The latest Marvel flick, Black Panther, is drawing rave reviews, and seems set to be a box office hit – but it creators miss the most important point about economies – which is such a shame, as ignorance of this point is the biggest threat to humanity.
Black Panther is a great film, entertaining, fun and it was great to see a black super hero – but from an economic point of view it tells a dangerous tale that supporters of protectionism must love.
It’s not what the movie’s creators wanted – the movie is meant to be supportive of the idea of global cooperation, but it is just possible its creators don’t get economics.
According to the movie, hidden in the depths of Africa, is the kingdom of Wakanda -a fabulously rich kingdom that has shut it self off from the rest of the world, its wealth and technology a secret.
But actually, if there is any lesson from history, it’s that the key to wealth creation is global cooperation and trade. Isolationism is not splendid, it’s a recipe for poverty.
China was the richest country in the world, but chose to turn its back on the rest of the world, looking down on European science and technology just at the moment when the industrial revolution was beginning to gain momentum. China, by it policy of isolationism, descended from richest thevcountry in the world to one of extreme poverty – humiliating defeat again the British in the opium wars and later occupation by Japan.
The rise of China over the course of this century is primarily down to a realisation that isolationism creates poverty – is the enemy of innovation.
The great technology leaps of the last two centuries often came about via the spread or ideas internationally. And it is like that today, only more so. Many of the great advances in history came about thanks to collaboration across continents.
It is like that with business too – the era of companies working in secret, shut off from the rest of the world, is dying – or dead.
Hollywood clings to a view of the world that encourages isolationism and anti-trade.