If you’ve been watching the new Marvel Disney+ shows that have aired, you’d notice the government in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is facing many problems as a result of half of the world’s population disappearing. They’ve focused on the chaos after the Blip in particular on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Talking about government involvement with maintaining stability after a crisis reminds me of Keynesian economic theory that only government action can improve the economy. How does the Keynesian economic theory apply to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?
The theory rejects laissez faire economics (that the economy can maintain stability by itself), instead suggesting that only with government intervention to increase spending and getting money back in circulation will help improve the economy. I think Keynesian economics is very helpful in cases of which the economic cycle is threatened, but government involvement is not the only option to help stabilize an economy. There are also consumer choices to think about, as well as jobs, which are very crucial to the wellbeing of an economy, and while the government can influence employment, so can employers and employees, as well as unions. It is also important to note that the government won’t be able to assist the economy in every single aspect. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal helped stabilize the US economy in the Great Depression, but even that fell short in some areas. For example, it was the onset of drought conditions that cut wheat production, not federal policies.
I recently watched the latest episodes of Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and I noticed in the background a government poster from the Global Restoration Council that said, “Reset, Restore, Rebuild.” I remember in history class, learning about FDR’s New Deal, the three main points were “Relief, Recovery, Reform”, which sounds eerily similar to points made by that government poster. They both show efforts from the government to help stabilize the economy after a disastrous event. However, similarly to FDR’s New Deal, you can see in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier that the government couldn’t help with all aspects of the economy. When Sam Wilson and his sister go to get a much-needed loan from the bank, they are refused, which shows that even government efforts to help get money back into circulation to help the economy won’t magically make everything better.
Another way that Keynesian economic theory falls short is that its application of government spending is normally when there is an extreme situation in which the wellbeing of the economy is threatened. When the economy is doing bad, even if the government is working on trying to help it, there are going to be people who want to protest or start civil unrest against the government because they believe that the government is not doing enough. An example of this happened around the time of the Great Depression and FDR’s New Deal, with countries like Italy, Germany, and Brazil. Those countries gave rise to fascist governments because the people thought what the current government was doing in response to the depression was insufficient. Going back to the MCU’s Falcon and the Winter Soldier, there is an organization, the Flag Smashers, set on working against the government and returning the world back to what it was before everyone returned from The Blip. Using the Keynesian economic theory’s fallbacks, the government in the MCU should try to focus more on internal conflict after the Blip and not just trying to secure the economy by itself, or perhaps the Flag Smashers will be successful in their attempts while the government is too focused on handling economic spending.