There is a lot of spew about ‘behavioral economics’, the ‘behavior’ of markets, the psychology of markets, etc., and that ilk in pop media as well as ‘professional’ journals. All bring to mind that you can say almost anything if you don’t have to substantiate it. For the most part these type articles fill the vacuum left by disciples NOT having any scientific and empirical approaches to apply where needed. Most tell the reader little of value and almost all promise to understand the future enough to predict it. Yes, red flags all for those trying to figure what the heck is going on out there [in the world].
Niall Ferguson has written a book “The Ascent of Money” and, far from being a primer on Money 101 from this Harvard faculty member, his book is a set of deposits and balance statements on selected facts on loot, dinero, change, coin, or money and how it works with almost no relevance to the global financial meltdown (1-15-09).
So that you can appreciate the basis of what is going on out there financially and be entertained at the same time, I have enclosed the beautifully done PBS 2 hour documentary for online viewing. It is outstanding! Not in its profundity but in its scope. It was done (filmed, edited and packaged) before the death knell of current markets was sounded and it can’t possible live up to the expectations of those seeing it now through pauper’s glasses who are looking for THE ANSWER
The sections follow a sensible sequence: the history of money, trust, credit, bonds, stocks, insurance, real estate, globalization, hedge funds, computer models of investing, and “behavioral” finance. In reality the whole thing is about behavior; there is less focus on disciples of finance, economics, banking and risk management. See what you think. Let me know and I’ll respond to your thoughts and critiques.