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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  • 278-page printed course guidebook
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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 55.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great epiphanies simply explained Professor Salemi is a wealth of information. Each lecture provides 1-2 key epiphanies which will help the lay person unlock economics and banking understanding. Unfortunately, Mr. Salemi overacts and dumbs-down his presentation too much for my liking. These issues are not significant enough to erode my enjoyment of the course, in large part because Professor Salemi is clearly passionate about the subject matter and the learning of his students. Occasionally, he explains complicated course points with overly-complicated language and examples (ie: fractional reserve banking, the Federal Reserve). However, most of the time he illuminates complicated subjects with simple, digestible examples. Consequently, I recommend this course.
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Ground Up Monetary Primer If you are looking for a step-by-step introduction to all things "monetary", then Professor Salemi delivers. Leaving no stone unturned he deftly explains concepts as simple as your checking account all the way up to monetary policy at "The Federal Reserve"; and, everything in-between. His pace is not hurried. He picks his way through each money, banking and investing topic with care and insures no student, beginner or intermediate, is left behind. A sophisticated topic, especially in later lectures, but so carefully and deliberately delivered that one only need view it once for total understanding. This is a rarity. In many such courses you are literally whisked from one key-point to the next, feeling overwhelmed by the time you are half way through. If you are patient, Professor Salemi will bring it all to you, in doses you can easily swallow.
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Money and Banking Well worth the money. Excellent course for any investor.
Date published: 2016-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable and Enlightening My "Review Title" needs no further elaboration. The course and the professor's delivery live up to the Schools name: "Great Course"!
Date published: 2016-09-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Money and Banking.... First off, I took this course because I actually hate the topic and decided maybe I should learn it anyway...so I went in rather kicking and screaming. I might add, this lecturer enjoys his topic and it did rub off on me to the point where I was actually encouraged to keep going. He obviously knows a LOT more than he is teaching, but managed to keep me hanging in there, which is a miracle, considering the topic. There were a two 30 minute lectures that I felt went a bit too far into the math calculations (interest rates etc), considering that most of the course was quite generic, but ....well....either you take the math challenge, or you fast forward. :) There was slightly too much emphasis to USA banking, I would have preferred a bit more referencing to other monetary systems, mostly because I am not from the USA. It did teach me terminology about banking, stock markets, bond funds and mutual funds. it has prompted me into taking another course on Stock Markets, so I think based on that, you have to give it a thumbs up. He was a very nice man to listen to and I learned useful stuff.
Date published: 2016-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative course! This course made up for the economics class I never took! Loved the professor's style of teaching and his explanations of various economic terms and practices. Great course!
Date published: 2016-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of My Favorite Courses Professor Salemi kept the material interesting and engaging and made vital economic topics accessible to non-economists.
Date published: 2016-05-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Valuable Education in Finance Having not studied economics in college, but wanting to understand current events and have more investing savvy, I decided to purchase this course in audio. I am aware a lot of people found the professor to speak too slowly, but I didn't mind it at all. To me, his style is consistent with other great college professors who are not just spitting information at you but giving it to you in chunks and allowing time for you to assimilate and ponder it. Perhaps if I were sitting down and watching video at home I would be impatient with this, but while driving it was nice to have time for the concepts to be absorbed. I also appreciate his emphasis on getting an intuitive understanding of these concepts - which takes time, particularly if you have not encountered these concepts before. He gives you the intimidating formulas and walks you through them, but also lets you know it's not necessary to try to master them if they give you headaches (which they do!). And I actually enjoyed the drawn-out into chapters into the evolution of money and financial institutions. I see money and banking in a very different light now because of it. Overall the course satisfies on both intellectual and practical levels if you are patient with it.
Date published: 2015-10-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Be Patient and Finance Knowledge Will Be Rewarded (Video streaming) This course would be an easy 5 star if the professor just didn't have that style of speaking. His slow talking matter was a blessing on the difficult topics but could drive you out of your mind on the really simple concepts. About myself: interest in current events that affect the economy but no formal background in finance. This course really explained a lot, enough that I could follow in greater detail and understanding the decisions of the Fed, the ailments that are affecting the EU and the ECB (IMF also), and such related matters in modern day economies. In addition, Prof Salemi did an extremely thorough job on explaining interest rates and bond concepts including Treasury securities. Admittedly, he did have a rather protracted and painful start in the first 4-6 lectures of this 36 lecture series on the background and history of money which really should have been shortened. But if a beginner on this topic can make it through those first few lectures then you will find the rest of the series to be a true gem on basic finance and obtain in an depth knowledge on inflation, economic policies, and understanding of central banks.
Date published: 2015-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from content very good, dry presentation OK, so it is like listening to Greenspan but this man explains the concepts. I purchased this after listening to the disk set from the local library, which I introduced to the Teaching Company over twenty years ago. They have added many courses to the entire county library and many libraries across the state have a few courses in their collections so the courses available are numerous!! Hopefully my family will make use of this very informative overview of how money policy works. CDO's are being sold in new forms to school boards and a former treasurer warned the people in the school districts about using derivatives, etc. to stop tax increases. Most of the public needs to listen to this course!!!!
Date published: 2015-06-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Learned only 1 thing of interest in the first 6 Generally, I am not learning anything from this course. I realize I am only 6 lectures in, but for any other course I've purchased from The Great Courses, by this point I have learned a lot of new things: not with this course. Also, the professor's presentation is annoying. He speaks very slowly,;often times speaks a few words - pauses - speaks a few more words - pauses - etc; appears to be reading off 'cue cards' or a teleprompter; spends a lot of time explaining fairly obvious things, repetitively, and then glosses over quickly more involved concepts. I could make it only half way through lecture 5 because of these annoyances. I kept completing his sentences because he was repeating over and over the obvious - I was saying to myself, and sometimes even out loud to the screen out of irritation, "Yes, we know that already ... move on". This sounds like it could be a very interesting topic, but I have not found this course to be so far. Maybe I'll try a few more lectures before giving up completely on it.
Date published: 2015-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thorough and informative overview I just finished the Audio CD version of this course and came online to write a positive review. I'm very surprised by the negative reviews, but I think it has a lot to do with the differences in listeners' backgrounds. In case it is useful for potential purchasers, I will say that my background is in Accounting and bookkeeping. I often find that I don't quite understand some of the banking issues when I read the Wall Street Journal or other publications (Accounting courses don't cover much of this stuff), so I thought this course would be a good way to start filling in the gaps. I was very satisfied with the breadth of information presented as well as the presenter's style. Yes, it is "sing-songy," but listening to this over my commute made me grateful for the fact that he took his time and spoke slowly. The video would probably be helpful, but I found that it was just fine to review the charts in the accompanying book as a review after the lectures.
Date published: 2015-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Money and Banking As bank director for 10 years, I still found the course very helpful, interesting, and insightful. Professor Salemi made learning fun. His in-depth knowledge of historical banking issues and current issues facing the Fed,banks and banking regulators were very pertinent and spot on. I enjoyed the 30 minute lectures and the study guide that accompanied the video portion. As an advocate of life-long learning, I recommend the course to anyone involved in banking and certainly outside directors.
Date published: 2014-12-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too Long I have learned to avoid your courses on economics and recent history because often they are packed with more political proselytizing than objective fact. I hoped a course on banking would not suffer from this pitfall, but this one does. Aside from that fault, the course dwelt on the obvious and glossed over the essential. If it were twelve or maybe 24 lectures, it might have been a good course.
Date published: 2014-11-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Course This Professor did a great job at providing an in depth introduction to this subject. The reason that I am writing this is because I almost didn't purchase it due to looking at other tepid reviews. The Professor has chosen his topics well, is methodical in getting across his points, and often leads you to use this knowledge to make your own determination about a viewpoint. As for the other less than stellar reviews, I am suggesting that the reviewers already came to the course with previous study and are just showing their disdain for the basic level of the subject matter. In short, the course is a fine stepping stone into money and banking fundamentals.
Date published: 2013-06-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from He ....speaks .... far .... too..... slow....ly. The content is excellent, though he does start every single subject at the very beginning, so if you've never studied economics, or finance, or world history, or anthropology ... you'll still be fine. However, the professor speaks so painfully slowly, it's just unbearable.
Date published: 2013-05-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Money and Banking: What Everyone Should Know This is a tough course to rate because the rating will depend on your background and your reason(s) for taking the course. I would probably give it 4 stars for someone with little or no background in the topic. It's probably only a 2 star if you have a reasonable background from either academic studies or considerable reading. The same holds true if you take the course in an attempt to understand the "Great Recession". If you're coming in cold, it's a 4 star. If you wolfed down a few of the better books that appeared as a post-mortem to the recession, it's a 2 star. The Prof is clear, uses good illustrations, and speaks slowly. It's an introduction, not an in depth study.
Date published: 2013-04-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very useful but with few comments I certainly learned a lot from this course. Some lectures were particularly interesting especially by the end of the course but some were boring for me. The presentation is good but i really dislike it when Dr. Salemi becomes so apologetic about introducing mathematical formulas, it is an economics course that should be expected and most of the formulas introduced really help understanding his points. I am planning to watch it for a second time as i don't think once is enough.
Date published: 2013-03-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from More facts less politics please Generally a very educational course but the professor occasionally dabbled into political stances in which his stated positions were never supported by facts. This was irritating and unnecessary since it detracted from an otherwise great course. His statements in the final lecture were particularly unsupported. Stating that the Clinton era surpluses were caused by tax increases completely ignores that the vast majority of the revenue increase was caused after the capital gains tax rate reduction which spurred economic growth hence tax revenue increase. Plus his statement that the Bush tax cuts caused the current deficit is ridiculous since tax revenues following the tax rate cuts increased by over 800 billion per year between 2003 and 2007. 2007 deficit was only $161B (wouldn't that be great) which hardly justifies a statement that the tax rate cuts caused deficits. So I was pleased with the information about inflation and particularly the central banks function but stick to the course material.
Date published: 2013-02-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not suitable for audio only There are graphs mentioned in the audio which were not included in the course guide. Course guide almost a transcript of audio at times with no hint of effort of summarizing. Over simplistic at times. This is the only course where i find i need to fast forward rather than rewind.
Date published: 2013-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thank you for this course The course is a very carefully crafted construction from basic knowledge to the annotations of international banking. After listening, you will readily understand what they are talking about in Basel III and why the Federal Reserve is forced to set an unemployment target of 6.5%. As a retired small business owner, I almost did not purchase this course after reading some of the reviews. However, I noted confusion in the reviews and fortunately purchased the course. One reviewer stated that Salemi was Keynesian, another that he was middle of the road. In point of fact, Professor Salemi may have mentioned Keynes once, but spent most of his time quoting Friedman. Salemi's concluding remarks: "...failing to get the U.S. deficit control..." are hardly the stuff of Keynes. Several reviewers complained that he read his script. Although I personally don't care if he did or not, I found it unlikely that he could consistently shift from one camera to another in mid-sentence without stammering if he had been reading. Yes, he read his equations, but so what? Equally, quibbly about the entertainment value of the animations is unwarranted. Others have complained about the math. There is some validity here, but it is in the nature of the currently used economics terminology rather than this professor's approach. Economics equations are more for describing a picture than a proof. I cringe when economists use an "equals" sign where and "approximately equals" more accurately portrays the degree of uncertainty. Writing a n = 3 year Treasury rate over time t as R(n,t), could easily have been written R(t) since n did not vary. This economic quasi-math is not Salemi's fault but does explain why some reviewers have problems following bloated and therefore confusing notation. Using the "pi" symbol as a variable is disturbing. Further, when one is trying to describe an expected ["e"] rate but write the variable as if it were raised to the "e power" one questions who came up with such notation. This is more accurately written as a variable with a subscript e [the mathematically accepted position for description notation]. The great thing is that the course guide is excellent. Keep in mind that this is a very stately, unbiased course. This course should be taken by every Senator, Congressman, and President. And their grades should be posted online.
Date published: 2013-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Critical Background Information I very much enjoyed Professor Salemi's course on money and banking. In fact, I learned more than I had expected to going in. I definitely recommend the series to you and to my other friends. As I read through some of the earlier reviews, I agree the video version of the course is essential: the graphs and equations convey much of the material's subject and background. Elsewhere, some reviewers thought the material was uneven, presumably because Salemi covers elementary concepts like present value and real rate of interest at greater length than seemed necessary to them. As someone lacking a business background, I really didn't mind. These basic topics prove to be central to the much weightier material presented in the final 20 (or so) lectures. I spent more time with the course than I had originally intended, about 6 weeks in fact, following up each lecture by reading articles on various topics and concepts (e.g. the Phillips Curve, Barro-Gordon model, LIBOR, the IMF, etc.) and by deriving the equations. At times my enthusiasm got a little out of hand. For example, to get a feel for the fundamental model of stock pricing (Lecture 22), I wrote a little computer program to plot earnings ratios as functions of various parameters in the model. But nevermind me. If you're not big into math, don't worry. In order not to scare, Professor Salemi only flashes up equations briefly, but he then explains the basic gist of the matter at hand in a way anyone can understand. Bottom line: If you don't want to sit listening cluelessly to the talking heads on Kudlow or Dobbs expounding on "too big to fail", "the fiscal cliff", "the euro crisis", ... buy this course and begin to appreciate how the financial system works and how wonderfully complex, important, and potentially fragile it is.
Date published: 2012-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very relevant. Helps you understand current events Pros: The course is very, very relevant to understanding the financial/economic crisis of the last few years. It takes terms you hear in the news such as “central bank” and “derivative securities” and “currency manipulation” and builds a foundational understanding of what these are and how they work. I think there are so many people out there throwing these terms around who have only a shallow understanding of what they mean (including many in the media). I personally found the last 14 lectures to be the most interesting because they apply the most to current events – the first 22 lectures give background and build foundations. Cons: Professor Salemi has a somewhat “folksy” style of presentation that can sometimes make one feel that they are in a kindergarten class. I personally didn’t have a big problem with this because I was focused on the content. For those with “mathaphobia” be aware that there are several lectures with equations that the mathaphobic will consider complex. Having said that, one can usually get the high-level point without understanding the math so that should not keep you from buying the course. The class does meander somewhat through the financial world in the first 22 lectures. Depending on your current knowledge of finance, you might find a few of the first 22 lecture to be remedial – if you already understand “present value” just skip on to the next lecture. Video vs Audio: Definitely get video. Avoid audio because there are numerous visual graphs and tables that you need to see to understand the content.
Date published: 2012-11-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Money and Banking: What Everyone Should Know Professor Salemi needs to get to the point. He begins almost every lecture with a confusing 6-8 minute introduction that largely obscures the point. There is a lot of useless filler in these lectures. Some lectures I was able to take away about two pages of relevant points (notes) but in others, nothing. And as other posters have noted, he belabors simple points and rushes through, often confusedly, complex ones. These lectures could easily be distilled into 24 lectures.
Date published: 2012-11-01
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
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