A short critique of Elysium’s economic tomfoolery

It takes quite the movie to present such stunning visuals, yet mired by a premise so ludicrous that I become distracted and do other things, turning my eyes away from the screen to check my emails or read a thread on a forum.

There are all kinds of ideas presented in this film that make no economic sense, but the one that frustrated me the most was the idea that these amazing health care devices that can cure anything in seconds would be restricted to a select group of people based on their membership in the Elysium “club”.

1. Artificial scarcity that makes no sense

Why does it make no sense? Because like with all medical advances, the people who invent these technologies stand to profit far more from making them widely available to everyone who can afford them. At first the prices would be high, just as the first cars were expensive. But the more people consume the product, the more it is mass produced, and the more the per/unit treatment cost falls. Never mind that with treatment that takes a few mere seconds queues would be non-existent even with socialized care.

Just look at the world of computers today. Two decades ago only wealthy people could afford to buy laptops, and smartphones didn’t even exist. Now you go into a poor neighborhood of a developed country and half the kids have smartphones. There’s absolutely no way Tech. firms could have made the kinds of profit they had if their technologies weren’t widely adopted by hundreds of millions of people.

2. Corporate health care is gone?

Now let’s talk about Max, the employee who was irradiated with a deadly dose. We are led to believe that in the future, he would have zero legal recourse, and that furthermore, it would be cheaper to just let a skilled worker die than heal him in a few seconds and get him back to work. For that matter, they could have healed his previous arm injury too.

None of this makes any sense. The corporation he works for could have easily healed him and benefited in three major ways:

1. They would not have to pay for the costs of retraining new labor.

2. They would have a PR story for the press about how they saved their worker with their amazing healthcare plan. (And PR does matter within the upside-down inside-out universe of Elysium, as we are reminded several times when it comes to President Patel.)

3. They would avoid any possible litigation or scandal.

Instead mister Blomkamp would have us believe that billionaires will throw away opportunities to make a buck and a positive impression for the media. In the 1910’s Henry Ford raised the wages of his workers to record highs to attract skilled labor to his corporation. But in the future of magical healthcare that can bring back people with end-stage cancer, suddenly everyone but the mega-rich are disposable?

Nothing rips me out of a Sci-Fi movie faster than people acting against human nature. You can show me miracle healing tubes and intelligent walking robots and I’ll suspend disbelief, but show me greedy businessmen making decisions that cause them to lose profit and the believability of your movie just went through the floor. Remember, we’re not talking about one businessman making a stupid decision, Elysium portrays the entire population of wealthy people as idiots.

In today’s world “greedy” corporations spend a lot of money offering their employees better health benefits than their competition to attract workers, but they wouldn’t use magic tech to almost instantaneously heal a dying employee?

3. Where are the charities?

Finally, the screenwriters would have us believe that in the presence of such awesome technology, no charities or businessmen (at least for selfish PR reasons) bothered to make a couple of these medical facilities available to cancer-ridden children? Seriously? Okay, well what about the President who cares so much about PR – why wouldn’t he make a program involving the exchange of healthcare for votes?

According to the makers of this movie, in the fascistic future the wealthiest people are all dumb-asses who hoard technological innovation for themselves rather than raking in massive profits, blatantly acting against their own self-interest. You know, it’s one thing to think up dystopian worlds that make sense (like a progression from freedom to fascism in America as the U.S. government continues to expand its surveillance and police state powers), and it’s another thing entirely to write this drivel.

3 thoughts on “A short critique of Elysium’s economic tomfoolery”

  1. I will quote Original Poster with (“a,b,c”) And reply with (-a,b,c-)
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    “It takes quite the movie to present such stunning visuals, yet mired by a premise so ludicrous that I become distracted and do other things, turning my eyes away from the screen to check my emails or read a thread on a forum.”

    -It sounds like a Movie Critic wanabee to me; this make me think about you in the theater trying to create attention from people around you, waiting for someone to ask You “why you are checking your emails or Reading a thread on a forum”, to start talking-

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    “There are all kinds of ideas presented in this film that make no economic sense, but the one that frustrated me the most was the idea that these amazing health care devices that can cure anything in seconds would be restricted to a select group of people based on their membership in the Elysium “club”.”

    -They are, thats the whole plot indeed, how do you understand economics has nothing to do in this or any Science-Fiction Movie-

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    “1. Artificial scarcity that makes no sense

    Why does it make no sense? Because like with all medical advances, the people who invent these technologies stand to profit far more from making them widely available to everyone who can afford them. At first the prices would be high, just as the first cars were expensive. But the more people consume the product, the more it is mass produced, and the more the per/unit treatment cost falls. Never mind that with treatment that takes a few mere seconds queues would be non-existent even with socialized care.

    -Thats the main point of the plot, The Elite group that live in Elysium, just dont want to share their advantages, they are rich enough to just dont care in their private country club, there is not profit margin to care about, they just want to live apart and leave the world problems behind; the med pods are just the cherry on top of the selfishness of what represent Elysium, they just dont even care about profits, they just dont care about anybody, only in their way of life.-

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    “Just look at the world of computers today. Two decades ago only wealthy people could afford to buy laptops, and smartphones didn’t even exist. Now you go into a poor neighborhood of a developed country and half the kids have smartphones. There’s absolutely no way Tech. firms could have made the kinds of profit they had if their technologies weren’t widely adopted by hundreds of millions of people.”

    -Exactly, after that, they just create Elysium, and leaves earth; with the money made by their investments, they created their own perfect world, leaving behind only a industrial base economy to exploit the under pay working people; exploited in a society with too much people for one working spot, so like in the industrial revolution, workers have to accept whatever working conditions imposed by the wealthy and powerfull; and to do their dirty opression work create the police robots to keep the people under the iron boot preventing a mass revolution; the “lo-teks” try to keep a guerrilla like warfare against the system trying to let poor people to get inside Elysium; and there is attempts to infiltrate people there for differents reasons, one for illegal inmigrants to live there, others just to heal; at the end is a military/political victory everytime they suscced, You try to impose your own parallel world/logic in the Elysium one, and missing complety the point.-

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    “2. Corporate health care is gone?

    Now let’s talk about Max, the employee who was irradiated with a deadly dose. We are led to believe that in the future, he would have zero legal recourse, and that furthermore, it would be cheaper to just let a skilled worker die than heal him in a few seconds and get him back to work. For that matter, they could have healed his previous arm injury too.”

    -Yes, its more expensive to heal anyone, as the cost of the procedure is not explained is just what it is; Carlyle (For me a reference to the Carlyle Corp.) make this subject very clear, He just dont even want/need to pay for new white sheets for the injured worker, also his only concern is why the Factory stopped mass production. And as stated before, there is a lot of people waitting for that working spot, so its cheaper to let him die as to give him a medical procedure; its so sadistic as the med-robot who make Max sign the form to recieve the pain killers beign a obviously lawsue responsability release.-

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    “None of this makes any sense. The corporation he works for could have easily healed him and benefited in three major ways:

    1. They would not have to pay for the costs of retraining new labor.”

    -There is no retraining needed, is cheaper to pick a new one from the lot.-

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    “2. They would have a PR story for the press about how they saved their worker with their amazing healthcare plan. (And PR does matter within the upside-down inside-out universe of Elysium, as we are reminded several times when it comes to President Patel.)”

    -There is no need for that, and we are reminded several times as a sarcatisc point from Jodie Foster, and it implies that a L.A. worker dont even worth the press history, remember the Factory where Max Works is property of Carlyle.-

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    “3. They would avoid any possible litigation or scandal.”

    -Nothing is going to happen/change, thats the point of the decision/situation.-

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    “Instead mister Blomkamp would have us believe that billionaires will throw away opportunities to make a buck and a positive impression for the media. In the 1910’s Henry Ford raised the wages of his workers to record highs to attract skilled labor to his corporation. But in the future of magical healthcare that can bring back people with end-stage cancer, suddenly everyone but the mega-rich are disposable?”

    -You answer your own question with your own example, we are set in this situation, with this owner, with his ways of doing things; the movie is not about Henry Ford in 1910, it is about Carlyle in the year 2154, just remember the part when He said to the floor manager “never breath (or talk) into my direction again” you want to set your own parallel story/logic missing completely the point.-

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    “Nothing rips me out of a Sci-Fi movie faster than people acting against human nature. You can show me miracle healing tubes and intelligent walking robots and I’ll suspend disbelief, but show me greedy businessmen making decisions that cause them to lose profit and the believability of your movie just went through the floor. Remember, we’re not talking about one businessman making a stupid decision, Elysium portrays the entire population of wealthy people as idiots.”

    -No, Elysium portraits a Elite part of the population who use their own wealth to be apart from the world problems, they understand the diference between good and bad, they just decided to do good for them and let bad happens to everyone, so no idiocy.-

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    “In today’s world “greedy” corporations spend a lot of money offering their employees better health benefits than their competition to attract workers, but they wouldn’t use magic tech to almost instantaneously heal a dying employee?”

    -Again the same logic, in the society portrayed in Elysium, there is no corporate competition, they just exploit the over populated employment demand.-

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    “3. Where are the charities?”

    -They may be somewhere, but not in this particular case.-

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    “Finally, the screenwriters would have us believe that in the presence of such awesome technology, no charities or businessmen (at least for selfish PR reasons) bothered to make a couple of these medical facilities available to cancer-ridden children? Seriously? Okay, well what about the President who cares so much about PR – why wouldn’t he make a program involving the exchange of healthcare for votes?”

    -The people who vote are Elysiums citizens, who elect Elysiums president, there is a medical pod in every house in Elysium, so i dont see that Exchange plausible; maybe in a country were you came from to feel better about yourself, but nt in Elysium; in Elysium you vote for matters that affect you in Elysium, please embrace the idea of what Elysium represent in the set provided by the history in hand, not in your own parallel universe.-

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    “According to the makers of this movie, in the fascistic future the wealthiest people are all dumb-asses who hoard technological innovation for themselves rather than raking in massive profits, blatantly acting against their own self-interest. You know, it’s one thing to think up dystopian worlds that make sense (like a progression from freedom to fascism in America as the U.S. government continues to expand its surveillance and police state powers), and it’s another thing entirely to write this drivel.”

    -Please, remember that the origin of the filmmakers is South African, its just a portrait of the Apartheid, like Sector 9, its so brillant as that; The White Facist goverment of the Afrikaans are so racists, if Aliens from outter space come to earth they will Apartheid them; if they cant, they just leave earth and créate Elysium, and if Elysium get full of undesirable people, they will create Asgar, and the Olympus, and then Bukingham, and then Beverly Hills, and so forth; its hard for me when you use words as “dystopian worlds”, becouse thats the sole Word that destroy all your long intake of Elysium, making your logic to review the movie/story/plot useless.-

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    “Reprinted from http://www.libertarianprepper.com/short-critique-elysiums-economic-tom foolery/”

    -Oh my, should knew this before starting typing.-

    ________________________

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    “I’d appreciate any input. Am I the only one who noticed the massive gaps in economic sense in this movie? Is it asking too much for the producer of a movie with a $115 million budget to hire an economic adviser who can talk some sense into him, or perhaps the purpose of this movie is a not-so-well-hidden message of class hatred?”

    -It is not hidden, its the main plot and the sole purpose of the movie/history/plot,You just wandered above it, and missed the whole point: There is people who just dont care about you, with money and with no money; selfishness is destroying this world, In Elysium Universe is mainly the people with money.-

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    “Reprinted from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1535108/board/thread/219744491?p=9&d=221372398#221372398

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