Video Details

Economics U$A - 21st Century Edition

Grade Levels: 9 - 13+
Core Subject(s): Financial Literacy, CTE/Career & Technical Educati, CTE/Family & Consumer Science, CTE/Econ. & Entreprenuership
Next Airing: Mon, Mar 26th, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV

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Explore the fundamentals of economic history, theory, and practice, including microeconomics and macroeconomics, through interviews with Nobel Prize-winning economists. The series features Milton Friedman, Paul Samuelson, John Kenneth Galbraith, Walter Heller, and others. In each program, case studies of major economic events show how economic theory relates to the real world.


  • The Firm

    In 1980, Coca Cola replaced sugar with high fructose corn extract in order to alleviate higher production costs. In 1963, Studebaker closed its plant, unable to increase sales and take advantage of assembly line production. In the new century, printing and publishing company Printpod, Inc. avoided increasing domestic labor expenses by tapping into the workforce in India. These stories show how competitive firms minimize their costs of production by utilizing an optimal combination of inputs and scale of operation, while others fall by the wayside.

    Next Airing: Mon, Mar 26th, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:16
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • Supply and Demand

    A two-year drought in California in the 1970s motivated areas such as Marin County to conserve by reducing their water consumption by as much as 66 percent. Following the Arab oil embargoes of 1973, the Nixon administration latched onto the world price of "new" oil, encouraging domestic oil suppliers to drill again. Jordache designer jeans used creative advertising to create a demand for blue jeans. These stories illuminate factors that determine the quantity of goods demanded by consumers and the factors that determine the quantity of goods supplied.

    Next Airing: Mon, Apr 2nd, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:43
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • Perfect Competition and Inelastic Demand

    Farmers lured into producing massive food surpluses for WWI could no longer profit when the war ended and demand plummeted. After 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to improve the conditions of farmers via policies in his New Deal plan. Government subsidies later allowed for corporate ownership of a majority of farmers. The Freedom to Farm Bill of 1996 gave farmers a little more maneuverability, but for the most part farmers are still held to the fluctuating demand statuses of large competitive firms.

    Next Airing: Mon, Apr 9th, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:16
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • Economic Efficiency

    In preparation for WWII, the Roosevelt administration instituted wage price and price controls to curb inflation and better focus production on war materials. When the Nixon administration set up price controls for beef, farmers attempted to stifle the supply by withholding animals from the markets. Following WWII, rent controls established to aid returning war veterans cut into landlord profits and consequently led some to abandon properties. These stories examine how the "invisible hand" behind free markets operates, the reasons for interfering with free markets, and the costs of doing so.

    Next Airing: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:36
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • Monopoly

    In 1890, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act broke up the monopoly that John D. Rockefeller and his company, Standard Oil, had on the oil industry. In 1914, the federal government was sold on the concept of universal telephone service provided by Ma Bell, a monopoly that was ended by the development of a new technology. In 1998, the U.S. government filed a suit against the world's largest software company, Microsoft, for participating in anti-competitive practices. These stories explain what monopolies are, and why government sometimes chooses to intervene.

    Next Airing: Mon, Apr 23rd, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:33
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • Oligopolies

    Competition with General Motors eventually rendered Ford's single-option Model-T obsolete. In 1959, a reporter for the Knoxville News-Sentinel discovered a price-fixing scandal between three big-name electric companies in each of their closed bids to the Tennessee Valley Authority. In the late 1970s, President Jimmy Carter ordered Professor Alfred Kahn to deregulate the airline industry, which had been a federally protected oligarchy. These are all examples of oligopolies and the forces that influence them.

    Next Airing: Mon, Apr 30th, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:18
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • Pollution & The Environment

    In 1977, the federal court system told the Reserve Mining Company to build a $400 million disposal site for carcinogenic materials. After 1970, Los Angeles was looking for a broad-ranging smog-reduction policy to reflect recently amended Clean Air Act standards. In 2009, the House of Representatives introduced the first piece of comprehensive clean energy legislation, known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which both economists and energy providers could support. Pollution is a "negative externality," which, as these stories show, can have serious consequences for economic efficiency.

    Next Airing: Mon, May 7th, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:30
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • Labor and Management

    The International Ladies Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) strike in the early 1900s was inspired by poor working conditions and low wages. In 1984, Congress bailed out the Chrysler Auto company after Chairman Lee Iaccoca and Douglas Fraser, chief of the United Auto Workers, came to an agreement. Why does Walmart choose low prices over high wages, and how do they get away with it? These stories show how labor unions and corporate managers battle to affect the supply of labor, wages, and prices.

    Next Airing: Mon, May 14th, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:25
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • Profits and Interest

    In response to rising interest rates in the 1970s, the Maryland legislature raised usury ceilings so that more home loans would be available. Apple Computers went public, affirming four years of hard work with substantial compensation for its founders.

    Next Airing: Mon, May 21st, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:14
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • Reducing Poverty

    After the Great Depression President Franklin D. Roosevelt put forth a social security program, using money from employer/employee wages. In 1996 President Bill Clinton signed the Welfare Reform Act, providing childcare assistance for mothers in the work force. The Perry School for Community Services, a Washington, D.C. poverty-reduction program, offers after-school programs for kids and vocational programs for adults, including recently released convicts. These stories all deal with differences in income and how public policy and private funding is used to reduce poverty.

    Next Airing: Mon, May 28th, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:18
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • Economic Growth

    By 1916 Henry Ford's assembly line had lowered the price of the Model T to $360, making it affordable and increasing its production exponentially in two years. In 1972 a group of experts known as the Club of Rome issued a report called "The Limits to Growth," predicting that raw materials could run out and world population growth and pollution could get out of hand. The Internet is a technological innovation that paved the way for other innovations such as smart phones. These stories highlight two important factors for economic growth: capital per worker (a.k.a. productivity) and technological innovation.

    Next Airing: Mon, Jun 4th, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:20
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • Public Goods and Responsibilities

    In 1937 the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a government-owned utility company, was created to electrify rural communities and control flooding. 1965 marked the first U.S. attempt at national health insurance in the passage of Medicare and Medicaid. In response to 9/11, the U.S. Transportation and Security Administration replaced private security firms with federal employees. A perfectly competitive market does not always provide the right amount of goods, so government fills the gap with public goods. The debate on just how much the government should produce is highlighted in these stories.

    Next Airing: Mon, Jun 11th, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:13
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • Resources and Scarcity

    Faced with dwindling resources, Congress fiercely debated whether to preserve 100 million acres of Alaskan land as a national park, or open the land for mineral exploration. World War II saw an unprecedented period of economic growth. The need to mobilize resources overseas quickly was palpable. In the 1970s U.S. textile industries risked competitive advantage in increasingly active Asian markets by investing more in the health of their workers. In all investments there are trade-offs and choices. These stories show how the cost of using some resources sometimes comes at the expense of others.

    Next Airing: Mon, Jun 18th, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:21
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • GDP / GNP

    An investigation into the economic factors behind Coke's secret formula change and the phenomenal success of the "Asbury Park Press."

    Next Airing: Mon, Jun 25th, 2018 at 2:30 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:28:22
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038
  • Markets

    The return of U.S. troops from overseas following World War II created a massive demand for cheap housing. Rising labor and energy costs in the United States in the '60s and '70s forced domestic steel manufacturer NUCOR to find ways to lower production costs. In 2009, rookie pitcher phenomenon Stephen Strasburg signed the largest rookie contract in baseball history. These stories show how a well-functioning free market pricing system determines how producers manufacture goods, what they will pay, what goods will be manufactured, and for whom the goods will be produced.

    Length: 00:28:11
    Usage rights: 8/30/1986 to 1/18/2038