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Why Superman Doesn't Take Over The World: What Superheroes Can Tell Us About Economics
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J. Brian O'Roark
Why Superman Doesn't Take Over The World: What Superheroes Can Tell Us About Economics by J. Brian O'Roark at Abbey's Bookshop,

Why Superman Doesn't Take Over The World: What Superheroes Can Tell Us About Economics

J. Brian O'Roark


Oxford University Press

Film, TV & Radio;
Graphic novels: history & criticism;
Popular culture;
Business & Economics;


208 pages

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Why do heroes fight each other?

Why do villains keep trying even though they almost never win?

Why don't heroes simply take over the world?

Economics and comics may seem to be a world apart. But in the hands of economics professor and comic book hero aficionado Brian O'Roark, the two form a powerful alliance. With brilliant deadpan enthusiasm he shows how the travails of superheroes can explain the building blocks of economics, and how economics explains the mysteries of superhero behavior.

Spider-Man's existential doubts revolve around opportunity costs; Wonder Woman doesn't have a sidekick because she has a comparative advantage; game theory sheds light on the battle between Captain America and Iron Man; the Joker keeps committing crimes because of the Peltzman effect; and utility curves help us decide who is the greatest superhero of all.

Why Superman Doesn't Take Over the World probes the motivations of our favorite heroes, and reveals that the characters in the comics may have powers we dont, but they are still beholden to the laws of economics.

By:   J. Brian O'Roark
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 224mm,  Width: 149mm,  Spine: 22mm
Weight:   348g
ISBN:   9780198829478
ISBN 10:   0198829477
Pages:   208
Publication Date:   April 2019
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

1: Everyone loves a good backstory, even economists2: Who is that masked man?3: Keep your friends close, or why do superheroes team up?4: But your enemies closer: Why do superheroes fight each other?5: Don't give up your day job: Why do superheroes go to work?6: Give up already! When superheroes are fighting crime, who wants to be a criminal?7: Who's going to clean up this mess?8: Where do they get those wonderful toys?9: Why don't superheroes take over the world?10: Who is the greatest of them all?

Brian O'Roark is a University Professor of Economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, and is a co-author of Essentials of Economics (with Lee Coppock and Dirk Mateer, W.W. Norton, 2016) and editor of Superheroes and Economics (Routledge, forthcoming). He is on the board of directors for the Journal of Economics Teaching and serves in the role of associate editor. In 2014, Brian was given the Undergraduate Teaching Innovation Award by the Middle Atlantic Association of Colleges of Business Administration and in 2016 he received the President's Award for Outstanding Teaching at RMU.

Brian O'Roark cleverly applies the analytical tools of economics to questions that have stoked arguments among comic fans for decades, gently offering examples of economic reasoning and principles that today's students might find more entertaining than the typical textbook approach. In Why Superman Doesn't Take Over the World O'Roark scores a trifecta, bringing social sciences, comics studies, and pedagogy together in a unique and entertaining package. * Rob Salkowitz, author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, FORBES contributor, and affiliate faculty, University of Washington. USA * Brian O'Roark crafts a captivating book that presents economic concepts through the lens of superheroes. Why Superman Doesn't Take Over the World allows the reader to understand economics with ease while at the same time being entertained by the actionable stories of our favorite comic book superheroes. * Frank Conway, host of the Economics Rockstar podcast * Why does Batman even need Robin if he can do everything Robin can and more? Why does someone like Spider-Man keep his true identity secret, while Reed Richards doesn't seem to mind if the world (and the villains out to get him) know who he really is? And of course, if Superman is so powerful on Earth, why doesn't he take over the world? With a fun and interesting take this book reveals that superheroes alike are faced with many of the same struggles as those they strive to protect, and aren't really that different from you and me. * Tahlia Murdoch, host of the Everything Economics podcast * Look up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Super-Econman, Brian O'Roark. He uses the lens of economics to analyze the actions, reactions, and behaviors of dozens of superheroes. This light and breezy read will have your mind soaring as you learn to see your favorite heroes in an entirely new light. Up, up, and away! * Dirk Mateer, author of Principles of Economics *

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