The holding of cash, stocks, bonds, and other financial assets is an act of faith: faith that the assets will hold their value into the future when they can be converted into consumption. Throughout history, the ephemeral nature of value has been forgotten during periods of low inflation and financial stability. Yet repeatedly, these periods have ended abruptly. Asset values dissolve instantaneously like a car wreck, or slowly but inexorably like a chronic disease. This does not affect only “Wall Street.” It affects “Main Street” as well.
In this program, we will examine the nature of money, finance, monetary policy and power in the world market system. We will focus on historical moments of financial volatility, hyper-inflation and collapsing speculative bubbles. This will aid us in understanding the 2008 economic crash, the lessons learned and perhaps now forgotten. We will consider what government’s roles should be in regulating financial sectors. As we explore these issues, we will be conscious of how the structure of our financial system differentially impacts the poor, people of color, the working class, and the holders of financial instruments (e.g., the rich and pension funds).
The program will consist of three parts. Morning lecture and workshop will focus on introduction to macroeconomics and quantitative methods. Afternoon seminars will focus on mainstream, institutionalist, Keynesian and political economy interpretations of historical and current financial crises. Finally, students will complete two mini-projects related to money, finance and/or economic justice.
This program will be fully remote, using Canvas and Zoom. To successfully participate, students will need a reliable internet connection and regular access to a computer. Students are expected to attend live, interactive sessions with program faculty and peers 12 hours per week. If at some point during the quarter, students find themselves unable to participate in live sessions due to extenuating circumstances, they can work with faculty to pursue alternate options to earn related credit.
Course Reference Numbers
business, government and non-profits.