Required Listening: This American Life Explains the Financial Crisis


At the beginning of this week’s episode of This American Life, host Ira Glass says, “One way you can tell that things are really bad is when you suddenly find yourself trying to understand things you never really cared about before.”

If you’re trying to figure out when and why the sub-prime mortgage crisis became a credit crisis, what “breaking the buck” means, and why Warren Buffett called credit default swaps “financial weapons of mass destruction,” you really should listen to this entertaining, enlightening and yes, frightening podcast that looks at the events of the past couple weeks and the bailout package. You can listen in or download the hour-long show for free this week (next week, it will cost $.95) here.

And if you’d like to learn more about the housing and lending crisis, an episode of This American Life that aired on May 9th does an amazing job of explaining exactly how and why those “toxic” mortgages came about. Called “The Great Pool of Money,” the show is $.95 to download. You can download a free transcript of the entire episode.

Another great resource is the Planet Money blog. The two main contributors to the above episodes, along with some other folks from NPR, explain what the ever-changing news of the day really means.

There have been some really interesting discussions on Wesabe looking at how the financial crisis is affecting people and changes they are making as a result.

Where do you turn for information about the current economic situation? Who are you talking to about what’s going on in the economy and your financial life?

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