Friday, June 24, 2011

Tulip Bubble

Today in class, we deviated from lecturing from the book and instead, Mr. Coleman educated us on the recent financial crisis in the United States. This lecture was the most interesting class we have had so far. I was always curious about the economic downturn, I didn’t know much about it until today. Our teacher explained the cause of the housing crash, the role of credit rating agencies in the crisis, the Dodd-Frank bill, mortgage-backed securities, credit default swaps, stocks, banks, loans, leverage, and securitization. He also told us about the conflict of interest for credit rating agencies and how subprime loans contributed to the financial downfall. We covered a lot of material and the concepts were difficult so I tried my best to absorb most of the information.

The most intriguing part of the lecture for me was about the tulip bubble in the Netherlands during the 17th century. A bubble is a boom in the price of something followed by a rapid fall. Mr. Coleman told us that tulip prices shot up in the Netherlands until the cost of a single tulip bulb reached up to more than six times a person’s salary. People bought tulip bulbs not for the tulip itself but for the chance of selling it later as prices continued to rise. Eventually the price fell, but the fact that this extreme inflation occurred astonished me. Mr. Coleman compared buying a tulip bulb to purchasing a Mercedes car. Nowadays, no one in their right mind would do that. I find this event extremely fascinating and plan to look into it more.

At 2 PM, I went to another session of yoga with Erinn, Frank, and Andrew. This time, the instructor introduced more difficult balance poses, and I found myself struggling not to fall. Yoga has taught me better ways to stand and breathe, which I hope to apply to my daily life. After yoga, Erinn and I explored the campus and were joined by Erin on our way to Thayer Street. We went inside many interesting stores including a thrift shop, an Indian shop, and Urban Outfitters. I always love hanging out with the Erin(n)s.

Erinn and I went to watch Inception in Salomon Hall at 8 PM. More students showed up for this movie than Freakonomics. This was my third time watching it so I almost fell asleep during parts of the movie. Erinn and I are still arguing about whether or not Cobb, the main character, was dreaming at the end.

Tomorrow is Saturday, which means I get to sleep in at last! I can’t wait.

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