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What Superheroes Know About Economics
Evening Program with Book Signing
Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Ever since Superman flew onto the scene in 1938, superheroes have exhibited feats of incredible strength, fighting prowess, and cunning. So why don’t they just take over the world?
Economist Brian O’Roark examines a powerful alliance between economics and comics, although the subjects may seem to be a world apart. He explains why, despite their supernatural powers, superheroes are still beholden to the laws of economics.
Drawing on his new book, Why Superman Doesn’t Take Over the World, O’Roark demonstrates how the travails of superheroes can explain the building blocks of economics, and how economics explains the mysteries of superhero behavior. Learn how game theory sheds light on the battle between Captain America and Iron Man; why Spider-Man’s existential doubts revolve around opportunity costs; and how Wonder Woman’s lack of a sidekick is linked to her absolute advantage as a superhero. And find out how to harness the power of utility curves to help decide who is the greatest superhero of all.
O'Roark is a university professor of economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, a co-author of Essentials of Economics, and editor of the forthcoming Superheroes and Economics.
Why Superman Doesn’t Take Over the World (Oxford University Press) is available for sale and signing.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)