Cartoonomics Part 1

My personal field of collegiate research deals with economics, so it only makes sense that my first installation of Cartoon-osophy fall under that guise. The question on my mind? How does a cartoon economy work (if it exists at all)?

The first point of this is to find what is scarce in a cartoon world. An economy only exists because there is a scarcity of goods in a world, so what makes that the case in a cartoon world? Here’s what I’ve managed to find in the way of scarce goods:

  • Land (because all land in an animated world only consists of what an artist has drawn, and people have not drawn an unlimited number of landscapes)
  • Air time (because only so many cartoons can be made by man)
  • Color (I assume color only comes with wealth, which explains why Mickey Mousewas in black and white at the beginning of his career)

    Mickey Mouse, serving as helmsman before Peg-L...

    A steamboat captain with an extra's wages.

So what are the implications of this scarcity of goods? Well first, the fact that a scarcity exists means that there must be some kind of market for those goods. Assuming that cartoons are endowed with the knowledge of their creator, cartoon society should also realize that there is a necessity for currency.

This raises a key question: what is the currency? In some cartoons, the currency is fairly typical–paper bills and coins. But does every cartoon have the necessary ability to earn that money? What kind of work must be done to spread that currency?

Well, it all falls in the hands of actors. Many cartoons (the ancillary flavor characters) serve simple, one-minded purposes. The Sheriff of Nottingham only serves to chase the king’s enemies. The shopkeep in Beauty and the Beast exists to supply the residents of a subjugated town with the goods they need to survive. The teacher in Animaniacs teaches. She doesn’t do any more.

But what about the big names? What is Bugs Bunny‘s job? Mickey Mouse? Yakko, Wakko, and Dot? They seem to bounce around filling holes where they are needed.

That’s because they’re actors. They alone have the necessary skills to interact with artists, and in this way they are directly in tune with their gods (that’ll be explained in a future post). Therefore, it takes little time for these actors to be deified. They can convince the gods to put wealth in their compatriots pockets, and they can see to it that new land is created and color is put where color should be.

Bugs Bunny and the black hunter.

Here’s an example of it in action.

In “Legion Hare” Bugs Bunny is cast in a role with Yosemite Sam. Those two actors work with a number of cartoons in a Roman setting. What does that mean?

  • First, a new land is created–that of Ancient Rome.
  • Second, the Lions, the Roman Guards, and the Nero character are all given work and existence. Their roles as professionals confers that they have currency. Thus, wealth is created.

This suddenly explains why the cartoon world would deify their actors. Still, it doesn’t quite explain why we do it in our world?

Unless we value Hollywood’s worlds that much, too.

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