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Scarcity and Choice

Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational, explains how the tradeoff of low pain for a long time versus high pain for a short time led him to the study of economics. Ariely is one of the main proponents of behavioral economics, the argument that people are systematically irrational. What is the tradeoff he faced? How does he deal with a question of what it is that people prefer?

This commercial for Fed Ex makes reference to the movie Cast Away in which a Fed Ex executive is marooned on an island for five years, a modern take on the Robinson Cursoe story. In the movie the survivor opened all but one of the packages, and delivered that one. What was the cost of not opening the package in the commercial? What makes this commercial humorous?

A traditional explanation of scarcity and choice with some cute drawings.


What is post-scarcity economy and how do a computer game and 3D printing help illustrate the concept?

How to Study Economics

This is the introductory video of a series. If you want an excellent "talking-head" set of economic videos with funny commentary, check out the rest of what she offers. What is the significance of the title, "Economists do it with models?"

These links were checked on December 4, 2013.
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Copyright Robert Schenk