks the question, but cannot answer, of whether zombies face decreasing marginal utility. Of course not! The lights are on but nobody’s home for zombies. They don’t feel needs, they are never satisfied, and know no fear. They are moved only by stimuli and reflex. That is precisely what is scary about them; what happens to traditional defense techniques, strategies and weapons when there is no such thing as dissuasion? What happens when your opponents have perfectly inelastic demand for feasting on your guts? How do zombie apocalypse entrepreneurs solve all of these challenges?

I can’t wait for this project to come out, and hopefully answer some of those questions.

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