Do you love overanalyzing the 1987 sci-fi flick, RoboCop? Do you love talking economics? Of course you do – you're a Detroiter.
EconPop is a YouTube series that applies economic concepts to pop culture. The crux of the dilemma posed by RoboCop, according to EconPop host Andrew Heaton, is this — when should a private company be employed to provide public goods?
Heaton compares the fictitious Delta City from the film to the real-life Detroit of today, citing the new taxpayer-funded Red Wings Arena, and reaches an unsettling conclusion in determining which version of Detroit he'd rather live in:
"Arguably, real Detroit's government has failed at managing public goods. Public goods are tough issue, and there's no black and white answer to who provides them better. But at least with the private sector you can cancel a bad company's contract or quit donating to the Shriners if they start murdering people. I would at least consider living in Delta City, the ominous, private metropolis under construction in RoboCop. It probably has nicer bathrooms. And I don't care about hockey stadiums, because I'm not Canadian. Real Detroit is a mess, so I'd rather take my chances with the capitalist robots."