The economics and stratification of My Little Pony.

Oscar Moralde takes a look at the stratification in skill and power in the show My Little Pony.

In fact, most of the stories written by Faust and her staff, although ostensibly about the power of friendship, also happen to be about the allocation of scarce resources (“Ticket Master”), correcting inefficiencies in the organization of labor (“Winter Wrap-Up”), or averting famine in the city of Ponyville (“Swarm of the Century”). Several of the threats in the series—the prospect of eternal night, an infestation of locust-like pests, and a blanket of dragon’s smoke over the town—are presented in the context of permanently crippling Ponyville’s economic productivity. Unlike The Smurfs, which proposed a fantasy world centered on a collectivist community, Equestria has a market economy through which a wide variety of goods and services are bought and sold. And in this economy, there is an equivalent to industrial technology: unicorn magic…

The pegasi can perform functions that the unicorns cannot, such as repositioning clouds to create rain or flying to guide migratory birds. But where does that leave your proletarian earth-pony? It certainly wouldn’t be as co-equal participants in the economic life of Ponyville. There are rudimentary stabs at the development of mechanical technology by earth-ponies, as seen in the character of Pinkie Pie. In fact, Pinkie Pie is the best representation of the tension between the show’s strong feminist themes and its questionable economic foundation; although she appears to be the ditzy party animal of the group, she also displays considerable skill in science and engineering. She devises a technical solution to Ponyville’s infestation problems in a scenario where magic has failed, and in the episode “Griffon the Brush-Off” she channels Leonardo da Vinci and builds a flying machine in order to keep up with the pegasus Rainbow Dash. However, Pinkie’s flying machine is smashed by a jealous griffon, showing that technology can be destroyed or expropriated more easily than innate magical ability can.

One thought on “The economics and stratification of My Little Pony.

  1. Maphisto86 October 10, 2012 at 19:58

    Oh man. Never thought I would see the day. Though I have to admit the “Winter Wrap up” episode did strike me as a veiled apology for Taylorism.
    ; )

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