Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ecocomics Recession Watch: Amazing Unemployed Spider-Man Edition

"Brother, Can You Spare a Crime?" in Amazing Spider-Man #628
by Mark Waid, Tom Peyer and Todd Nauck and Lee Weeks, Marvel Comics (2010)

When we last left Peter Parker, he was fired from his job at city hall. Now, we catch a glimpse of the unemployed life, as Peter experiences difficulty keeping the roof over his head. As he mentions, there was a time when he could just secure a freelance job taking photos for The Daily Bugle. But in the midst of this recession, it seems that such gigs are harder to obtain than usual. Not to mention The DB was recently destroyed!

One minor nitpick here: I don't know where he pulled the "one million other New Yorkers" statistic. As of March 2010, there were about 400,000 unemployed living in NYC. Statewide, the number of unemployed residents was about 831,800. Granted, if Peter was talking about the entire state (which I doubt), then his estimate of one million would have been closer. Even still, rounding up by over 150,000 is a big deal.

18 comments:

Mike@PVL said...

With significantly higher levels of uncertainty and risk in the Marvel Universe, wouldn't we expect a greater reluctance to invest? After all, what happened to the DB's shareholders? Even if it was heavily covered with the special comic-book-world insurance policies previously discussed, it's doubtful investors would get 100 cents on the dollar. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that higher levels of unemployment would result from lower levels of investment, compared to our world. That might explain the 1M New Yorkers comment.

You also have systematic bigotry against mutants that leads to very high levels of unemployment in their population, but I doubt that alone could make up the discrepancy following House of M.

Idea for you: I've noticed in both the DC and Marvel Universes there are a lot more government agencies, departments and programs due to the presence of superheroes and villains. Does this lead to crowding out of private investment? My apologies if this has already been covered.

ShadowBanker said...

Ha! Your theory on comic book unemployment levels is great. We were actually going to do a post on that topic very soon, so I'm glad you mentioned it.

The idea about crowd-out definitely hasn't been covered. Thanks so much for the idea!

Mike@PVL said...

The low levels of investment and crowding-out could possibly explain why so many brilliant inventors turn to crime in comics. Such a mixture would limit entrepreneurial opportunities, right? In our world Mr. Freeze might of made millions selling hyper-efficient HVAC equipment, but without start-up capital his options are limited.

Will said...

Comics also seems to have mega corporations that seem larger than U.S. equivalents. Wayne Enterprises (and its subsidiaries), Lexcorp, Stark Whatever he is going with now, OsCorp, etc. All seem like very large companies (on a scale with GE) stretching across numerous fields. Perhaps the Sherman Antitrust Act never was passed in Marvel and DC. In that environment, it makes sense why someone fired from one of the big corporations has basically no other job opportunities and goes to a life of crime.

Gertrude said...

This is a fine example of showing how the recession affects the people and unemployment. As a Spider-man fan, this made me laugh and remember my own unemployment episode. After being laid off from work, it hit me pretty hard. Thankfully, I got back on track with the help of the reemployment services program. Getting myself a new job after a few weeks, with good co-workers, a fine work environment, and supported by a worker compensation program, it makes me feel relaxed that all hope is not lost.

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link wheel said...

Daniel, yea I can see what you did there. I actually liked that part, but hehe I'm not that harsh like my dad with these things. He at all times tells me crazy stories again in the day and calls me a loser. I assume it's time I transfer out of my parents' basement LOL. Aaanyways, what about you? what does your dad assume xD" Anyway, in my language, there usually are not much good source like this.

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All seem like very large companies (on a scale with GE) stretching across numerous fields. Perhaps the Sherman Antitrust Act never was passed in Marvel and DC. In that environment, it makes sense why someone fired from one of the big corporations has basically no other job opportunities and goes to a life of crime.

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