Fear the Boom and Bust introduces the rivalry with John Maynard Keynes, the superstar, dragging the under-appreciated F.A. Hayek to a party the night before their presentation. In the first half of the rap, Keynes presents his economic model as the uptight Hayek looks on and is somewhat ignored. Hayek presents his response, which segues to the next morning with Keynes hung over from his economic binge.
Fight of the Century picks up with "round 2". Shots interchange between a Congressional hearing and a boxing match, both pitting Keynes and Hayek as adversaries. Hayek seems to win the boxing match but Keynes, presumably the reigning champion, is helped up by the referee and declared the winner.
More recently they began a series called Econpop which uses movies and television to discuss economics.
Econpop episodes so far:
- The LEGO Movie: Used to discuss the consequences of the private and public sectors working together.
- Ghostbusters (1984): Used to discuss regulation of private business.
- WALLE: Used to discuss public versus private management of scarce resources and the tragedy of the commons.
- House of Cards (US): Used to discuss corruption in politics.
- Dallas Buyers Club
- Elysium: Used to discuss income inequality and innovation.
- Artistic License Economics: Downplayed, but the second video shows Hayek winning the brawl but then losing popularity with the general public.
- Author Tract: Not as much in the first video, but the second video makes it very clear they side with Hayek.
- Badass Boast:
- Keynes and Hayek each get one.Keynes: Say it loud and say it proud. We're all Keynesians now.
Hayek: Prepare to get schooled in my Austrian perspective.
- Keynes again in Round Two.Keynes: That's why I'm the master, that's why I'm the hero!
- Keynes and Hayek each get one.
- Battle Rapping: The two Fear the Boom and Bust videos.
- Boring, but Practical: Where Keynes lays out his model in digestible soundbites, Hayek has more trouble with this. In the first video, he's the designated driver while Keynes is the life of the party and the next morning, Keynes is stuck in bed hung over while Hayek is up, dressed and ready for business.
- Cool Versus Awesome: Government spending versus setting markets free debates doesn't seem to be epic until you listen to the music.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Hayek invokes this image in "Fight of the Century" with a bunch of fat businessmen in suits, smoking cigars and waving wads of cash around. The implicit argument is that government intervention won't work because the combination of politics and business mean government spending to business just ends up lining top-level pockets.
- Friendly Enemy: Keynes and Hayek, despite being on the opposite sides of economics, go to parties with each other and even exchange gifts (albeit a T-shirt with Hayek's face on it). Hayek even calls Keynes "my friend" in both of his beginning verses in the two rap battles.
- Gambit Roulette: In the second video, Keynes keeps using metaphors related to fixing machines. Hayek counters that there is no machine.Hayek:The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design
- Hair of the Dog: One way of how Hayek dismisses Keynesian approaches to economic downturns. "Your solution to bubble busts that came about because of government interference is more government interference via spending?"
- I Am the Trope: Keynes is the agenda.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Learning economics has never been as epic as this.
- No Fame, No Wealth, No Service: In both videos' pre-rap scenes, Keynes and Hayek both enter some establishment. Both times, Keynes is treated like a celebrity while Hayek is not recognized (the second one takes it further by having Hayek explain to a security guard how to pronounce his name like "high explosives" — he gets a cavity search for that). It mirrors the almost celebrity-like status of Keynesian models and approaches in academics and public discourse compared to the Austrian school of thought.
- Strawman Political: Keynes is mainly there to be effortlessly smacked down by Hayek (albeit moreso in the second rap battle than the first).
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hayek and Keynes go back and forth. Whether it's Keynes being cool about government spending and Hayek trying to loudly discredit it or Keynes being the life of the party and Hayek being the back seat driver.