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 steals a nuclear weapon and holds the world hostage.
Being frozen for thirty years causes Dr. Evil to underestimate how much he should ask.
“Gentlemen, it's come to my attention that a breakaway Russian Republic called Kreplachistan will be transferring a nuclear warhead to the United Nations in a few days. Here's the plan. We get the warhead, and we hold the world ransom......FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS!”
There is an uncomfortable pause.
Dr. Evil’s Number Two speaks up. “Don't you think we should ask for more than a million dollars? A million dollars isn't that much money these days. Virtucon alone makes over nine billion dollars a year.”
Dr. Evil responds (pleasantly surprised) “Oh, really? ONE-HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS!”
International Man of Mystery takes place in 1997 and Dr. Evil was frozen in 1967 which begs the question, how much did the price level rise over those thirty years? The CPI 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 a lot of money in 1967 an equivalent amount in 1997 would be $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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