Why are cartoons such a popular explanation of economics right now?

Amity Shlaes, in her current Forbes column, Economics by Cartoon, points out that the cartoon Quantitative Easing Explained and the rap debate between Keynes and Hayek have received 3.5 million and 1.7 million hits on YouTube, respectively.  I’ve mentioned these videos here on this blog and here on my other blog.  (Just checked – the QE cartoon is up to 4.0 million visits.)

Over 5.7 million hits on YouTube video explanations of what is going on?  Why?

My very condensed summary of her superb article is that Keynesianism (think John Maynard Keynes) miserably fails to explain the current economy and Monetarism (think Milton Friedman) isn’t doing so well either.  Her primary point (if I caught on) is you have to be in the high-brow world for others to pay attention to you regardless of your perspective.  Dropping down to the cartoon world is thus how your voice can be heard.

Those of us without economics degrees need lots of help to figure out what is going on. Thus, the two cartoons above are doing a better job of framing up the discussion for the rest of us.

Ms. Shlaes mentions she is working on turning her economics history book, The Forgotten Man, into a graphic novel.  I for one am really looking forward to the graphic version, since I haven’t got around to reading her full length book.

Check out her article.

Her current project gets me thinking.  Maybe someone could do Free to Choose in a graphic novel?  Hmmm.

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