Fat Cats, Bigga Fish - The Coup
JEL: a d h
Mr. Coke said to Mr. Mayor, "You know we got a process like Ice T's hair.
We put up the fund for your election campaign
And, oh um, waiter can you bring the champagne.
Our real estate firms said opportunities arousing
To make some condos out of low-income housing
Immediately we need some media heat
To say that gangs run the street and then we bring in the police
Harrasing everybody till they look inebriated
When we buy the land mother****** will appreciate it
Dont worry about the Urban League or Jesse Jackson
My man that owns Marlboros
Donated a fat sum"
The song "Fat Cats, Bigga Fish" is about hustling. The rapper Boots thinks he is a hustler, but quickly realizes that he is the one being hustled in the game of life. From a public choice perspective, does the story Boots tells about Mr. Coke and Mr. Mayor's conversation sound compelling? Why does Mr. Mayor care about Mr. Coke's plans since the campaign donations do not directly go into his pocket? Do you think campaign finance reform will solve this type of problem? Why or why not?
Hole In The Bucket - Spearhead
JEL: a i
The day is pickin' up cause I'm hummin' his song
the buses and the people all keep movin' along
to the shopkeeper I say "was'sup?"
and I'm thinkin' about the man who's holdin' up the cup
I pay for all the stuff and get a pocketful of change
should I give it to the man's the question in my brain
What's gonna happen if I give the man a dime?
I don't wanna pay for anotha brotha's wine
What's gonna happen if I give the man a quarter?
will he find a dealer and try to place an order?
what's gonna happen if I give the man a nickel
will he buy some food or some pork that's been pickled?
I'm not responsible for the man's depression
how can I find compassion in the midst of recession?
In the basic theory of consumer demand, an individual tries to maximize their utility subject to their budget constraint. Increases in income or wealth thus allow individuals to move to a higher indifference curve and a higher level of utility. In the song, Spearhead wants to help the panhandler by increasing his budget constraint, but is concerned about what is in the man's utility function. How could Spearhead structure his giving so as to alleviate his concerns? Is an alternative form of giving likely to increase the panhandler's utility as much as cash?
My Summer Vacation - Ice Cube
JEL: k l
Damn G, the spot's gettin hot
So how the f*** am I supposed to make a knot?
Police looking at n***** through a microscope
In L.A. everybody and they momma sell dope
They trying to stop it
So what the f*** can I do to make a profit?
Catch a flight to St. Louis
That's cool, cause nobody knew us
In “My Summer Vacation,” Ice Cube describes selling drugs in St. Louis. Why were financial profits so much higher in St. Louis in the short-run than in Los Angeles? What happened to the profitability (loosely defined) of this activity in the long-run? Does the illegality of the market change anything about the incentives to enter and the required profit rates needed to stay in business?
The Wacky World of Mass Transit - Del tha Funkee Homosapien
JEL: a d
When oh when is the bus gonna reach its destination
Question over space and time
Word up, I can't take this line of nitwits
I'm about to have a fit quick
'Cause this trip here is making me car sick
Check out the brother with the loaded .38
Braggin' to his buddies about the money that he makes
Sellin' crack viles like pancakes
To baseheads just like the one
That's sittin by the window starvin' for a fix
He spent his last 80 cents on fare
He raises up and lets me get in his chair
Then I sit and take a snooze
But I still lose
'Cause I cruise right past my stop
Had to get off and walk 15 blocks. . .
A good economist, to paraphrase Bastiat, observes both the seen and the unseen. On its face, a bus ride costs only 80 cents. What costs are unseen? Illustrate with examples from the song.
The Way It Is / Changes - Bruce Hornsby / Tupac Shakur
JEL: a d l
The Way It Is (1986) – Bruce Hornsby
They say hey little boy you can't go
Where the others go
'Cause you don't look like they do
Said hey old man how can you stand
To think that way
Did you really think about it
Before you made the rules
He said, Son
That's just the way it is
Some things will never change
That's just the way it is
But don't you believe them
and the remake, Changes by Tupac Shakur (1999)
Come on come on
I see no changes. Wake up in the morning and I ask myself,
"Is life worth living? Should I blast myself?"
I'm tired of bein' poor and even worse I'm black.
My stomach hurts, so I'm lookin' for a purse to snatch.
Cops give a damn about a negro? Pull the trigger, kill a nigga, he's a hero.
Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares? One less hungry mouth on the welfare.
First ship 'em dope & let 'em deal the brothers.
Give 'em guns, step back, and watch 'em kill each other.
"It's time to fight back", that's what Huey said.
2 shots in the dark now Huey's dead.
I got love for my brother, but we can never go nowhere
unless we share with each other. We gotta start makin' changes.
Learn to see me as a brother 'stead of 2 distant strangers.
And that's how it's supposed to be.
How can the Devil take a brother if he's close to me?
I'd love to go back to when we played as kids,
but things change, and that's the way it is.
Bruce Hornsby’s original lyrics point to discrimination as a fact of life. Tupac added his own take on the issue of discrimination when he made the claim that “the way it is” forces black society to make poor choices just to survive. How do markets combat discrimination? Do markets reward businesses that discriminate or are they penalized? What happens to the profits of a business if it decides not to hire a qualified worker based on their race?