Guest post from J. Brian O’Roark, University Professor of Economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh and author of Why Superman Doesn’t Take Over the World.
“Why are they fighting? Aren’t they supposed to be friends?” My wife and I were watching television when a commercial trumpeting the coming of the movie Batman vs. Superman appeared. She was understandably confused. My first instinct was to launch into an in depth dissertation on the comic origins of the battle between DC Comics’ oldest and most renowned heroes. But her question, innocent though it was, resonated at a deeper level.
As an economist, I am supposed to be able to explain things like unemployment, inflation and the future of Bitcoin, but more fundamentally I should be able to offer some insight into the behaviors of people – even if those people are wearing capes and spandex. I think my wife was happy that her question left me speechless, having no desire to hear about the intricacies of what prompts two men in tights to want to mash each other, but her query needed an answer. As it turns out, the question was perfectly situated for an economist who always wanted to be a superhero.(more…)