Aug 16, 2017

What Game of Thrones can teach you about economics

Weapons from the Game of Thrones are on display at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland (Peter Morrison / AP)

For an audio and text series, "Wealth of Westeros," AP's economics team is digging into market lessons embedded in "Game of Thrones." Today's episode: "What you don't know could get you killed," by Josh Boak, Paul Wiseman and Christopher Rugaber:

  • "The imbalance in knowledge is what economists call 'asymmetric information' — when one party in a transaction knows more than the other and can exploit the advantage. It can be bad for economies. And it's certainly bad for the people of Westeros as the threat of Whitewalkers drew closer in the seventh season's fifth episode, Eastwatch."
  • "The episode ended with Jon Snow leading six others beyond the Wall. They're on a possible suicide mission to capture a wight — a re-animated corpse controlled by the Whitewalkers."
  • "Why? Because of the imbalance of the knowledge, the group hopes to prove that the threat is real to Queen Cersei in order to unite Westeros' warring factions against a common and demonic enemy. Little do they know that Cersei is already prepared to call a truce, providing only more evidence about the challenges caused by asymmetric information."
  • "Storytellers have relied on dramatic irony since Ancient Greece. But Game of Thrones is really detailing a fundamental challenge that markets are struggling to address — what to do when information is far from perfect and carefully guarded instead of shared."

Read the story. Listen to the series.

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