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A lot of symbolism can be interpreted in popular zombie films.
The undead are the ultimate other of any us-and-them division, especially if you consider us to be savvy and them to be brainless. But Zombies were not used as just a frightening enemy, but were used to show the ills of the society: consumerism, capitalism, terrorism, etc.
Zombie economics refers to theories or ideas that are long gone, but still refuse to die.
At this basic metaphorical level, "zombie economics," for example, can describe socialists or free-market thinking, depending on which side you believe holds the monopoly on functioning synapses.
... refers to a powerful image of what governments try to do to their citizens — to create a uniform, homogeneous population, incapable of acting independently.
American popular culture is overflowing with doomsday prophecies and end-of-the-world scenarios.. is there some weird kind of wish-fulfillment at work in all these visions of near-universal death and destruction?
Wish fulfillment refers to the satisfaction of a desire through an involuntary thought process such as dreams. BUT the term can be misleading. Wish fulfillment does not designate the obviously desirable things one might openly wish for.
... might be described as federalist in spirit. The aim seems to be to reduce the size of government radically and thereby to bring it closer to the people. Cut back to regional or local units, government becomes manageable again and ordinary people get to participate in it actively, recovering a say in the decisions that affect their lives.
In some cases, people lose something valuable but later on discovers that the apocalypse has some advantages: being closer with the family, more personal health care, etc.
There is, at a very deep level, a growing dissatisfaction with the centralized status quo. But for most people, the solution is far from clear. In the popular imagination, central government is associated with order; the state and the society are understood to rise and fall together. What we have lost is the key insight of the classical liberal tradition that society runs itself, that liberty is the wellspring of balance and order. Not only does the growing government bureaucracy reduce our wealth and our welfare; it is also the cause of the very chaos we fear.
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