Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act of 2010

"We have to educate our
way to a better economy."

There's seems to be a very basic confusion here, the kind of confusion that separates the wrench from the rhetoric crowd.

If Arne means the extractive economy, where access to dollars and power leads to more dollars, more power, well, the clever will win, as they have, as they will. We have as much a distribution as a production problem here in the States, and even if a degree from the Katharine Gibbs College held the gravitas of sheepskin from Yale, not all of us can run our own mutual fund company.

I agree our kids need a dose of financial literacy. I'd start by bringing in a bowl of dollar bills, buttered, salted, and fried to a nice crispiness, then ask my students to snack on them.
Dr. D, you're weird....

What do you need?

Oxygen. Water. Food. Shelter. Warmth.

Money helps fit you into the distribution system--everything listed above costs you something except oxygen, and some day that will be marketed as well.

A college degree will help you gain access to the money world--you do not need to know a blessed thing about how life works to join the fray. I got a tiny jolt of comfort learning that the Wall Street reform bill starts in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

If Wall Street can be held accountable to anything, it will be the laws of nature. I'm not holding my breath--that'd be unnatural--but if the Senate cannot fix this, the limits of biomass production will.


John Spencer said...

I love the idea of deep-fried money. However, I do admit that I teach financial literacy. My students live in poverty and sometimes it comes down to a dad who buys a twelve pack and a pack of cigarettes or a flat screen tv instead of paying rent.

I want my students to know how to be creative rather than simply buying into marketing. I want them to think about what they really need versus what they want. I want them to know that money will not make them content.

We do career philosophies so that they know that there is a deeper reason to work besides simply getting more money. I want them to see beyond the myth of "get an education so that you can get the hell out of this community."

I refuse to use the "free" resources the district gives us that are "donated" by bailed-out banks - because I think it's more important that a student knows what it means to differentiate between needs and wants rather than learning how to balance a checkbook.

But perhaps deep fried money is an answer as well.

doyle said...

Dear John,

Financial literacy is, of course, critical--when I'm feeling particularly cynical, I see our failure to teach it as a vast conspiracy to keep our throw-away, borrow-against-the-future economy going.

If folks stopped to think, half our industries would fail.

One of the best books I ever read was Your Money or Your Life (Dominguez and Robin). It would also help if children ingested numbers, rolling them on their tongues, then feel them in their bellies, rather than use calculators.

I really hate calculators in school. Why not just buy every child an electronic reader as well?

(And again I wander way off topic....)

John Spencer said...

My mentor Brad recommended that book to me a few years back and it shaped how I think about money. I use excerpts from it (hope I'm not violating fair use) with my students. I've also been shaped by a book my wife just read called "Radical Homemaker"