Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Media Type: Film Clips Topic: Pricing, The Business Cycle, Monetary & Fiscal Policy

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The Austin Powers series is a hilarious spoof of the James Bond films. In International Man of Mystery we are introduced to British secret agent Austin Powers who was cryofrozen at the end of the 60s. Thirty years later Austin Powers is thawed to help capture his nemesis, Dr. Evil, who was also cryofrozen but now holds the world hostage with a stolen nuclear weapon.

Being frozen for thirty years causes Dr. Evil to underestimate how much ransom money he should ask for in this hilarious scene.

International Man of Mystery takes place in 1997.  Dr. Evil was frozen in 1967, which begs the question, how much did the price level rise over those thirty years? The CPI (customer price index) was 33.4 in 1967 and 160.5 in 1997. Dividing 160.5 by 33.4 yields a factor of 4.8. So, if Dr. Evil thought that one million dollars was a lot of money in 1967, an equivalent amount in 1997 would have been $4.8 million. Dr. Evil does not let that stop him from asking for more!

Imagine if you were cryogenically frozen in the 1960’s and revived 30 years later. Advances in technology, culture, and higher prices would all come as a shock.

*Professors* After viewing this scene you can encourage students to think about demand-pull and cost-push inflation. In the intervening time period demand-pull inflation occurred (as a result of an increase in population) and cost-push inflation (resulting from the 1970’s oil embargos) also caused prices to rise.

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