Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Episode 2 of Meltdown was a Let Down: Except for the Idea of Global Financial Interconnectedness


This will be brief because there really isn't a ton of financial literacy knowledge that we can wring out of part two of Terence McKenna's documentary series The Secret History of the Global Financial Collapse: "A Global Tsunami." In fact part two is largely a rehash of the first episode, minus some of the cool graphics.

From the trailer at the end of the first episode, I thought that episode two would focus on unemployment and homelessness. But in fact the bulk of the hour is spent reviewing the "tsunami" allegedly created by US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson when he decided on September 17, 2008 to let Lehman Brothers fail. McKenna's tsunami story almost entirely focuses on the reactions of financial districts, CEOs and finance ministers, not on that of regular people, as promised. Like I said, it was a rehash of part one.

That said, there was one thing that seeped up through the sometimes slide show-like documentary: the idea of global financial interconnectedness. Foreclosing homes in California led to Britain putting Icelandic banks on their list of terrorists (a list which includes Al-Qaeda) and to fifteen million factory workers in China suddenly becoming unemployed. Our money is seriously, profoundly connected with all the other money in the world. And that is something our kids need to know.

Global financial interconnectedness is an important concept. It's something that we need to talk about openly while were standing in line at the bank. I think it's critical that our kids understand that diversification is not a guarantee when comes to recessions and that we need to be picky when deciding which financial institution to do business with. Just ask all  those people in multiple countries who lost their jobs or their savings in the meltdown.

And I do hope that in episode three McKenna will indeed bring us down from the lofty heights of Wall Street to the front lines where the rest of us are. I will tune in for sure, even if "Meltdown" episode three is another let down.

Copyright 2010. Laura Thomas. All Rights Reserved.
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