Candy may be the coin of the realm for appeasing spooks on Halloween night, but who will be the economic winners and losers if we awake on November 1 to find that the economy has been transformed by a Zombie Apocalypse? There’s no need for panic. Two faculty members of the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics will provide the answers at an outdoor book-signing event for their newly published Economics of the Undead: Zombies, Vampires and the Dismal Science, to take place on the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) campus (between Juniper Hall and Noski Auditorium) on Thursday, October 30, at 5:30 p.m.
Editors of the book, which was published this summer by Rowman and Littlefield, are Drs. Glen Whitman and James Dow, professors of economics and finance, respectively, in CSUN’s Nazarian College. Drs. Whitman and Dow and contributing authors from around the world applied their expertise from economics, law, taxation and other relevant domains for chapters such as “To Truck, Barter … and Eat Your Brains!!!: Pursuing Prosperity in a Post-productive World,” “Investing Secrets of the Undead,” “Zombification Insurance,” “Monsters of Capital: Vampires, Zombies and Consumerism,” “Taxation of the Undead: Nonsentient Entities” and “Tragedy of the Blood Commons: The Case for Privatizing the Humans.”
“Economic issues take center stage in many undead narratives—and when they don’t, they’re still lurking in the shadows,” say Drs. Whitman and Dow in the book’s introduction. “Is there enough food to fill all those hungry mouths? Do humans have the resources, mental and physical, it takes to survive? Will people be able to cooperate with others to fight a collective threat—or will humanity descend into chaos and disorder? These are questions that the discipline of economics is uniquely positioned to address.”
Economics of the Undead has captured national attention since its announcement. The zombie craze has infiltrated legal blogs, college courses, and even disease control and prevention, but the work by Whitman, Dow and their colleagues is the first to bring economic reasoning to bear on the undead phenomenon, in a treatment that is simultaneously scholarly and entertaining. It has been featured in coverage by The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and is the focus of a growing number of online blogs and reviews, as well as a forthcoming episode of Freakonomics Radio.
An expert in microeconomics, applied game theory, and economic analysis of law, Dr. Whitman has been on the CSUN faculty since earning his Ph.D. from New York University in 2000 and has numerous publications and scholarly presentations at leading academic conferences to his credit. He is also an active and accomplished television writer, having written for the shows ”Fringe” and “Matador.”
Dr. Dow holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and is a former economist for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and chair of CSUN’s Department of Finance, Financial Planning, and Insurance. His scholarly work in the areas of household financial management and the institutional economics of financial structure has been widely published.