Thursday, January 26, 2006

Porn and Unintended Consequences

I think being an Economist helps you better understand the Law of Unintended Consequences. And makes you better at forecasting the consequences. Although even I might not have forecast this from Cafe Hayek:
The government of Bangladesh prohibits any films made outside of Bangladesh from being shown in theaters in that country.

Can you guess the consequences of such protectionism for what's called Dhallywood? According to a report on NPR's program The World, these consequences do not include lots of creative energy springing forth in Bangladesh to produce outstanding films. The consequences instead include bad, formulaic, banal movies, each one very much like the others. The movies are so bad that theater owners have taken to inserting scenes of hardcore pornography into their screenings in order to attract audiences.

(To hear this report, click
here, and then scroll down to -- and then click on -- "Dhallywood movie report.")

Tyler Cowen's
In Praise of Commercial Culture explains why a protected movie industry is doomed to produce films that no one wants to see.

Keywords: Porn, Protectionism, Unintended Consequences, ECO120

1 comment:

SR said...

Yes being an economist should give one a better understanding of many things. However I do think neo-classical approaches abstract a little too much from reality. In the case of your interesting story about Bangladesh, the only problem is that it is simply not true that Bangladesh bans the showing of foreign films. Look here if you dont believe me:

http://www.cineplexbd.com/

The issues thrown up by the report are very interesting, and worth discussing. Thanks for the link.