This American Economy

Don’t worry – this is not a political post in any way, shape, or form. :-)

This American Life just released another must-listen episode regarding the current financial situation, explaining it in a way that everyone can understand.

A while back they did an excellent episode covering all angles of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, going behind the scenes of how and why it happened the way it did.

Now they’ve released Another Frightening Show About the Economy (their episode title), which gets into a lot of the financial industry-insider stuff behind the larger collapse and bailout that we’re going through now.

Perhaps if you’re an avid student of the various large scale, non-public financial wheelings and dealings that go on behind the scenes in our country, then some of this stuff might not be news for you. As for me, I’d never heard of “credit default swaps” before (and for good reason – they’re not something “normal” people ever deal with), but this show explains them very well, and the key role they played in this recent collapse.

They also cover at a high level some of the differences in the various bailout proposals, explaining the differences between the Paulson plan and some of the alternative approaches involving stock-injection.

If, like me, you find yourself curious about what’s going on with this bailout yet unmotivated to dedicate the time necessary to keep up with all the details, this latest episode offers a pretty good primer. It will only take a little less than one hour of your listening time, so give it a shot.

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