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Paul Krugman

Economist

The recent Nobel Prize winner has put together a celluloid triptych that he calls his “economics films.”

As Paul Krugman explains it, John Ford’s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” is “all about bringing property rights to the West. John Wayne is the last cowboy, but the future belongs to James Stewart and the forces of social organization by way of a dam.”

On Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown,” he opines, “It’s all about how to monopolize a scarce resource, water, to create an artificial crisis that you can turn to profit. ‘Chinatown’ really prefigures the California electric crisis of 2000-2001.”

And in third place is Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street.”

“It’s a little crude in terms of drama,” says the economist, “but the business side is dead-on. Word for word the Gordon Gekko speeches sound like what people were writing in the Harvard Business Review regarding stock-option pay and the practices that led to these huge executive paychecks. Most people just don’t understand how rich the super-rich are today.”

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