Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Externalities: Watchdogs Edition

Superheroes fight crime and save lives. But by doing so they impose certain costs on people not directly involved. These are superhero externalities.

Captain America #603 by Ed Brubaker and Luke Ross

Here's a riddle: what do you get when you mix an extreme right-wing, armored terrorist group with Captain America and Falcon? The answer: destroyed public property.

In their never-ending quest to restore order to a society that they believe has abandoned traditional American values, the Watchdogs, now led by the evil clone of Captain America, "Bad Cap," are now on a mission to capture Bucky and Falcon.

The only problem with this foolproof plan is that to actually kidnap one of these heroes, it seems the Watchdogs have to fire their sophisticated weapons indiscriminately across the city. The result is that windows get broken, roads surfaces get cracked, and of course, traffic lights get destroyed.

Remember: all of this is to bring us to an era of fiscal responsibility and minimized public costs. In the process, all they have to do is...well, impose more public costs.

Of course, maybe this is all part of the plan.

18 comments:

Larry Lennhoff said...

"We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

"Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice".

"If superpowers are outlawed, only outlaws will have superpowers."

colsmi said...

I guess the problem here is the cost-benefit analysis that the Watchdogs have undertaken. If they believe that an ideal society can only be achieved by kidnapping super-heroes, but that it can be achieved that way, and if they believe that the only way to do this is by using potentially deadly force in a public area, then they'll do it.

And of course, since research shows that most people aren't so hot on c/b analysis - not folks on Wall Street, not boys about to rob candy from stores, and not most of us inbetween - there's likely to be alot more carnage in a universe like the Marvel and DC ones where there are so many dangerous resources just waiting around for idiots and lunatics to invest in perfect socities and big explosions.

The Krottage said...

This is what bothered the HELL out of me on the recent Batman movies... the wanton destruction of Gotham. Batman has never been shown so reckless as in those two movies. It took me out of the first one, especially as after 9/11 everyone in Hollywood said they'd tone down the civilian deaths and destruction.

ShadowBanker said...

colsmi - We still don't know exactly what Bad Cap and the Watchdogs plan on doing. Who knows? Maybe, as Larry points out above, it's an Ozymandias-style destroy the world to save the world scheme.

Krottage - Another funny thing about The Dark Knight: The Joker's speech about cheap destruction was absurd. Clearly the elaborate schemes he pulls in that movie require more money than he's letting on.

Anonymous said...

But don't disasters actually benefit the economy by creating demand for new goods and services while upgrading the infrastructure? Surely these are positive externalities...

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