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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Garage Sale

The Parks Department is holding a garage sale to help raise funds for Jerry’s medical bills. The scene starts with April and Andy trying to decide the appropriate price for a hat that has sentimental value for Andy. Later, Tom tries selling a coat he had paid $150 dollars for. Tom marks the coat up to $200 because he put a scorpion on the back of it, but the customer doesn’t seem to think that’s an appropriate price for this venue.

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Ann’s Boyfriend Boxes

Every time Ann starts dating someone new, her preferences shift and she starts buying items that match the preferences of her partner. For Chris, she started buying a lot of workout equipment, for Andy it was a grunge phase, and for Tom it was purchasing a lot of unnecessary items. The demand for various items in a market can shift when consumer preferences change, and for Ann that occurs when she has a new boyfriend.

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Tom Knows Incentives

Tom needs help learning about basketball so that he can connect with the customers at his store. He believes Ben and Andy can help him since they’re good with numbers and athletic (respectively), but he tricks them into coming into his office by telling them that their favorite items are there. For Ben, he claims that Michael Stipe is in the office, but all he needs to do is offer Andy some free Skittles, respectively to incentivize him.

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Stealing Marriage Licenses

Andy and April break into City Hall to get Leslie and Ben’s marriage license, but April decides she may want to take the entire stack of marriage applications for everyone in Pawnee. April doesn’t want anyone else to get married because it makes it less special for her and Andy.

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Ron Makes Rings

Ben and Leslie need rings for their wedding, but can’t seem to find acceptable ones around town. Ron offers to make the rings for them and describe how easy the process was for him, despite not being all that easy at all. Ron believes that people who buy things are suckers.

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