So we all know that America is facing a "credit crunch" right now, and before it was a credit crunch it was a sub-prime mortgage crisis. And we know that Bear Stearns collapsed, and that the dollar is weak, and that we might be in a recession, and that basically this sucks for all of us.
But do you know how we got here? I didn't. I thought I had a general idea, but really it was just some vague notions that turned out to be mostly wrong. The way I really came to a basic understanding of the actuality of events was through what is becoming my favorite news medium, the podcast. While I had heard a lot of economists talk about the situation, it was not until I heard this weekends episode of This American Life (an incredible show in general) that I truly understood how colossaly stupid even smart money types can be, and how their stupidity, greed and arrogance screwed us all. So take a listen to The Giant Pool of Money, I promise a minor revelation.
In the end, its does not truly matter how we got here because we are here and we have to deal with it, but just like other historical crises, understanding how something came to pass is the most important step in preventing it from happening again.
PS - And this year, since we are electing a new president here in the US, knowing what happened may help us decided who we should vote for.