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.

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.

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.