The Basics of Capitalism

Leslie is hoping to obtain a piece of land for free so she can turn it into a park. Ron taunts Leslie about her $0 bid for the land because typically people expect money in exchange for goods and services. This can be a good illustration of the medium of exchange function of money, but can also lead to a deeper discussion of externalities.

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Growth in Pawnee

Leslie tries obtaining a large parcel of local land to build a park in honor of the history of Pawnee. When the group arrives at JJ’s Diner, they learn that the diner will be shutting down because of a new owner. Leslie discusses the growth that Pawnee has been experiencing, but laments the loss of some of Pawnee’s charm.

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Newport National Park

Leslie tries to convince Jessica Newport to donate the Newport land to the national Park Service by reminding her that the Newport name has not always been associated with positive things. For instance when their hot fudge pipe exploded and the hot fudge flowed into the lake making the fish taste delicious. Negative externality or positive externality, you be the judge.

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Leslie Will Never Retire

The Newports have decided to sell a large parcel of land and Leslie believes this is the opportunity of a lifetime where she can make a name for herself. She briefly considers the option of retiring, but then explains that she wants to work until she is a hundred and then cut back to 4 days a week. This is a fun clip to illustrate labor force participation decisions and different preferences.

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European Socialism

Leslie is upset after a recent speech she gave in London, but Ron is there to help. Ron invites Leslie outside for a pep talk so she can get some fresh air. As a staunch libertarian, Ron isn’t too fond of the foul stench of European Socialism. Ron is not a big fan of his trip to London and has trouble adjusting to the differences between the two countries.

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Pie-Mary and Gender Roles

A Southern Indiana tradition revolves around political candidates’ wives baking pies in a contest known as the Pie-Mary. Leslie has decided to skip the Pie-Mary contest so she can help Ben with his campaign, but it’s turned into a big ordeal. She ties to change her mind and enter the Pie-Mary, but that angers another group of people. Regardless of her decision, someone is upset and it distracts from Ben’s campaign. Leslie and Ben finish the episode with a press conference where Leslie points out that people should be allowed to do whatever the wish. Socially defined gender roles like the ones portrayed in the episode highlight some of the issues facing women in the labor market.

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Types of Talks

It’s time for some shop talk as Leslie and Ben sit down with Ben’s campaign manager to discuss their strategy going forward in Ben’s election. Leslie takes a brief moment to note that shop talk is one of her favorite types of talk and then goes on to list the other types. This is a cute (and quick) introduction to the concept of product differentiation, where companies sell similar products with different attributes. Product differentiation can allow a company to charge higher prices for their products if people perceive value in the differentiation.

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