Quite possibly the best horror film of all time is the 1979 masterpiece directed by Ridley Scott. We are, of course, referring to the movie Alien.
The movie begins on board the USCSS Nostromo, an intergalactic commercial mining spaceship which is transporting raw ore from a far off planet back to Earth.
Their journey is interrupted, however, by a distress signal coming from another spacecraft which has crashed on a nearby planet; and the crew decide to make a detour and check out this distress signal.
Predictably, things go horribly wrong. One of the crew members, the late John Hurt, is attacked by a ‘face-hugger’ creature which plants an alien inside his chest. The baby alien gestates inside him and, just as the crew are eating their dinner, bursts out from his rib cage in one of the most icon scenes in Hollywood history. In a matter of hours the baby alien grows up into a big scary monster that kills off the rest of the crew one by one … apart from Sigourney Weaver, who managed to defeat the alien foe whilst wearing her underpants!!
And what, in the name of John Maynard Keynes, has economics got to do with this? Well, it turns out that economic forces were acting behind the scenes the whole time.
Consider that, with asymmetric information on their side, the owners of the mining ship found out about the alien and knew how dangerous it was but didn’t tell the crew. The ship’s owners simply ordered the crew to return to Earth. It’s obvious the ship’s owners carried out a cost-benefit analysis here and concluded that the lives of the crew, and perhaps all of humanity, were worth less than the life of the alien. Moreover, you could also interpret the movie as a metaphor for the ‘alienation’ of the worker.