The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 6: The Greatest Movie of All Time

Today I complete my look at memorable movies by selecting the most memorable movie of all time.  My last four segments each looked at movies over 20 years and at the end I chose the most memorable movie from each time period. Here are the links to my previous installments:

The Most Memorable Movies of All Times – Part 1

The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 2: the 30s and 40s

The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 3: the 50s and 60s

The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 4: the 70s and 80s

The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 5: the 90s and 00s

To recap, here are the criteria for choosing the most memorable movies:

  • Memorable movies become part of our culture. They may directly become part of our culture, showcase stars who become part of our culture, or launch a genre that becomes part of our culture.
  • Sequels of memorable movies are not eligible.

These were my picks for the most memorable movie of each period:

  • 30s and 40s – The Wizard of Oz
  • 50s and 60s – The Sound of Music
  • 70s and 80s – Star Wars
  • 90s and 00s – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Which of these is the most memorable?

The Sound of Music was obviously a highly memorable movie, but I don’t think it has had nearly the same impact on our culture as the other three.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone had had an enormous impact on our culture, but it is still fairly recent.  If forty years from now it still is as big as it is now, then if I am still around I will reconsider this elimination, but for now I am thinking it just hasn’t been around long enough to be called the most memorable movie of all time.

This leaves us with two movies:  The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars.  I have gone back and forth in my mind between these two movies.  My first inclination was to choose the Wizard of Oz.  The Wizard of Oz was released 76 years ago and it would be difficult to find anybody of any age who was raised in America who doesn’t know and love this movie.  With that being said, I don’t think any movie has ever had the impact of Star Wars on our culture.

In December 1977, I worked in the toy department of a department store.  Christmas was coming and, over six months since the debut of Star Wars, the toys were still not available.  We sold gift cards that could be placed under the Christmas tree and could be exchanged for Star Wars toys when they became available.   Star Wars, in fact, was the pioneer in merchandising toys based on movies.

Many years later, in the mid nineties,  I remember walking through a toy store, more than ten years since the Return of the Jedi and well before the prequels were released.  The toy store still had an entire section just devoted to Star Wars toys. I was amazed how the appeal of Star Wars persevered.  Now, almost forty years since Star Wars premiered in 1977, the December release of the new Star Wars movie is possibly  the most eagerly anticipated film of all time.

The force is strong with Star Wars.  Star Wars is the most memorable movie of all time.

Basic Economics Part 7 – Why do so many people prefer socialism?

This is the final part in a series on basic economics inspired by the works of Thomas Sowell.

The prior segment in this series clearly shows that a capitalistic, free economy greatly outproduces a centralized, less free economy.  Why then do so many prefer socialism?

Many people actually believe that socialism produces better economic results than capitalism.  I believe I have shown that this is totally mistaken and that the evidence overwhelmingly shows that capitalism outproduces socialism.  I would welcome anybody who can refute my previous arguments here to respond.

Even those who agree that more capitalism leads to greater overall wealth still favor government control of economies to a varying degree, from heavy government regulation to socialism to communism.  These are reasons they give:

  • Capitalism can be corrupt.  People point to “crony capitalism” where government supports favored companies, frequently those who give the biggest campaign contributions.
  • Unfettered capitalism and out of control greed lead to major crises such as the great depression and the financial collapse of 2008.
  • Without regulation, capitalists will exploit the environment, their workers, and their customers to increase profits.
  • Capitalism is inherently immoral.  Everybody should work for the greater good instead of for themselves.
  • Profits represent waste.  Goods and services could be provided more cheaply if there weren’t profits.
  • Wealth isn’t everything.  People are happier under socialism.

I believe that some of these statement contain some truth while others I vehemently disagree with.  I will return to discuss each of these topics in future segments.

Except, I would like to discuss the last issue right now.  I think it is the most important argument, because I think it is the only argument where they are right.  Many people are happier under socialism.

According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, Chile is ranked one of the most free countries in the world, and is the most free in Latin America with a per capita income of $18,419 .  Honduras in contrast is one of the least free with a per capita income of $4,610.  The bottom 20% in Chile has an average income roughly twice the average income in Honduras.  Despite this, in happiness surveys, Honduras rates as a much happier country than Chile.

If you are poor and everyone else around you is poor, you  tend to be happier than someone who is much better off but who is surrounded by even wealthier neighbors.

In remarks before the World Affairs Coucil of Greater Dallas in 2003 Alan Greenspan talked about “the creative destruction” of capitalism where the standard of living rises as new technologies and methods replace old.   This leads to both progress and stress.  He stated, “I do not doubt that the vast majority of us would prefer to work in a less stressful, less competitive environment”.

Basically, under capitalism there are winners and losers.  This is an essential element of capitalism.  Socialism tries to have no losers.  It is much more stressful to have to compete first to survive and then to better yourself.  There is an attraction to having everything handed to you, even if you don’t get as much.

Picture a classroom with no grades.  Nobody passes or fails.  If you show up, you get promoted.  There are no tests.  In this environment there are some who would likely be at the top of the class who would hate this.  The majority would probably prefer this stress-free environment.  Overall happiness would be higher than in a classroom where students compete for grades.  Does anybody think though that the students would learn more in a class without grades?

Economics is a field where we make choices.  Do we prefer an economy that grows and progresses but produces stress?  Do we prefer an economy that keeps most people mired in poverty but produces less stress?

If you found these segments interesting, I recommend that you read “Basic Economics” by Thomas Sowell.   You will find some of what I said embodied in his work while some are my own extensions based upon the Sowell’s concepts.