The month of January has come to a close and it has not been a good start to the year. Wall street had its worst start since 2009. The Bank of Japan has implemented negative interest rates. Trump still leads the GOP despite boycotting the final republican debate before the Iowa caucus. China’s era of exponential growth seems to have come to a sputtering halt. Now some of the world’s biggest hedge funds are placing their bets, shorting the yuan in anticipation of a further slide in the Chinese currency. It has been a tumultuous start to the year, but what does it all mean? Are we doomed for another financial crisis? Is this just a market correction?
We can read all the tabloids we want but fully understanding their implications can be a daunting task. I do not purport to know anything about the markets, or politics, or even the best way to tie shoes, but I can learn. We can all learn. For this reason I am excited for my classes this fall, particularly Finance 137 taught by George Jouganatos. The course is titled “Financial Institutions and Markets,” and although it is an upper-division course it is merely an introduction to the inner-workings of the financial markets, much like an introduction to Political Science course would be to global politics. In just one week and two class sessions, the class has retouched on economic fundamentals, you know, supply and demand, classical versus Keynesian theory, and so on. It really gets your brain working and it is in our class discussions that I worry that not enough people really understand these topics. Maybe now is a good time to say I chose to be a business major because I wanted to know about the one thing that rules the world, money. It may be a morbid reality but it is the way the world works. Personally I do not need millions to be happy, taking finance courses is not just about getting rich, it is more about understanding the rules we all live by. It is my goal in taking three finance courses this semester, FIN 135, 136, and 137, that I will leave with a better understanding of these rules.
I guess this is my call to arms (or disgruntled Senior plea):
True expertise takes a lifetime of study, but as voting citizens of these United States, and as a Homo sapiens, it is our duty to think critically about our world. Living passively won’t bring progress for our country, or humanity. College is a time to have fun but it is also a time to soak in the teachings of the experts that teach our classes. As the semester gets into full swing I look forward to building upon what I already know, and even more excited for finding out the things I don’t.
Maybe this post is just a Senior four months from graduation voicing a biased opinion about why finance is important in the vain of ethnocentrism, but I hope to have struck a chord with some of you.
-Anthony Parenzin (DJ Ricky Sueños)