Zombies and Congressional Dysfunction: What’s the Connection?

August 13th, 2014 at 9:37 am

Over at PostEverything–and if you too dip into this genre, feel free to add your own favs to the list.

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7 comments in reply to "Zombies and Congressional Dysfunction: What’s the Connection?"

  1. Peter K. says:

    The Walking Dead on AMC has been a huge hit. This summer on his HBO Show, Bill Maher ticked off Republican “Zombie lies” like trickle-down economics. I thought of Quiggin’s book. Maybe Maher and his writers got it via Krugman. Right now the FX channel has the alien vampire zombies of The Strain. (Patient zero is “The Master,” a squid-like vampire alien.) In September, the Syfy channel will have a series titled “Z Nation” about a zombie apocalypse.

    Since I pay attention, the 2008 financial crisis was scary as was the recent debt ceiling clown show. I’ve become less worried and a little inured to it since Obama faced the Republicans down and the Fed has resolution authority, bit if we hit the next recession while at the Zero Lower Bound – and given the hatred for bailouts – we could enter Mad Max territory:


    Fortunately Yellen seems to get it and understands the danger of raising rates too quickly. Also the debt-to-GDP ratio is low again, not that it ever was seriously a problem. There will be less fiscal drag going forward.

  2. Peter K. says:

    Also the movie Pacific Rim, with its Jaegers versus Kaiju. The Japanese are making a push with Abenomics. Germany and Europe are struggling. (Although Germany is riding a bit high after winning the World Cup. But then again Ukraine.)

  3. mitakeet says:

    I documented my feelings on TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) in case anyone needs further reinforcement…


  4. Robert buttons says:

    Countercyclical monetary policy: Should have suffered the “true death” after 70s stagflation (a situation thought to be impossible), but still haunts the hallways of Princeton’s econ dept.

    Econometrics: wanders around, eats your brain and never accomplishes anything productibe.

  5. Peter K. says:

    I’d add that some “prestige dramas” on cable display a hope in science and empiricism. For example, Cinemax has The Knick which takes place during the Progressive era. The hospital of the title is electrified in the pilot and the lead doctor expresses optimism in the advances of medical science. Also there’s Showtime’s Masters of Sex which reflects more of the cultural revolution and is set during America’s Golden Age social democratic years of the 1950s. It also takes place in hospitals where doctor’s research places hope in science and empiricism. Instead of a do-nothing Congresses, you have the partial successes of Dodd-Frank, Obamacare and the Fed’s plus the ARRA response to the downturn. There’s also the Internet, Big Data, Piketty, and sites like Vox, PostEverything, the Upshot, etc, where economics and the sciences can hope to be free of the corrupting influences money and ideology to the extent they can be. On the cultural front, gay marriage and marijuana decriminalization.

  6. Michael says:

    I wish I had Mr. Bernstein’s optimism that the nation’s fascination with zombies was a subconscious filtering of the problems in the world. However, I think its alot more dangerous than that. Zombies are a rather straight-forward problem that only requires one solution: extermination. Yes, some movies may dabble in the idea of it being a disease, and thus curable, but most treat it as something akin to a moral affliction: once you get it, the rest of us don’t have to worry about you, only ourselves. Contrast that to the complex and interconnected problems that Mr. Bernstein supposedly relates it to: governmental gridlock, climate change, financial regulation, social mobility. The problem with Zombie escapism is that wishing for the world to go back to a simpler time often means forgetting what the world was actually like back then. Also, being left alive with zombies means hoping that the people you are left alive with are actually the decent examples of humanity, not the more-than-likely hodgepodge as equally likely to revert to Lord of the Flies behavior as give you a helping hand.

    What further scares me is how such a fascination can become its own conclusion. The more we think of the worst, the more likely it is to occur. Hope isn’t a magic bullet by any means but despair is more than often its own conclusion. We need people to whet our appetite for complexity, otherwise how will anyone be able to tell the difference between the mindless zombies searching for brains and the mindless general public looking for escapism and/or answers? Brains, answers…that is a difference I don’t see much distinction between.