Thursday, October 2

Get educated on the mortgage crisis

I haven't posted here in a while... trying to do more direct activism lately. But I'd like to pass on some excellent sources for understanding what's going on with our finances.

This is an interview (half an hour) from Fresh Air discussing how our current crisis parallels the Great Crash of 1929, which marked the end of the Roaring 20's and the beginning of the Great Depression. What I appreciate about the interview is it covers a number of really practical suggestions for the upcoming regulations. For example, if banks want to qualify for FDIC insurance, they need to keep not only 10% of deposits on hand in cash, but must also have 10% of their investments in infrastructure projects and 10% in green energy projects. In short, this is an opportunity to redirect money from gambling and risk and into the very changes we need to minimize global warming.

And two episodes from This American Life where they discuss the economy:
Giant Pool of Money Originally aired on 5/9/2008. Discusses what credit swaps and sub-prime mortgages are, their job in our economy (soak up some of that giant pool of money and provide an excellent return), and how it went bad.
Another Frightening Show about the Economy 10/3/2008. I haven't heard this yet, but it's the same guys as above talking about how we got here and what could have been done to prevent it. It's on my to-do list for tomorrow night.

If you're angry and you'd like someone to blame, I suggest the July/August '08 Issue of Mother Jones. A warning however, Mother Jones is a partisan magazine and they point fingers at the advisers of a current presidential candidate.

For the mile-high view of trends in our economy and how where we're at is the result of a hundred (or more) years of money policy, Chris Martenson has a 2.5 hour lecture on his website. It's engaging, well presented, has plenty of illustrations to bring the points home, and is scarier than reading a Stephen King novel at 11:50 pm on Halloween. If you, like me, are prone to depression, please handle with care:

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NotSoBigLiving is the story of a woman inspired by Sarah Susanka, Bill McKibben, Airstreams, Tumbleweed houses, Mennonites, Jimmy Carter, hippies, survivalists, Anasazi, Pema Chodron and Joko Beck, Scott Peck, Buckminster Fuller, and Al Gore to see what she can do to reduce her carbon footprint in her mid-80's suburban townhome. Strategies include roommates, alternative travel, organic eating, planting a victory garden, mindfulness, and a belly full of laughter.