I'm embarrassed to say I have still been struggling to understand this whole economic crisis in its entirety (and I'm an MBA). I couldn't read enough to make sense of the bailout of large financial institutions when people were losing their homes, so I thought all would be explained when I attended a lecture by Newt Gingrich and Robert Reisch, each touted by their parties as economic experts. Though the lecture was fascinating and they were both profoundly thoughtful and intelligent, I came away worried that all of the solutions and thoughts they had about the crisis were still based upon what I see as a flawed assumption: continued growth of the economy...ad infinitum.
Simply put, when you look at any sustainable system diagram, the arrows go in a circle; when you look at how we talk about our economy, the arrows always want to point up and off the chart. I couldn't reconcile what I knew from my series exploring sustainability and what I recently learned about our global footprint with how the "experts" were talking about the economy.
After the lecture I came back and decided I would keep searching to try to find something that reconciles this question for me. Then I remembered that little money movie someone had sent me last week to watch that I had forgotten.
Canadian Paul Grignon captures in his simple story-telling what he says he learned in high school: "We were studying logarithmic functions such as interest and it struck me that a money system in which money accrues interest at every turn could only function with exponential growth of the money supply." His film, Money As Debt, is to this question of building a sustainable economy as the Story of Stuff is to the question of consumption of our resources. I hope this film makes it around the world twice or more. I can't believe how much I did not understand about our system of money.
Though its longer than most films, I encourage you to watch--it's worth every minute. If you don't know the history of money and banking, or can't imagine how we'll get to the place where there is more equity in who has and who has not, take a look at Money as Debt. And, share it.