Economic History of the MCU
April 27, 2015 at 3:05 pm #48815
DeanMoriarty Well Actually
So I was watching Daredevil on Netflix and all I could think was ‘why the hell is the NY of the MCU so much poorer and more dangerous than the real New York.’ I mean, I’m pretty sure Hell’s Kitchen now is probably full of million dollar apartments owned by people who probably don’t even live there.
They mention the events of The Avengers destroying much of the neighborhood, but that doesn’t explain the fact that when Matt Murdock grew up there ( in the 90’s) it was still a dangerous and ‘gritty’ place.
My theory right now, is that b/c Tony Stark ( and his dad) was more or less the sole seller of defense tech to the gov’t the tech boom of the ’90s never happened in the MCU. Therefore, NY was never completely gentrified.
Though I think this may be slightly incomplete, I think there would also have to be something in the late ’70s early ’80s in the MCU that split its economic history with our own. Not sure what it would be though, and I’m actually not that versed in the Marvel Canon.
What do you all think? What could have made the MCU’s NY (and probably all US cities) stay poor and dangerous?April 27, 2015 at 9:57 pm #48821
Mark Lee OTI Staff
This is a great question. I haven’t been watching Daredevil, but I’m reasonably caught up with the rest of the MCU.
First, some context: what factors led to the gentrification of NYC, specifically, Manhattan and neighborhoods like Hell’s Kitchen? The general economic boom of the 90’s might have something to do with it, but it wouldn’t be the first place I would turn to.
Instead, I would point to:
The historic reduction in crime
The rehabilitation of NYC’s subway system
A steady stream of immigrants
And, of course, the massive influx of wealth generated by the financial services sector
And a bazillion other things. I’m not an expert on NYC history, but I think it’s fair to say that the reversal of NYC’s fortunes is a complex phenomenon and far from a neat narrative.
It’s easy to imagine the events of the MCU having all sorts of outsized sociological effects on American urban environments. Tony Stark’s influence on the economy would probably just be one small piece of that puzzle.
I feel like Fenzel is uniquely qualified among the Overthinkers to weigh in on this…April 28, 2015 at 11:32 pm #48849
Liffer In A Way
Not Fenzel, but here’s an idea: Many assume that superheroes are created by a need for them to exist (either in their home locale, or they relocate to the site of high-crime). But could it also be possible that the existence of one or more superheroes CAUSES crime to persist or even escalate?
This leading treatise offers the idea that superheroes may, like a weak antibiotic, appear to function well in the short-term, but allow even bigger problems to crop up later. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SuperheroParadox
Additionally, many superheroes themselves may skew the crime and quality-of-life metrics (even if most of their offenses are not indicted). http://www.superheronation.com/2011/09/18/which-crimes-do-most-superheroes-commit
Both of those factors working together could certainly make superheroes’ home neighborhoods unattractive to middle class residents who will flee from the constant violence and avoid moving there if they can. Thus, these neighborhoods and cities don’t attract the wealthy or young professionals that are necessary to gentrification.April 30, 2015 at 3:46 pm #48855
Peter Fenzel OTI Staff
This might be a big enough topic that I should just write an article about it.May 1, 2015 at 1:11 pm #48868
DeanMoriarty Well Actually
I would love to read a whole article on this. In case it helps, here are some more thoughts in response to the response:
I imagine that whatever economic trends are affecting the MCU would affect all of the US. My knowledge of NYC is incomplete, since I’ve never lived there. But I think the trends toward gentrification/lower crime rates are similar to Chicago and L.A. (two cities I have lived in or very near to.) I do know that the reduction of crime in the mid to late ’90s happened in most American cities and the reasons for it are still a topic of debate.
I started with Tony Stark b/c he is one thing that most obviously doesn’t exist in the real universe. Also based on RDJ’s real age, we could guess that Tony Stark’s company would have taken off right around the mid 80’s to early 90’s. Which would put it at a time to theoretically affect the defense spending and economic policies of Reagan/Bush (are the POTUSes the same in the MCU?) and the burgeoning tech boom.
I like the idea of superheroes affecting the crime rates (or perception of crime rates) in the MCU. I guess the question would be, how early did superheroes show up? early enough for the superhero paradox to affect real estate prices in a 90’s Hell’s Kitchen? I don’t watch Agent Carter, does that show give us any clues?
Finally, in Daredevil, the differences between the economy of our world and MCU are more pronounced. In the movies there actually doesn’t seem to be that big a difference, or at least it’s not as obvious.May 19, 2015 at 9:23 am #48957
One thing that interest me is the politic of the MCU
I mean the Vice-President of the United States was shown as helping a theorist plot against the United States president (with the secret service being completly oblivious to it)
Later a major intelligence was shown to be under the control of Nazi Scientists and almost killed millions of people, including the president (with again the white house being oblivious to it, in fact the head of the organisation, also a member, was the president secretary of state)
Someone not getting a second term
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