What is the course about?
Doom and gloom in the media, sound and fury in political circles, surround the economic crisis, and it affects us all.
The course will try to make sense of what’s going on. Major events have more than a single cause. We will question the known suspects, bankers, speculators, lax regulators, and also examine the system they operate in, fractional
reserve banking in a global financial market. We will review competing theories that seek to explain the crisis and offer ways to overcome it.
What will we cover?
The main symptom of the crisis is financial, so the first topic we’ll discuss is money, the energy of our time; how is money created, the functions of central banks, and the unstable nature of fractional reserve banking. This will help us understand notions such as quantitative easing, the rationale for bank bailouts, and the Eurozone specific situation. We will then analyse the boom and bust cycles induced by misallocations of investments; it explains the
exorbitant growth of financial markets, with their crafty instruments, options, derivatives, hedge funds, and ‘subprime’ vehicles. We will see why the law of supply and demand does not apply to speculative trading, allowing the information of bubbles, and why this generates huge profits for ‘the 1%’. Finally, we will confront the views of various
economists on possible solutions to the present crisis, and hopefully, we will conclude that we may not be doomed
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Explain some key technical terms and concepts of economics
- Identify the main causes of the on-going crisis
- Discuss with sound arguments the policies proposed by friends, journalists, and politicians of all parties.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is open to anyone with some basic prior knowledge of economics. It will be assumed students have
grasped some fundamental notion already, but the tutor will also provide a short 'refresher' of the main issues and
key points at the start of the course.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Clear visual presentations and group discussions will enliven each lesson. There will be no homework, but students
will receive the slides used in class, together with comments, as follow-ups to the lessons.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
None. Just an open mind, curious about the world we live in, and a willingness to listen to opinions you do not
always agree with are all that is needed to participate.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
For other courses on economics, please see the college website: www.citylit.ac.uk.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details