Economic Psychology: What If You Were the Last Person on Earth?

A dystopian scenery where many abandoned vehicles are left on the street

What would I do if I were Will Smith?

I like sci-fi stories (and movies). I think they are excellent thought experiments to create a completely different world, which always stimulate my interest. For example, “1984” by George Orwell is the story of what if the world is completely ruled by totalitarianism. “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (the movie was titled “Blade Runner,” and I really like it) elaborates an imaginary world where androids evolve their intelligence to become more human than humans. The starter of this article is “I Am Legend” starring Will Smith. As most of you know, it’s the movie portraying the last man on earth.

If you watched the movie, I believe you’ve imagined “What would I do if I were Will Smith?” In fact, I did many times and was shocked every time to find the simple fact that I can’t live long by myself. Mind you, I literally mean it and am not talking about a mental or philosophical issue.

I am not legend at all…

In the movie, Will Smith searched houses and stores for (mainly canned) food. Of course, I would do the same but soon come to feel insecure by thinking “What if I eat up all the canned food?” I don’t know how to preserve food and how to make cans and can openers. OK, I can give up canned food, but what about water? Do you know the fatal rule of three? We can only live without air for three minutes; without water for three days: without food for three weeks. No doubt. In the world of “I Am Legend,” I will die in three days after finishing the last bottle of water.

Cannot live without interdependence

Different from food including water, clothing and shelter don’t go bad soon. Fortunately, I may have no troubles even after becoming the last man on earth, but it doesn’t mean the second and third necessities of life are unaffected by losing modern civilization based on science and technology. The inconvenient truth remains that the modern world is filled with things I don’t know. In other words, the modern world exists based on our collective knowledge and interdependence. I sometimes think this potential anxiety may drive people to our factory tour.

Come and join our factory tour!

I think it’s difficult to see how to shape and join the parts of our furniture only by looking at the finished products. Most of them are seamless and organic in shape, and the joint parts are always covered up. Indeed, it’s sometimes difficult even for us, staff not in the product development and production departments. In order to relieve the potential anxiety over the future dystopia world, please come and join our factory tour.


Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.