Saturday, October 9, 2010

Waiting for the Next Crash: Why "Meltdown" Episode 4 Freaked Me Out


Meltdown: A Four-Part Investigation of the Global Financial Crash
Episode 4: After the Fall
Written & Directed by Terence McKenna

CBC Documentary
My rating $$$$.5

Images of empty, never-meant-to-be-occupied, skyscrapers in Dubai in the pre-meltdown boom and China's eerily similar urban skyline of today are vividly stored in my memory. McKenna has created in me a visual reminder that all is not well with the financial world and that I really need to step up my game if I want to ride out the next 50+ years of earning, spending, growing and protecting my money with any kind of grace.

What follows are just a few of the documentary's comments and conclusions that have renewed my commitment to not only being financially literate but 100-percent fluent in money-speak and to keep up with its ever-evolving dialects.

Here are some of the key words phrases that were used describe the behaviour of the bankers, traders, real estate moguls, executives, and even nations (like Dubai) who are seen as responsible for the meltdown: fraud, corruption, false rumours, secrets, drugs, sexism, immoral, criminal, insider trading, state-run pyramid scheme, flipping real estate "like they are playing musical chairs."

According to the documentary, the money guys "found suckers to invest" and "convinced people" to invest more money in bad deals and deliberately sold investment products "to unsophisticated investors...orphans and widows I met at the airport."

This episode is all about accountability. Governments have been trying to make sense of the real estate bubble and financial crisis. They desperately want to know what caused it so they can put public policies in place that will help prevent or at least minimize the effect of future meltdowns...which, it seems, are just around the corner.

With the help of that empty-skyscraper imagery, you will come away with a deeper understanding of our global situation: while western countries are envisioning a kinder, gentler, less risky capitalism, China and India are embracing the current more brutal model. Because the global economy has never been so complex and interconnected we are going to have another crisis.

But better to face it, freak out and then get on with building your financial literacy so that you can ride the next meltdown with more grace. Make episode 4, if not all four parts, part of that exercise.

Copyright 2010. Laura Thomas. All Rights Reserved.
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