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Publisher's Summary

Money and finance play a deeply fundamental role in your life. Now, let an expert professor lead you in a panoramic exploration of our monetary and financial systems, their inner workings, and their crucial role and presence in your world.
As a guiding theme of these 36 content-rich lectures, you observe the ways in which economies require efficient and evolving financial institutions and markets to fulfill their potential. In building a full view of our financial system, you delve into these and other vital subjects: central banks, commercial banks, and the Federal Reserve; interest rates and interest rate policy; bonds and stock markets; and foreign exchange and international banking.
Across the arc of this lecture series, you'll tackle key topics that shed light on the functioning of our financial system as a whole. You study the critical subject of inflation and its relationship to the consumer price index and to excess money growth. You'll investigate the causes and implications of the federal deficit and the national debt. In the international arena, you'll learn about the implications of trade deficits in global economic relationships and the question of monetary policy coordination between nations, weighing the significant benefits to the global economy of cooperation between central banks.
This is a rare chance to gain a grounded understanding of our monetary and financial systems, and to grasp the vital elements of finance that directly affect our way of life, our national concerns, and your own life and future.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Sean on 01-11-14

Desperately needs the study guide to understand

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Although the conceptual portions of the course were easily understood, much of this course cannot be retained or understood without the study guide. When the speaker goes into great detail of equations and charts, it is impossible to follow while driving or just listening.

What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

Only about a third of this course was understandable/useable without the study guide.

Any additional comments?

Until Audible gets the rights to allow you to download the study guide, I would not recommend this course. Too much valuable information is lost without it.

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57 of 57 people found this review helpful

By LongerILiveLessIKnow on 01-14-14

Bank mysteries only somewhat less mysterious

I listened to this to help me gain a deeper understanding of what the hell it is that the Fed and other central bankers do. It helped somewhat. Salemi’s explanations are clear and he’s unbiased in his presentation (unlike, say, Ron Paul’s End the Fed). The topics cover more territory than just central banking. Here are the lecture titles to help you know what the course covers:

1. The Importance of Money
2. Money as a Social Contract
3. How Is Money Created?
4. Monetary History of the United States
5. Local Currencies and Nonstandard Banks
6. How Inflation Erodes the Value of Money
7. Hyperinflation Is the Repudiation of Money
8. Saving—The Source of Funds for Investment
9. The Real Rate of Interest
10. Financial Intermediaries
11. Commercial Banks
12. Central Banks
13. Present Value
14. Probability, Expected Value, and Uncertainty
15. Risk and Risk Aversion
16. An Introduction to Bond Markets
17. Bond Prices and Yields
18. How Economic Forces Affect Interest Rates
19. Why Interest Rates Move Together
20. The Term Structure of Interest Rates
21. Introduction to the Stock Market
22. Stock Price Fundamentals
23. Stock Market Bubbles and Irrational Exuberance
24. Derivative Securities
25. Asymmetric Information
26. Regulation of Financial Firms
27. Subprime Mortgage Crisis and Reregulation
28. Interest Rate Policy at the Fed and ECB
29. The Objectives of Monetary Policy
30. Should Central Banks Follow a Policy Rule?
31. Extraordinary Tools for Extraordinary Times
32. Central Bank Independence
33. The Foreign Exchange Value of the Dollar
34. Exchange Rates and International Banking
35. Monetary Policy Coordination
36. Challenges for the Future

For what it’s worth, I had a really hard time finishing this, taking almost four months. I’m generally not a fan of the Great Courses (I listened to two others on cybersecurity and critical decision-making). The courses seem to share the same strength: organization/conceptual clarity in surveying the various topics you might expect to find under the topic’s umbrella. But they also share the same weakness, i.e., a certain superficial quality. I did not think that Salemi dumbed down the lectures as I felt with the other Great Courses. But, IMHO, he did not linger long enough on some difficult issues.

Also, you should know that this lecture series comes from a video. Salemi references many graphs, charts, and formulas that you obviously can’t see. In some cases (e.g., the explanations of several formulas), the absent visuals made the lecture quite hard to follow.

Salemi, while an excellent lecturer, is one of the slowest speakers you’ll find on Audible. At 2x speed, he sounded like a normal lecturer.

All in all, while I’d recommend passing, I’m not sure what book out there is better as a survey of these topics.

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81 of 82 people found this review helpful

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