International economics in popular culture

Watching an old West Wing episode, I encountered this odd line from Jed Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen), the Nobel laureate and President in Aaron Sorkin’s popular series:

When I was 26, I wrote a paper supporting the deregulation of Far East trade barriers. Nearly got thrown out of the London School of Economics. I was young and stupid, and trying to make some noise.

Does “deregulation of trade barriers” mean liberalisation? When would that have been so unpopular? And has anyone ever been “thrown out” of a department for research activities?

What are the best and worst appearances by international economics in popular entertainment?