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What Is Musical Economics?

Updated on January 24, 2018
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Stephen Bush is a consulting and business financing expert. He is the CEO and Founder of AEX Commercial Financing Group.

Musical Economics
Musical Economics

A Musical Explanation for Economics and the Economy

For almost anyone ever exposed to economics, eyes are likely to glaze over and sleep will soon follow at the mere mention of "economy" or "economics." However, this all changes (for some of us anyway) when music is added to the equation, especially if it is in the form of a musical parody or musical satire that adds the element of humor.

This revelation can be very helpful because much of what we can learn from studying the economy and economics is important to our daily lives. So if you would like to learn more about the practical impact of economics on real estate and business mortgages by watching a few explanations in verse and song, please join me for a brief Musical Economics tour below.

Featured Musical Economics Videos

The three videos listed are musical parodies about economics and financial markets. Each musical satire video is included below in the order listed.

  1. "And Now, a Word from the Economy Herself"

    An "econoparody" about the economy. Econoparody is a useful new word coined to reflect the growing need to inject some humor into the serious problems dumped into our laps by economics.

  2. "Bearish"

    An "econoparody" about the financial economics and economy resulting from chaos and irregularities in financial markets.

  3. "Zombie Bank"

    A musical parody about a very real problem due to "Zombie Banks" and other "Problem Banks." This banking problem has severely impacted real estate, business financing and commercial mortgages.

Parody and Satire Can Help Teach Important Lessons About the Economy

A Note About the Preceding Video —

Here is one of the best musical explanations for what is currently happening with the economy. As you will see from this superb video, economics lends itself very well to interpretation in music. This does require a great deal of skill on the part of the music artist, and Marcy Shaffer could not possibly have done better than she did in this musical parody of the economy. She also wrote the lyrics for "Bearish" shown below in "Bearish Economics Explained" (just after the Musical Economics Poll).

Some Fine Print about Parody

"Very generally speaking: a parodist can use someone else's original work for the purpose of humor, ridicule, comment or the like, if the parody creates a transformed new work." — As noted by

A Poll - Parody and Satire

Do you usually enjoy a musical satire or parody?

See results

Satire versus Parody

These terms are often used interchangeably but do have subtle differences. Satire generally reflects biting criticism with the intent of suggesting that changes are in order. Parody is commonly an effort to make fun of something without necessarily offering suggestions for improvement (or even emphasizing that change is required). Whether you consider the examples here to be parodies or satires probably depends on whether you think changes are needed in banking, finance and the economy.

Satire and Parody
Satire and Parody

Do I need to say more than this is another satire written by Marcy Shaffer?

The background for this musical parody is the ongoing fluctuation in banking and financial markets. Bearish is a business finance term that is usually associated with a negative or downward trend.

Zombie Banks - The (Short) Musical - Musical Economics Satire from Mark Fiore

A great deal of what is currently happening in the economy can be traced back to what banks have been doing in recent years. Banks have created a whole series of new financial problems, one of these involving what are referred to as "Zombie Banks" (really, this is an actual term and phrase describing banks that are theoretically bankrupt because their liabilities are greater than their assets).

It has been said that only a banker could love a bank. But somehow it seems that even a banker should not love a Zombie Bank! Nevertheless, Zombie Banks really exist, and we should be grateful that Mark Fiore created the above musical video explanation of Zombie Banks.

"Economics is the painful elaboration of the obvious." (Anonymous)

One More Thing - Satire Has Always Been a Respected Communication Tool

  1. Even when musical parodies and satires are compelling and entertaining, it would be a rare occasion for the targets of the satire and parody to agree with what is being said about them. But that does not make the musical satire any less meaningful and productive. For example, I have been writing about the "Zombie Bank" problem for several years and yet I am sure that "Zombie Bank" is a totally new concept for quite a few readers and listeners of "What Is Musical Economics?" It often requires seeing and hearing about something in a new way to make it "click" and stay in your memory bank.

The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.

— Thomas Sowell

What's the Most Important Thing to Learn?

Zombie Banks Have My Vote

When I wrote this article, I immediately sensed significant entertainment value from parodies and satire about the economy. The popularity of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert certainly attest to the interest in a combination of humor and some hard facts. However, our ability to have a sense of humor about banking and Zombie Banks is being severely tested by the ongoing problems caused by bankers. Fact can certainly be stranger than fiction when it comes to Zombie Banks. One best-selling (non-fiction) book is called "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One."

Since many people did not know what Zombie Banks were before reading this discussion, I have concluded that an increased awareness of such problem banks is the most important lesson to be learned. Once you realize that there really are Zombie Banks, the next logical step is to pay more attention to a variety of additional serious banking problems that are impacting all of us (and probably will continue to do so for decades to come).

Did the FDIC Drop the Banking Ball?

Not really, although the current banking problems are probably the product of multiple factors that would no doubt include inadequate oversight by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. However, the head of the FDIC before the 2008 banking crisis (Sheila Bair) did an admirable job of warning everyone about reckless banking practices. Unfortunately, politicians, bankers and banking lobbyists got in her way and successfully blocked any meaningful corrective actions. The Federal Reserve has played a major role by allowing (and continuing to allow) banks to obtain huge amounts of capital at zero or near-zero cost, all the while without imposing meaningful restrictions on how these funds are used. This same mistake was made by Congress during the financial bailout of banks in 2008-2009. As one direct result, small business financing by banks decreased to a level that most objective observers classify as non-existent.

Zombie Business Problems

George Bernard Shaw Reflects on Economists

"If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion."

(This is an abbreviated version of the quote.)

Business Satire and Parody
Business Satire and Parody

© 2012 Stephen Bush

And now, your thoughts on the subject...

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    • XxSadieLadyxX profile image

      XxSadieLadyxX 5 years ago

      nice lense

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Used to be a banker at the biggest Zombie Bank! Totally unique Lens. TY

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 5 years ago from Sweden

      A big smile for you! Blessed for the way to present a difficult subject and make it understandable =D

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow, someone found a way to make a discussion of the economy enjoyable. Well done.

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 5 years ago

      Simply excellent..and funny

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Entertaining and informative -- my favorite kind of lens :) *blessed

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 5 years ago from Arizona

      That good night Ipad book sounds hilarious. I have the real version for my kids:) Blessed!

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 5 years ago

      Sounds interesting.

    • bechand profile image

      bechand 5 years ago

      pretty interesting ... I like different topics :O) *Blessed

    • profile image

      coolmon2009 lm 5 years ago

      Interesting lens

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I like your unique presentation, good information. :)

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      Quite entertaining!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Amazing lens. Only because I am a Squid do I learn of Musical Economics. Pinned to my Economics and Business board and Squidoo Angel Blessed.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      I think we really do need to have a little touch of sarcastic humor to deal with the stock market lately. It does not seem to be too bearish or bullish as of late.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I really enjoyed learning something new here.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      I personally enjoy satire and parodies. I was thinking ... musical chairs; i.e., robbing peter to pay paul.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      very interesting topic and well presented lens. vids are really informative.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Very interesting. The videos really get the points across. Well done. Angel blessings.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Interesting read - thanks kindly for sharing!

    • rachelscott profile image

      rachelscott 5 years ago

      Great work i like it.