Money and Banking: What Everyone Should Know

Course No. 5630
Professor Michael K. Salemi, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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Course No. 5630
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Course Overview

From the invention of coins by the ancient Lydians to the 21st-century eurozone, human history tells the story of ingenious financial systems and the never-ending quest for economic solutions. Today, our global economy is both fascinating and dizzyingly complex—challenging even experts to comprehend it fully. But one thing remains clear: Money and finance play a deeply fundamental role in your life.

Money is a social contract that affects the decisions of nations and individuals. Our financial institutions drive our political systems and the growth of nations. And money and banking are indispensable in both your daily financial transactions and your most essential long-term plans. A working knowledge of money and banking systems is critically useful in several ways:

  • It helps you understand the complex and often bewildering world of finance.
  • It helps you to "read" the current economic climate, to make sense of what you see in the media, and to gauge where the economy is headed.
  • It gives you key insights into society and the economic issues in life.
  • It allows you to comprehend integral aspects of history and the way civilization developed.
  • Perhaps most important, it helps you to plan your own life and to make key financial decisions for yourself and your family.

Speaking to all of this in Money and Banking: What Everyone Should Know, economist and award-winning Professor Michael K. Salemi of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill leads you in a panoramic exploration of our monetary and financial systems, their inner workings, and their crucial role and presence in your world. In 36 incisive and detailed lectures, he gives you a penetrating look at the financial institutions that are fundamental to your life and well-being. Beginning with the colorful history of money, including the monetary history of the United States, you investigate pivotal topics, including

  • the crucial role of public confidence in the stability of our financial system;
  • how money is created by commercial and central banks;
  • how "Wall Street" and "Main Street" are inextricably intertwined, each requiring the success of the other;
  • the dramatic history and causes of hyperinflation;
  • the uses of "local" currencies and nontraditional monetary systems;
  • the thorny problem of financial firms that are deemed "too big to fail," and why being named "TBTF" gives firms an incentive to engage in risky investments;
  • the irrational psychology of stock market "bubbles," in which investing becomes speculative gambling; and
  • why the value of the dollar depends on interest rates elsewhere in the world.

Dr. Salemi reveals all of this and more as a great and rousing human story, with remarkable details of how financial systems came into being, the problems they're designed to solve, and how they've evolved and changed. While those with knowledge of economics will find rich depth in these lectures, the course is also a welcoming entry for those with no background in finance.

Explore the Core Institutions of Economic Life

As a guiding theme of the course, you observe the ways in which economies require efficient and evolving financial institutions and markets to fulfill their potential. In building a full view of our financial system, you delve into these vital subjects:

  • Central banks and the Federal Reserve: You learn in depth about the roles and functions of central banks, how they oversee economies and control money supply, and what makes the Fed and the European Central Bank the most powerful financial institutions in the world.
  • Commercial banks: You study the operation of commercial banks and other depository institutions, their asset structure, the services they perform, and the important benefits they provide for depositors, savers, and borrowers.
  • Interest rates and interest rate policy: Five lectures are devoted to the broad subject of interest rates—the economic forces that determine them, their effects in both national and international finance, and how they impact investing and borrowing.
  • Bond and stock markets: You investigate what securities markets offer to investors and the issuers of securities, the ins and outs of stock pricing and bond yields, and why these markets play an essential role in economies.
  • Monetary policy: You study the function of monetary policy on the part of governments, central banks, and the International Monetary Fund in stabilizing economies, intervening in crises, and overseeing the world financial system.
  • Foreign exchange and international banking: You explore topics such as the factors governing currency exchange, how exchange rates affect international trade, and why international banking is a crucial feature of globalization.

Grasp the Workings of a Global System

Across the arc of Money and Banking, you tackle key topics that shed light on the functioning of our financial system as a whole.

Early in the lectures, you study the critical subject of inflation and its relationship to the consumer price index and to excess money growth. You also investigate the causes and implications of the federal deficit and the national debt. Economic growth, it turns out, is directly related to investment in a nation's "capital stock"—the buildings, equipment, and human resources used in the production process.

In the international arena, you learn what happens when a nation imports more than it exports, and the implications of trade deficits in global economic relationships. You consider the important matter of how central banks steer clear of political pressures and the question of monetary policy coordination between nations, weighing the significant benefits to the global economy of cooperation between central banks.

A Dynamic and Multilayer Resource for Learning

Professor Salemi brings these lectures alive with the flair of a provocative and thoroughly engrossing storyteller. An expert in economic education, he communicates the principles of finance as compelling lessons in human ingenuity, showing you vividly how each economic innovation responds to real-life challenges and dilemmas. You engage with detailed case studies, historical incidents, and current events in understanding topics ranging from investment decisions and the regulation of financial firms to the system of "floating" currency exchange rates.

You also study the underlying logic and meaning of financial concepts and the mathematical formulas that express them if you are interested in learning more about the mathematical dimension of money and banking. In addition, Professor Salemi amplifies the lectures with diagrams, graphs, and animations that clearly illustrate the course content. These helpful visual aids are also included in the course guidebook, so audio listeners can consult and take advantage of them as well.

Essential Knowledge for Living

In Money and Banking: What Everyone Should Know, Professor Salemi offers you the rare chance to gain a grounded understanding of our monetary and financial systems in 36 content-rich lectures. This core knowledge is permanently useful, both in comprehending economic systems at home and abroad and in making informed financial choices for yourself.

Take this opportunity to grasp the vital elements of finance that directly affect our way of life, our national concerns, and your own life and future.

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36 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    The Importance of Money
    What is money? Consider the fundamental nature of money as a social contract and a social institution that coordinates economic activity. Explore the connections between financial institutions and economic well-being, including the importance of "stable value money" to trade and the critical roles of healthy banks, efficient asset markets, and monetary policy. x
  • 2
    Money as a Social Contract
    Money developed as a medium of exchange to facilitate trade. Here, learn about five stages in the evolution of money. Beginning with barter, trace the rise of commodities as money, the invention of coins, paper money backed by precious metals, and finally our era's "fiat" money, which has value by agreement alone. x
  • 3
    How Is Money Created?
    Study the invention of paper money in the history of goldsmiths issuing paper receipts backed by gold deposits. Then trace the important history of the gold standard, upon which nations pegged the value of currencies, and the reasons the gold standard was abandoned in 1971. x
  • 4
    Monetary History of the United States
    The U.S. government's role in financial affairs has been historically controversial. Learn about the two failed attempts in early U.S. history to establish a central bank, followed by the system of "national" banks chartered in the 1860s. Follow key issues surrounding national currency and coinage, leading to the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. x
  • 5
    Local Currencies and Nonstandard Banks
    Finance is not just the business of the wealthy. Here, study nontraditional models for solving economic problems, from examples of local currencies galvanizing local economies to "microfinance" arrangements such as Bangladesh's Grameen Bank, which create highly successful savings and loan programs for the poor. x
  • 6
    How Inflation Erodes the Value of Money
    This lecture investigates the factors governing inflation, beginning with an inflation history of the United States over the last century. Learn about the correlation between inflation and the consumer price index, and how inflation is triggered by excess money growth. Also, review inflation's detrimental effects and costs. x
  • 7
    Hyperinflation Is the Repudiation of Money
    The history of hyperinflation offers both a compelling story and a cautionary tale of inflation's damaging effects. Trace the root causes of extreme inflation in governments that finance deficits by printing new money. Then, study key cases of hyperinflation, its "vicious circle" quality, and the inevitable fiscal reform that ends it. x
  • 8
    Saving—The Source of Funds for Investment
    Explore the meaning of "investment" in economics as increases to a nation's "capital stock"—the equipment, technology, and human resources used in the production process. Then see how investment is made possible by domestic saving and foreign borrowing, and how investment is critically related to economic growth. x
  • 9
    The Real Rate of Interest
    Understanding how interest rates work sheds important light on our economy. Study the difference between the "nominal" or agreed-upon interest rate in a loan transaction and the "real" rate of interest. Learn how the "real" rate factors in the rate of inflation to determine the actual cost/benefit of borrowing and lending. x
  • 10
    Financial Intermediaries
    Financial intermediaries or "middlemen" play an important role in modern economies. Investigate how intermediaries such as commercial banks facilitate borrowing and lending, which provide valuable services to each party. Afterward, study the fundamental types of intermediary institutions, including savings banks, mutual funds, money market funds, and insurance companies. x
  • 11
    Commercial Banks
    In learning how commercial banks operate, examine the sources from which banks acquire their funds and how they use the funds they acquire, as well as how assets and liabilities function within banks. Finally, study three formal definitions of money, and how banks literally create money in the process of making loans. x
  • 12
    Central Banks
    Investigate the role and importance of central banks as they provide banking services to commercial banks, focusing on the U.S. Federal Reserve. See how central banks control an economy's interest rates and create money, and how their ability to increase or decrease the money supply makes them the world's most powerful financial institutions. x
  • 13
    Present Value
    Present value is an important formula for computing the current value of payments that will be received or made in the future. Learn how present value is used, in the examples of determining the current value of a savings bond and how much to save per year for future college tuition. x
  • 14
    Probability, Expected Value, and Uncertainty
    This lecture explores how financial decisions are made in the face of future uncertainty. Using the examples of both a dice game and a real-world business strategy, study the statistical tool of "expected value" as a method of predicting possible outcomes. See how the probability of expected profits influences business decisions. x
  • 15
    Risk and Risk Aversion
    Economists have developed ways of assessing people's willingness to take on risk in financial decision making. With reference to the "St. Petersburg Paradox," a classic problem relating to odds in gambling, observe how individuals tend to value the dollars they might lose more highly than the dollars they might win. x
  • 16
    An Introduction to Bond Markets
    Bond markets play a key economic role by channeling funds from savers to government and private entities that need funding beyond their current revenues. In this lecture, study the various types of bond instruments, including Treasury bills, notes, and bonds. Learn also about important factors underlying the federal deficit and the national debt. x
  • 17
    Bond Prices and Yields
    In a deeper look at bonds, investigate how secondary markets for bonds operate and what they offer investors. Study fundamental concepts including the "yield to maturity" of bonds and the "holding period yield" in understanding the link between bond prices and interest rates and how economic events change them. x
  • 18
    How Economic Forces Affect Interest Rates
    Changes in interest rates have widespread economic effects. Consider interest rates as market prices, set by the current market for credit. Then see how interest rates are determined in the long run by patterns of saving and investment, and in the short run by factors such as government deficits and recessions. x
  • 19
    Why Interest Rates Move Together
    The many interest rates in different areas of the economy tend to change together over time. Here, learn about the key factors that govern this, beginning with the ways that interest rates adjust to expected changes in inflation. Observe also how risk in borrowing and lending affects the rate of interest. x
  • 20
    The Term Structure of Interest Rates
    The formula known as the "Expectations Hypothesis" allows analysts to forecast future interest rates and conditions in the credit market. Understand the intuition behind the hypothesis, study the formula itself as it tracks yields on Treasury securities, and see how it benefits borrowers considering mortgages and loans. x
  • 21
    Introduction to the Stock Market
    Stock markets provide individuals the chance to share in the ownership and profits of corporations. Investigate the history of stock markets, their basic functions on behalf of investors, and how trades are made. Finally, learn about the various stock indexes that track the markets, and how mutual funds operate. x
  • 22
    Stock Price Fundamentals
    What determines prices in the stock market? Approach this question first through the "market fundamentals" model of stock prices, a formula linking a firm's capital, profits, and dividends to its share price. Contrast this with the "capital asset pricing model," which evaluates the rate of return an investor requires. x
  • 23
    Stock Market Bubbles and Irrational Exuberance
    This lecture introduces the fascinating group psychology of stock investing. Study the phenomenon of stock market "bubbles," in which prices are driven up without reference to profitability data. Then, grasp the "bubble" mind-set, which triggers speculative buying and selling based only on what others are paying. x
  • 24
    Derivative Securities
    Derivative securities play an important role in finance by allowing business decision makers and private investors to lower risk. See how derivative securities are created using underlying products, and study the major types of derivatives and how they function, including stock options, commodities futures, mutual funds, and "collateralized" debt obligations. x
  • 25
    Asymmetric Information
    Asymmetric information occurs when one party in a financial transaction has more relevant information than another. Learn how this affects financial markets; in particular, the challenges it presents for borrowers and lenders. Also, discover why so few firms issue stocks and bonds, and why banks are so restrictive in regard to loan practices. x
  • 26
    Regulation of Financial Firms
    Consider the case for government bailouts of financial firms, and why such actions are in the public interest. Then examine the types of government regulation of financial institutions, and see how the 20th-century history of bank regulation was a "tug of war" between looser and stricter rules. x
  • 27
    Subprime Mortgage Crisis and Reregulation
    The subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 offers a clear example of breakdown followed by regulatory reform. Trace the dramatic events that led to the crisis, and learn about the mortgage-backed derivative securities that contributed to it. Finally, examine the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, designed to address the crisis's causes. x
  • 28
    Interest Rate Policy at the Fed and ECB
    Interest rate policy is fundamental to the role and function of central banks. Investigate how the Federal Reserve raises and lowers short-term interest rates in pursuing its objectives of stabilizing prices and promoting a healthy economy. Compare the Fed's policies with the European Central Bank's, noting key similarities and differences. x
  • 29
    The Objectives of Monetary Policy
    This lecture asks the question: What should the objectives of a government's monetary policy be? Explore the ways in which monetary policy on the part of central banks affects economies. Study the monetary policy mandates of several different nations, and consider whether the Fed's own dual mandate may be too broad. x
  • 30
    Should Central Banks Follow a Policy Rule?
    The question of policy rules versus policy "discretion" highlights how central banks operate. Examine the case favoring predictable policy by the Fed in addressing economic events, compared with treating each event as unique. Evaluate the claim that the Fed followed a specific policy rule during the term of Alan Greenspan. x
  • 31
    Extraordinary Tools for Extraordinary Times
    Responding to the Great Recession of 2008, the Federal Reserve took unprecedented actions to address the crisis. Here, observe how the Fed intervened in credit markets, provided remedies for banks, and stimulated the economy, and consider the question of whether its actions went too far, paving the way for future inflation. x
  • 32
    Central Bank Independence
    Traditional thinking says that central banks must be independent of political pressures in order to best perform their function. Learn how economists define and measure "independence" and "transparency" of the central banks of the world. Investigate whether greater independence of central banks is associated with desirable economic outcomes. x
  • 33
    The Foreign Exchange Value of the Dollar
    Turning to international finance, grasp how currency exchange rates operate based on demand and supply, and how this system accounts for the devaluing of the U.S. dollar over the last two decades. Also study China's exchange system, which pegs its currency to the U.S. dollar, and its implications for the global economy. x
  • 34
    Exchange Rates and International Banking
    Understanding the movement of exchange rates gives key insight into international banking relationships. Investigate the factors that determine exchange rates in both the short and long run, and learn how economists evaluate currencies as over- or undervalued. Observe how international banks play an ever-increasing role in finance, and why this is so. x
  • 35
    Monetary Policy Coordination
    The coordination of monetary policy between nations has important effects on the world economy. Using specific examples, evaluate the benefits of coordinated interest rate policy versus the outcomes of given nations acting alone. Learn about the International Monetary Fund, its functions, and the role it plays in maintaining worldwide financial stability. x
  • 36
    Challenges for the Future
    In concluding, consider three key questions facing the world's financial systems: Will the United States solve its chronic deficit problem? Will the euro survive? And will financial regulators find a solution for the "too big to fail" problem? Examine the complex challenges posed by these issues and their critical implications for our economic future. x

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Your professor

Michael K. Salemi

About Your Professor

Michael K. Salemi, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Dr. Michael K. Salemi is Professor of Economics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed undergraduate studies in economics at St. Mary's College in Winona, Minnesota, master's degrees in economics from Purdue University and the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, and a doctorate in economics from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis. Professor Salemi has received numerous teaching awards from...
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Reviews

Money and Banking: What Everyone Should Know is rated 3.9 out of 5 by 61.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Uneven But Overall Worthwhile I think many of the criticisms others have advanced are valid -- the professor's sing-song presentation, his occasional misstatements, the overuse of mathematical formulas, the unsuitability of the course for an audio-only format, overly deep dives into readily understood concepts while sometimes glossing over more important but complex topics -- but at the end of the day, I think the course is valuable and worth taking because Prof. Salemi covers this very important subject matter well enough. The topics are well-chosen (if unevenly presented) and timely. As alluded to by others, the professor is a Keynesian, but I did not find him overly "political" (other than one telling declaration that the Great Recession was due to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the Bush tax cuts without any nod to other potential causes (government housing policy, etc.)). All in all, the course is adequate -- not great -- and I think most will find it worthwhile, provided outsized expectations are kept in check.
Date published: 2012-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Overview! I can't recommend this series highly enough - and in fact I have recommended it to many of my friends. As someone nearing retirement (I just turned 60), I wanted a broad understanding of the subject, and Prof. Salemi came through. We started with barter and moved on, by lecture 36, through all of the intricacies of money and banking that I had some familiarity with, but that he explained in a wealth of detail. If you want to understand your place in the financial world, you simply must take this course. Once I was done, I then went on to "Understanding Investments", and I was completely entranced. I know that people reading this are going to think I am simply a shill for the Learning Company, but I can't help it. These courses were just what I needed. I remarked to my brothers, who are of course in nearly my situation, that it made me realize that it is as important for me to understand these concepts of money, banking, and investments, as it was for me to learn my profession when I was in my 20's and 30's. Because, when I retire, I must live on my investments- and therefore this knowledge is as important to me as my professional training was back then. Anyone who wants to understand how to invest and save for retirement, or manage their retirement, should sign up for this course. I recommend it without reservation.
Date published: 2012-08-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Falls short of its potential; avoid audio-only (audio version) This is the first course I've had to return to TGC. It's not that the content was bad, as I found it moderately interesting, but the course was so hard to follow in audio-only that I'm surprised it's even offered in those formats. The charts and equations described are of no value to the listener, and anyone without a strong foundation in mathematics will likely struggle here. The format problem aside, I can't recommend this course. It's all over the map in terms of complexity, from overly simplistic introductory lectures to an incomplete discussion of the financial crisis. There is also no discussion of the history and implementation of the Euro, which has created a second financial crisis in its own right. However, I completely disagree with some reviews that feel this course has a "liberal bias", whatever that means. This is clearly untrue, as the professor champions the austerity policies that have prevented the economies of the world from recovering.
Date published: 2012-06-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Same old drivel Two factors stand out that prompt a low rating. First, the presentation is done in a sing song manner which makes the listener feel as though sitting in an elementery school class. The second has to do with content. Professor Salemi puts forth as solutions policies which are arguably the problems themselves. Generally there is a lack of recognition that the institutions he hoists on a pedastal (Fed, IMF, etc.) are currently being hoisted on their own petard as it becomes obvious their policies have caused and worsened the problems they purport to solve. Don't create the boom if you don't want the bust. A presentation by a professor with a different political philosophy would be a welcome offset. And it would probably add to sales of both courses.
Date published: 2012-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Much Needed Course for Everyone I have purchased the vast majority of the Teaching Company courses in Business and Economics. Prior to this course, I had a good grasp on economic theories, but I felt I was not able to effectively apply what I learned to the real world. When I read in newspaper that FED lowers/raises interest rate, or if a foreign exchange rate goes up or down, I was not able to anticipate what this news would do to each of the markets. I found "Money and Banking" completes my gap of understanding in this area. The basic concepts in finance and how money flows as a result of government policy or international use is relevant to everyone in our highly interconnected world. I personally enjoyed the use of mathematical formulas in the presentation, probably because I have some background in college level mathematics. I think the use of mathematical formulas more accurately captures how each factor affects the overall outcome. I brought the audio version and found myself having to rewind multiple times, especially when the subject was dense. However, it is extremely rewarding once I grasp the formula and the concept that it demonstrates. The multiple rewinds were well worth the effort. I do agree with the comments of other reviewers that this course would be better in the visual format due to the use of mathematical formulas. However, I am grateful that audio format is available so I can take advantage of this wonderful course. I only purchase courses in audio formats because the only time that I have in my busy schedule for the Teaching Company courses is when I commute to work. This course fills a much needed gap in the Teaching Company's Business/ Economics curriculum. It is a highly relevant and timely examination of the strengths and weakness of our financial system, coming after the subprime mortgage crisis. It makes me a better informed citizen on the subject of monetary policy.
Date published: 2012-05-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from One of the very few courses I've chosen to return I quit after 12 of the 36 lectures. The lecturer is pleasant and enthusiastic, and I don't doubt that he knows his subject. Unfortunately, he seems to have little sense of how the subject should be presented to someone coming to it for the first time. The presentation is meandering, unfocused, lacks clear organizing principles, and often loses sight of the forest for the trees; a sense of the right amount of time and detail to spend on a particular topic is lacking. There are several points at which he misspeaks and makes one think of George Polya's description of "the traditional mathematics professor: he writes A, says B, means C, but it should be D." I'd also second what other reviewers have said: the cartoonish animations and graphics are irritating and almost insulting--more appropriate for elementary school students than adults. And please, Teaching Company--drop music entirely, or bring back the Brandenburg Concerto! An important topic but unfortunately a very disappointing course.
Date published: 2012-05-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disorganized and Incomprehensible Fortunately, this is a rarity among TC Courses - one which I returned after finally giving up after forcing myself to listen to almost two-thirds of the lectures. The topic is obviously of interest especially after the Great Recessions (or the Great Contraction as the professor sometimes refers to it). However, the focus is erratic and the course is poorly organized. At times, he spends a full lecture on a topic that deserved at most five minutes and at other times, he would whip through something with complex formulas with multiple variables. He talked a lot about "intuiting" these formulas, but rarely presented them in a way such that I could comprehend the big picture. Nothing seemed pulled together with an overarching structure or a design linking the various lectures together. The professor himself was fine - he had a pleasant voice and was very enthusiastic about his subject. A somewhat trivial but repeatedly annoying component was a multitude of animated vignettes which were supposed to illustrate certain topics but instead were incredibly juvenile.I hope that the Teaching Company will re-present this topic with a different lecturer.
Date published: 2012-05-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Valuable content (CD version) Overall, I recommend this course but I do have some criticisms. The content is extremely valuable and necessary for understanding the world of banking. The course is very comprehensive but the presentations vary between basic to very technical. As such, how much one gets out of this course partly depends on their pre-existing knowledge of economics. For me, I will have to listen to the course again to fully appreciate all its teachings. My main criticisms are as follows: (1) It is very difficult to follow the CD version without the course guide. There are frequent references to formulas and graphs and on at least two occasions, a table quoted in the CD was not in the course guide. In fact some of the lectures are best studies by the course guide alone. (2) Though I appreciate the frequent use of formulas to increase accuracy, it would have been nicer to explain some of the concepts (eg why do stock prices rise?, what determines exchange rates?, etc) in just plain English before diving into complex formulas. (3) Lecture 12 on the Federal Reserve was difficult to understand and I had to read the SF Fed Reserve web site's one page summary of monitary policy before I understood the lecture. Given that many subsequent lectures required a full understanding of the Fed, this was a significant weakness. In summary, I recommend the course though I think the DVD version of the course is likley to be superior than the CD.
Date published: 2012-05-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Close but no cigar Don't buy audio CDs if you intend to listen in the car, like I do. Professor's presentation is at a pace that presumes that you are writing down everything he says. This might be OK in a classroom but not on the highway. In addition, he references visual elements so frequently that without the ability to see them in real time, much is lost. But for a few points (the origin of money for example) his knowledge of the materials is excellent and the topics are relevent and presented in logical order. This is an important topic that every American should understand. My overall rating is in light of the many other Great Courses I've enjoyed and the importance of the topic.
Date published: 2012-05-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good but flawed at the core. This a good course and very interesting. The main problem is the core understanding of money is flaws. In the second lecture the professor says that money evolved out of barter and then codification of commodities as money. This is not supported by historical evidence. There is zero historical evidence ever for the existence of non-monetary barter economies. This is a very 19th century view that was held before anthropological studies proved it wrong. Economists have simply not engaged enough with interdisciplinary studies. We have always had the concept of money, no society, tribal, village or what have you, could function without it. Maybe I splitting hairs, but for me it makes me question the interdisciplinary knowledge of the professor.
Date published: 2012-04-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Get DVD Format Audio CD. There are several reasons why this course should be offered only in the DVD format. First of all, the subject is deep enough that one ought not to try to listen to it while doing something else like driving. Second, Dr. Salemi so frequently refers to graphs and equations that it loses the listener in the audio CD format. Having said that, I believe that if I had followed the course in the DVD format, it would have been a gem. Dr. Salemi spends the first third of the course building the fundamentals of a college Finance course (Net Present Value, etc.). For the remaining two-thirds of the course, he discusses how a central bank should operate. This, of course, is important for anybody that follows the national or world economy. I recommend this course to someone who is analytical in thinking, who has an interest in finance, investing, or the economy, and who does not already have an economics degree.
Date published: 2012-03-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from As Good As (Basic) Economics is Likely to Get I do recommend this course. In contrast to the many other courses I have recommended, however, I suggest it entirely for the importance of the subject, and not for the joy of learning. I hasten to add that Professor Salemi is an outstanding, terrific lecturer! His enthusiasm, clarity, organization, articulation, and sheer joy of teaching would make almost any other subject come alive. But while he clearly loves economics - and thank goodness someone does - even his excellent pedagogic ability did not stir any interest in me. Still, this is, obviously, a crucially important subject, about which too many of us are embarrassingly ignorant. This means we are incapable of even understanding, much less evaluating, the opinions and actions of our policy makers and our news sources. While this course is very basic, it does provide an excellent introduction to the field, and should make possible a more educated and considered response to the economic world around us. The one major failing of the course is its under-emphasis on the non-rational factors in economic activity, a field which has received a great deal of attention in recent years. While uncertainty is considered at times, it is usually as uncertainty resulting from incomplete knowledge, rather than from the undeniable fact that human beings are often irrational in our actions. Nevertheless - it would be a very good thing if every one of us were comfortable with the concepts covered here. Since they are unfortunately not covered in most of our educations, this is as good a way as you are likely to find to learn what all of us should know.
Date published: 2012-03-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from At times interesting. Generally tedious. Although I did deeply learn some things from this course, the lecturer dwelt on easy ideas (real interest rate: interest rate less inflation; not that hard of a topic) and not spend enough time on more sophisticated ideas (how banks create money; surprising and worth exploring). I got the audio course and would recommend it above the DVD (given what other reviewers said) for those really interested in the the course; although I did miss some visuals, the concepts were easy to understand from the descriptions. This course could have been completed in about 12 lectures, given how slowly many easy topics were covered. I will end up listening to all the lectures for the knowledge, but I am not really enjoying it. You might enjoy this course if you have recently gotten a big interest in $ and banking but don't know much of anything about it. Otherwise, invest in Prof Taylor's or Prof Whaples' Econ courses.
Date published: 2012-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A lecture for our troubling economy As an Engineering student (50 years ago) this subject was not a required curriculum. Furthermore I never had the time nor the inclination to really understand the Federal Reserve System. Now at this critical time in our history I can clearly appreciate the problems most of the world is facing as a result of this excellent course. The scope was extremely broad with just enough depth for me to grasp. I found the professor's manner of presentation to be very engaging.
Date published: 2012-03-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A silly dance I have taken over 50 Teaching Company courses. I have found them all of high quality with excellent presentations by serious academics. This course, however, was presented in a sing song, dancing manner which distracted from the content (which was very worthwhile, although more elementary than I was hoping for), that was more appropriate for an elementary school than a serious presentation for adults. Keep the content (well, make it a little more sophisticated and drop the cartoons), and put the presenter behind the lectern, where he belongs.
Date published: 2012-03-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Money and Banking If you love Paul Krugman you'll love this exposition. I do not. How do we pay our debt? Just print?
Date published: 2012-03-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not recommended First let me say that I own about 30 courses from this extremely fine company. This is my first review and I’ve taken the time to write this review because this is the first course that I’ve purchased where I’ve felt very disappointed. If you’ve taken a college level economics course in the last 20-25 years this course will just provide a very basic review. On the other hand if you are new to this field then the course might be worth the money. I say “might” because you’ll have to tolerate the professor’s rather leftist leanings. For example he entirely attributes the budget surpluses under Clinton to Clinton’s tax cuts and the budget deficits under Bush to his tax cuts. Not to attribute any part of the surpluses and deficits to congressional spending patterns is ludicrous. A second example is his detailed explanation of the proximate and ultimate causes of the subprime mortgage crises. Absolutely no mention is made of the congressional mandates to the banking community to force banks to alter their underwriting standards. This led to many loans being made to people who simply should not have qualified for mortgages. To what extent these congressional mandates contributed to the mortgage crisis can be argued; but all logic points to some culpability of congress. I listen to these courses while driving. Professor Salemi continually referred to images of graphs and tables on the DVD version. Several of the graphs and tables are not in the course guide. A bit more explanation of the graphs would have eliminated the need to continually refer to the graphs, which of course, is not possible while driving. This course most certainly lends itself more to DVD than just audio. All in all I simply would not recommend this course, the very first course that I’ve purchased where I would say that. “The Great Courses” are far and away the best I’ve found. I recommend the company and its courses with “highest honors.”
Date published: 2012-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excelent presentation I have no complain about the content of the course neither the Professor. I bougth the video presentation and it really bothers me. It looks like I am watching a foreign movie with a translation. The video is not syncronized with the audio. Beside that the course is excelente.
Date published: 2012-02-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great, but needs a better Director I opted for the DVD version over the CD version because I assumed (correctly) that there would be graphs and charts that I would want to see. But the director (I assume there is one) seems to think that visual interest is enhanced by having the professor walk back-and-forth across the set on a timed interval (?) like a robot. It is really distracting to see this charade of a class presentation when it soon becomes obvious that the pattern of back-and-forth walking has nothing to do with interacting with an audience. Nonetheless I am enjoying the course and would recommend it to anyone wanting to review this type of material -- and just be ready to shout at the screen "STOP.! JUST STAY THERE FOR A WHILE! YOU DON'T NEED TO FOOL ME INTO THINKING THERE'S AN AUDIENCE!" Also, kudos for presenting both sides of some very contentious issues (e.g. gold standard anyone?). Good course. Weird video direction.
Date published: 2012-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Essential Information [video download review] These lectures are excellent and will get the viewer up to speed towards understanding today's complex financial environment. After viewing these lectures, you will be able to open a paper and be reasonably well versed in the topics discussing financial policy because all the important bits are included in these lectures. I particularly liked Professor Salemi's presentation. I think his body language, eye contact, and overall enthusiasm was good (although oddly, he did let out an anxious laugh at times that seemed out of place, e.g. discussing the fin collapse). And this material can be dreadfully boring if given by a poor lecturer (ask me how I know!). Also, I liked the fact that he included a concept in finance known as "present value". This is basically finance 101. We first learn about financial markets and do NPV problems, which are essentially problems where you determine things like how much Bob needs to invest every year to meet his goal of having 200K in 10 years with an interest rate of X. In sum, this is a crash course in econ and finance with a focus on discussing the financial collapse, and is not meant to make you an expert, but it will get you started. I recommend the video as well. The visual aids are very helpful, and the professor has a pleasant delivery. About me: I graduated with a degree in finance from the University of Illinois, and I remember fondly my courses in finance and economics from back in the day.
Date published: 2012-02-01
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