This Professor Slays Zombies with Economics (and Guns)

Release Date
October 31, 2013

Topic

Basic Economics
Description

Presumably you’ve already made plans for surviving a zombie apocalypse. You have detailed escape routes, stockpiled weapons made for killing zombies, stores of food . . . or at least plans for these things. But have you thought through the important economic factors that might make the difference between surviving and losing your brain to one of the walking dead? If uncertainty about how market prices and currency changes might affect your odds in a zombie-dominated society has been keeping you up at night, fear not. In this video, Prof. Antony Davies provides a crash course in how a zombie apocalypse is likely to affect the economy. Hint: sell your designer shoes now while you can. And buy bullets.

Yeah, so how can economics help you prepare for the zombie apocalypse? As the zombies start to eat people, the supply of brains declines, presuming that zombies can eat brains faster than humans can reproduce them.
What kills zombies? You shoot them in the head, right? So, shooting them in the head, so immediately, the price of bullets goes up. So, what becomes your currency? Actually, probably, I bet you bullets themselves become the currency. Now that’s interesting, because the bullets are the new currency, but you use them to kill the zombies, which means that you’ve got this ever declining quantity of the money supply, which leads to deflation?
My guess is the market value of gasoline goes up significantly because there are cars out there, but you need to drive them to get away from the zombies, but you need gasoline to do that. Also you can light the gasoline on fire and burn the zombies. I don’t know if that kills zombies or not, but it may certainly make you feel better.
Do zombies experience declining marginal utility? [Sigh.]
What else? The market price of food is going to go up significantly. Probably farm implements, like shovels, because you can dig in the ground to plant food and you can also beat the zombie with it if it’s coming after you.
Oh, designer shoes? Market price goes down a lot. Combat boots? Market price goes up a lot. Medical care? Now, does the market price of medical care go up or down? This is interesting. It depends, perhaps, on whether the zombies are eating the medical doctors faster than the rest of the population proportionally.
One of the things you want to do in a zombie apocalypse is make sure that you weld steel plates to your vehicle. So immediately that tells me there’s going to be this niche market, this new industry of people who understand, (a) how to weld steel plates onto cars, and (b) how to weld them in the proper configuration to maximize your security.
Of course the zombies aren’t paying for the brains in money, but they are paying for them in time and effort and shambling about after people who have these brains. So I could see, if the price rises far enough, the zombies end up evolving into vegetarians because there’s no more, or they shift to other things like to rabbit brains or to something else. I don’t know, but economics gives us lots of things to think about when it comes to zombie apocalypse.