A good friend of mine is an Economics professor. He’s the smartest guy in the room when it comes to our troubled economy — the subprime debacle, the Wall Street bailout , the Federal deficit. He has the ability to explain our precarious financial situation in a way that I (a liberal arts major) can grasp it.
We frequently have dinner together. The other night, over grilled salmon and couscous, he said to me, “We’ve been talking about this for two years now, and although I love talking with you about it, I’m going to prescribe some homework.”
My assignment, watch the PBS Frontline Special series, “Money, Power and Wall Street.” I was a good liberal arts student who always did his homework.
You see, nine out of ten economic experts you will meet at a cocktail party, when asked what really went wrong with the economy, will instantly default to the answer that gets them out of an unwieldy three hour economic industry discourse. They’ll say, “It’s complicated.”
Well, here’s a shocker: it’s really not.
The PBS Frontline special series, “Money, Power and Wall Street,” is a gift for those of us who can only skirt around the edges of the meltdown conversation, and can make easy small talk without knowing how it really went down. The struggles, the band-aid repair jobs, the shattered dreams of those who lost their pensions, the tenuous partnership (or lack thereof) between government and the private financial industry — it’s all there, in plain English, and it’s an epiphany for those of us who think we know the real story.
Do you just pretend to know what when wrong and how, by invoking only the sexiest, most ironic, entertaining and puzzling bit and pieces about the debacle?
Your assignment: watch the series, and you’ll know exactly what you don’t know, and leave the experience with the information you need to know, so you can talk about it with other non-economics experts, for example, your clients.