Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Best podcasts ever

As I mention in my talk on the financial crisis, the best journalism I've seen on the topic has come from the public radio show This American Life. Their latest is a crystal clear report on the current status of the banking crisis, focusing on bank balance sheets and the question of nationalization. At the end there is a shorter segment illustrating how hard it will be at ground level to deal with individual foreclosures and bad mortgages. This has my highest recommendation: Bad Bank.

Their earlier show on the mechanics of the out of control mortgage industry is: The Giant Pool of Money. (My comments here.)

Below is a graph mentioned in the Bad Bank podcast, displaying total US household debt relative to GDP over time.



Thanks to multiple readers who alerted me to the new podcast!

3 comments:

anon said...

The wizard of Wharton intimates that Great depression II is in the offing.

What if any will be the real political consequences of a Great Depression II? Was december 25, 1991 really the day history ended?

Why is a quote from an Italian Communist Steve's motto.

rz said...

Check out planet money, the regular program by Kestenbaum & Blumberg. I can vouch for it as awesome along with EconTalk, which I think you listen to.

Chris said...

On Steve's motto, see this from Wikipedia:

A number of scholars have suggested that, although optimism and pessimism might seem like opposites, in psychological terms they do not function in this way. Having more of one does not mean you have less of the other. The factors that reduce one do not necessarily increase the other. On many occasions in life we need both in equal supply. Antonio Gramsci famously called for "pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will": the one the spur to action, the other the resilience to believe that such action will result in meaningful change even in the face of adversity.

Hope can become a force for social change when it combines optimism and pessimism in healthy proportions. John Braithwaite, an academic at the Australian National University, suggests that in modern society we undervalue hope because we wrongly think of it as a choice between hopefulness and naïveté as opposed to scepticism and realism.


I'm sure the fact that Gramsci was a Communist is completely incidental to Steve's interest in using his slogan as a motto. It should make perfect sense to any friend of democracy (and capitalism). ☺

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