People, Money and Markets

Course Code: ECON 204

Academic Year: 2023-2024

The financial markets have grown dramatically in the past two decades. The decisions of traders in London, Hong Kong, Toronto and New York now affect the fate of entire nations and regions, the tax and spending policies of governments, the interest rate regimes of central banks and even the outcome of elections and the cost of one's mortgage. As such, the financial markets touch the lives of ordinary people. The same is true of the public services people receive, such as highways, bridges, parks, schools, unemployment insurance and old age pensions. More and more people now rely on the financial markets to generate income to purchase houses and cars as well as to finance their children's education and their own retirement. This course will begin by explaining what stocks, bonds, derivatives and currencies are and introducing alternative investments, such as mutual and hedge funds, indexes and index investments. It will then describe the main players in these instruments and how they trade them. With this foundation, the course will then proceed to examine the impact those markets are having on our politics and everyday lives.