Government Intervention · Jesse

ABC Stores

Jesse is attending a camp focused on people trying to correct their lives after heavy use of drugs or alcohol. Fed up, he questions if the group leader had every really hurt someone. The group leader shares his experience of killing his daughter after getting drunk. He lived in a state with an ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) store that closed at 5 PM. Some states regulate the sale of alcohol in attempts to limit its consumption, but this can have unintended consequences. Because alcohol is not readily available, some consumers purchase more than they might need. The group leader admits to doing so, drinking too much, and then killing his daughter.

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Government Intervention · Walter

Missing Serial Number

In addition to depicting the underground market for firearms, this clip is also useful to spark a discussion about gun control policies. Walter could purchase a gun legally since he doesn’t have a criminal record, but he’s willing to purchase an illegal one without a serial number.

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Government Intervention · Skyler · Walter

Money Laundering

Skyler starts doing the books for Walter’s drug income and is ready to learn how the money gets laundered. She doesn’t think Saul’s setup is legitimate enough to get past the IRS so she wants to talk to him directly. It turns out that Saul’s ideas seem ludicrous to her. One unintended consequence of policies that outlaw the production/distribution/consumption of drugs is the creation of money-laundering operations such as “Ice Station Zebra Associates”. Walter uses this “company” to launder the money he earns from manufacturing methamphetamine.

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Externalities & Types of Goods · Government Intervention · Skyler

Water Contamination

Skyler gets Bogdan to sell his car wash under an elaborate ruse where it appears he is contaminating the local groundwater. While the company isn’t actually polluting the groundwater, companies that contaminate groundwater are imposing external costs on society and are not accurately accounting for that cost in their pricing. While the optimal amount of groundwater pollution probably isn’t zero, with negative externalities, firms are overproducing. Governments often take a command-and-control approach to some forms of regulation and insist that companies pay steep fines for violations.

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