The macroeconomics of Superman

Did you know about the new summer Superman film

Let’s say we had an altruistic and incorruptible Superman, how should he allocate his efforts to improve the macroeconomy?  He is really strong, he can fly very fast, leap tall buildings at a single bound, has incredible vision, and somehow he is immune from Einstein’s theory of relativity and time dilation at near-light speeds (his most impressive achievement, if you ask me).

Yes he should save the world from evil madmen, but fighting ordinary crime hardly appears worth his trouble.  Criminals seek pure transfers, and Superman’s policing doesn’t lower our (inefficient) investments in locks enough to make a difference in the growth rate.  It’s about as silly as having Superman sub in for FedEx when the skies get crowded over Memphis.

And should his alter ego, Clark Kent, really be a photographer for a daily newspaper?  At least that guy is contributing to a reproducible output; he must have read Sherwin Rosen’s paper.

Darfur and the like aside, I have a few nominations for what Superman should do:

1. Become a research scientist.

2. Collect data for the Fed.

3. Fly around and tell people — politely but very pointedly — when they should accept lower nominal wages.

4. Perform amazing stunts on TV, become a big celebrity, and then preach the virtues of economic literacy; this is Dan Klein’s suggestion.

Your thoughts?  Your answer suggests much about where you see leveraged returns in today’s world.  By the way, here is the first edition of the Superman comicbook.


Comments for this post are closed