Understanding Financial Markets

Robert Shiller, who pre­dict­ed the stock mar­ket crash ear­li­er this decade and the burst­ing of the hous­ing bub­ble in 2008, has a unique under­stand­ing of the finan­cial mar­kets and behav­ioral eco­nom­ics. In this free course pro­vid­ed by Yale Uni­ver­si­ty, Shiller demys­ti­fies the finan­cial mar­kets and explains “the the­o­ry of finance and its rela­tion to the his­to­ry, the strengths and imper­fec­tions of such insti­tu­tions as bank­ing, insur­ance, secu­ri­ties, futures, and oth­er deriv­a­tives mar­kets, and the future of these insti­tu­tions over the next cen­tu­ry.” It’s a course for our shaky finan­cial times. The first lec­ture appears above, and the full course can be accessed on YouTubeiTunes and Yale’s web site. The course is also list­ed in our meta col­lec­tion of Free Cours­es and our tar­get­ed selec­tion of Free Eco­nom­ics Cours­es.

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Paul Samuelson: How I Became an Economist

Paul Samuel­son, Amer­i­ca’s first Nobel lau­re­ate in eco­nom­ics, died this week­end at age 94. In 2003, Samuel­son wrote a short essay called How I Became an Econ­o­mist.  What caught my eye is the last line: “Always, I have been over­paid to do what has been pure fun.” We should all be lucky enough to achieve that.

To give you a bet­ter feel for Samuel­son’s con­tri­bu­tions to eco­nom­ics, I have includ­ed an NPR inter­view with Paul Krug­man, anoth­er Amer­i­can recip­i­ent of the Nobel Prize in eco­nom­ics. You can lis­ten below.

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Reading Marx’s Capital with David Harvey (Free Lectures)

David Har­vey, an impor­tant social the­o­rist and geo­g­ra­ph­er, has got the right idea. Take what you know. Teach it in the class­room. Cap­ture it on video. Then dis­trib­ute it to the world. Keep it sim­ple, but just do it.

In launch­ing this new web site, Har­vey is mak­ing avail­able 26 hours of lec­tures, dur­ing which he gives a close read­ing of Karl Marx’s Das Kap­i­tal (1867). This work, often con­sid­ered to be Marx’s mas­ter­piece, is where he elab­o­rat­ed a cri­tique of cap­i­tal­ism and laid the ground­work for an ide­ol­o­gy that took the 20th cen­tu­ry by storm (and then it dis­ap­peared in a fair­ly quick snap). Har­vey is no stranger to this text. He has taught this class for over 40 years now, both in uni­ver­si­ties (Johns Hop­kins and CUNY) and in the com­mu­ni­ty as well.

The videos will be rolling out in stages. We have post­ed the first one below. (The first lec­ture actu­al­ly starts about 6 min­utes in. A short intro­duc­tion pre­cedes it). Gen­er­al­ly, the videos can be accessed via Har­vey’s web site, or via iTunes and RSS Feed. Also, we have placed the course in our col­lec­tion of Free Online Cours­es, which keeps on grow­ing. Find it under the “Eco­nom­ics” sec­tion.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.