Economics for the rest of us

The real story – of any big story, scandal, crisis, etc – is always far more complex than it first (and often lastingly) appears.  The US Civil War.  The Rwandan genocide.  Oh, and the current economic crisis.

I’ve made reference to a couple of great podcasts that I’ve listened to (and continue to listen to) that attempt to explain the complexity of the current economic meltdown, and several people have asked me about them.  I don’t make any claim that these are the definitive explanations, but they do add up a lot of the pieces, and for the most part stay out of the way of political finger-pointing.  If you actually believe that such reporting is possible in the world of the media bias, then I encourage you to listen to the following podcasts. 

The first two are single special-report episodes culled from This American Life’s varied archive.  Each is an hour long, and contains an amazing amount of detail into how insanley complicated the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and then subsequent commercial paper market.  See?  I’m already a jargon expert!

These link directly to the episodes on TAL.  If you subscribe via iTunes, you can probably go back in the archives and download these directly to your podcast engine of choice.  Don’t forget to donate fr this free and informative service they are offering!

Episode #355:  Giant Pool of Money (April 11, 2008)
Episode #365:  Another Frightening Show About the Economy (Oct 3, 2008)
Then catch up on the day to day madness with the Planet Money podcast (and blog), put together specifically during these last weeks to cover the ever-changing situation. 

And in case anyone thinks this is just liberal media babble, one of the (normally level-headed) commentators compares the US buying into banks like the kind of socialism found …. not in Europe, where national industries have long had a history of government oversight and intervention (fr whatever that is worth) and only recently been privatized… but in Iraq, where a factory waits for orders to produce shoes even though people outside are walking barefoot.  Yes, the US buying into banks is not a first step that could bring us closer to our European socialized medicine brethren – for better and worse – but to extreme dictatorial socialism.  Nonetheless, brave through it, coz the podcast is worth it….


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