The Power of Markets
Use specially-selected segments from John Stossel's television program and specials to explain economic concepts in your high school or college classroom. John Stossel's engaging approach will inspire interest in your students and liven up the discussion in your classroom.
This 80-minute DVD (our newest Economics DVD, released 2014) provides a set of 16 video clips from John Stossel's most recent shows. The clips are grouped into five main categories and focus on microeconomic concepts. The entire set compares and contrasts resource allocation based on market decisions with the actual effects on allocation caused by government regulation of the market. While much regulation and market interference might be made with good intentions, the actual outcomes should be used to determine the merits of that regulation. This DVD program will enhance your coverage of basic concepts and empower your students to think more critically. The DVD includes:
- 16 video segments with English and Spanish subtitles (2-8 minutes each)
- A comprehensive Instructor's Manual (63+ pages, English and Spanish versions)
- Test bank of multiple-choice questions (English and Spanish versions)
- A Slide Show presentation to enhance your classroom presentation (English only)
For each of the 16 video segments, the Instructor's Guide provides a list of the concepts covered, lesson objectives, a brief description of the video, a preview question to help you introduce the clip in an exciting manner, discussion and analysis questions, and an extension activity.
The video segments are divided into five sections:
PART 1: THE ROLE OF MARKETS
1. The Fairness of Market Outcomes
John Tomasi compares two types of societies. The first has income disparities that are small, because it focuses on income redistribution. The second focuses on market distribution and allows for greater income disparities. He argues that the second one grows faster and creates more wealth so that the poor people become better off. Over time, the second produces outcomes that are fairer, especially for the poor, than the first.
2. How Market Forces Temper Greed
Competition tempers greed by offering consumers choices about where to buy. If one seller raises prices, consumers will switch to relatively cheaper alternatives. Markets temper greed by encouraging people to cooperate to earn money. John uses the example of a steak getting to New York through the cooperation of thousands of people. Although each person is really only looking out for his or her own paycheck, they must work together in order to actually earn their pay.
3. Debunking Common Economic Myths
Along with Art Carden, John debunks several economic myths: the U.S. should produce all of its own goods, overpopulation causes poverty, and the world is running out of oil. Using data and economic thinking, these claims are shown to be false.
PART 2: ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND CREATIVE DESTRUCTION
4. The Role of Venture Capital in Creating New Products
Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller, directors of the film Something Ventured, describe the role venture capital plays in creating new companies and products. They use the example of the video game Pong to illustrate how hard it can be to create a product that people later take for granted. Many companies that are large today were only able to grow from the money obtained from venture capitalists.
5. Debating the Role of Greed
Don Boudreaux and Sally Kohn debate the role of greed and self-interest in economic decision-making and the role of government to minimize the effects of greed. Boudreaux contends that property rights and markets will better serve the public interest and minimize greed while Kohn argues that government needs to play a vital role. They use cakes to illustrate their points.
6. Creative Destruction in Media
Glenn Beck discusses his new Internet service GBTV and uses the example of how the "Internet eats TV" to describe the process of creative destruction. Combined with new Internet technology, cameras and studio equipment are less expensive and better today, allowing online programming to replace traditional television.
PART 3: INTERFERING WITH MARKETS
7. Price Gouging Isn't So Bad
Thirty-one states enforce “price gouging” laws, which restrict the amount sellers can increase prices after a natural disaster. Art Carden suggests these laws interfere with market signals, distort resource allocation, and actually harm the people they are supposed to help. By artificially holding prices down, the incentives to produce and bring those items to the people who need them are also lowered.
8. Efficiency of Private Sector Versus Government
Goods and services produced by government agencies cost more and aren't as good as those same goods and services offered by private sector businesses. Former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels uses the example of a toll road to illustrate the differences in incentives and outcomes to compare government to private production.
9. Natural Disasters, Government Stimulus, and Economic Growth
Some people claim that natural disasters such as hurricanes "are not harmful to the economy because there's so much extra work involved in reconstruction." John dispels that myth by interviewing Sallie James and David Henderson, who point out that the money spent on reconstruction could have been spent on producing a new item instead of replacing an existing item. The same principle applies to government stimulus spending. While government spending does create new items, the taxes used to produce those items could have been directed at other activities to create wealth. With either reconstruction or government stimulus, the spending only redistributes jobs and production; it doesn’t create them.
PART 4: COSTS OF REGULATION AND FRAUD
10. Shortcomings of Financial Regulation
Cliff Asness from AQR Capital Management argues that many regulations don't actually achieve the objectives they're supposed to meet. He specifically addresses the Dodd-Frank financial regulations that were passed after the financial crisis of 2008-09.
11. Causes and Consequences of Taxi Licenses
John talks with Walter Williams about the reasons why cities impose taxi licenses and the effects they have on taxi ownership by African Americans. Instead of an example of unintended consequences, Williams argues that the consequences are intended by the politicians who create the license requirements. The cost to own a taxicab is much higher, which keeps out potential new owners.
12. The Actual Effects of the Minimum Wage
Walter Williams explains why the welfare state in general and the minimum wage in particular are largely responsible for income and unemployment disparities among racial groups. The intentions behind the minimum wage are good, but the actual effects have been devastating for some groups.
13. Exposing Disability Cheaters
Paul Colbert, CEO of Meridian Investigative Group, exposes several people cheating on their disability claims. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 25 percent of disability claims are bogus, while Colbert's company finds nearly 80 percent of their investigations reveal some kind of fraud. This fraud costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year in unwarranted beneficiary payments.
PART 5: EFFECTS OF GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS
14. What Would Happen If Welfare Ended?
Tom Palmer discusses the major points of his book, After the Welfare State. Tom predicts that current welfare programs will end and describes potential replacements for those programs. He argues that organizations similar to associations that were prevalent prior to 1930 will replace government welfare and do a better job of helping people.
15. Government Reforms in Puerto Rico
Luis Fortuño, Governor of Puerto Rico, was elected at a time when one out of three workers was on the government payroll and the commonwealth didn't have enough money to fund the first payroll checks of the year. He discusses the measures he took to implement government reforms in order to be more fiscally responsible. He reduced spending, lowered tax rates, reduced regulations, and laid off thousands of government workers.
16. Pork Barrel Spending Sprees
John documents several dubious government spending programs on projects such as blowing up beaver dams in Mississippi, removing tree snakes in Guam, studies of immune systems in shrimp, and a cowboy poetry festival. This kind of government spending benefits a small group of people at the expense of a wide group of taxpayers.