Monday, October 24, 2011

12 Must See TED Talks on the Recession

TED Talks have become a go-to resource for finding thoughtful discussion on global issues from some of the world’s biggest and best thinkers. One issue that has been at the forefront of many minds is the recession, and you can be certain that TED has something to say about it. Whether it’s about better investment, irrational economies run by monkeys, or moving on after losing your life savings, these Talks, as always, provide inspiration and thoughtful observations on what’s affecting us in real life.

  1. Geoff Mulgan: Post-crash, investing in a better world

    In 2009, Geoff Mulgan reflected on the “twilight zone” situation in the aftermath of the crash of the world economy, in which no one really knew who we could trust with our money. When you’re so unsure, just where do you go to reboot? Mulgan advises that we don’t continue to support “doomed old industries” with bailout money. Instead, he believes that stimulus money might be used more productively. In Mulgan’s plan, we would use what might be bailout funds to create new, socially responsible companies. He believes that this would make the world a little bit better than continuing the status quo.

  2. Laurie Santos: A monkey economy as irrational as ours

    If you’ve heard of the infinite monkey theorem, in which “a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare,” Laurie Santos’ talk starts to make a lot of sense. Even though she acknowledges that the human race is incredibly smart, Santos also points out that we can make some incredibly stupid decisions. She compares our own human irrationality to the decision-making of primates. Interestingly, she shows that in “monkeynomics,” it’s revealed that humans and monkeys alike can make some pretty silly choices.

  3. Chip Conley: Measuring what makes life worthwhile

    When things hit the fan, sometimes it’s necessary to just go back to basics. Hotelier Chip Conley changed his thinking when the dotcom bubble burst, beginning to pursue a business model based on happiness. He was inspired by an old employee and friend, a Vietnam immigrant who, despite cleaning toilets for a living, brought happiness and “joie de vivre” to everything she did. In spending time with her, he learned that she found happiness in spending time with her colleagues and making people comfortable while they spent time far away from home. Conley learned that it’s not about what you’re doing or the money you’re making, but what we count as successful and worthwhile.

  4. Peter Eigen: How to expose the corrupt

    Peter Eigen reports that the world’s biggest social problems can be traced back to corruption in global companies, working along with government corruption. Anyone who’s been paying attention to the recession will almost certainly agree that one of the major problems leading up to the global financial crisis was corruption, particularly in large corporations. But when these corporations hold so much power, and even work together with governments, how do we make it stop? Eigen suggests that we simply expose them. Follow this talk to see how Eigen and his organization, Transparency International, lead counter-attacks on those that make our world corrupt.

  5. Matt Weinstein: What Bernie Madoff couldn’t steal from me

    While on a beautiful cruise vacation in Antarctica, Matt Weinstein answered a satellite phone call he was not expecting: one that shared the news of Weinstein losing his life savings to Bernie Madoff. His response could have been negative, but instead, Weinstein was hopeful. He realized that pain and suffering comes from not what happens to you, but how you react to it. In this talk, Weinstein discusses making the most of every opportunity, building communities, and spending time with family and friends, the kind of wealth that doesn’t disappear in an economic downturn, but rather, wealth that continues to get stronger and stronger and make us feel truly rich.

  6. Halla Tomasdottir: A feminine response to Iceland’s financial crash

    Before the economy hit the fan in the US, Iceland went through a major financial storm. With a small economy, the Icelandic banking collapse was the largest suffered by any country in economic history. It was, and is, so bad that it could have resulted in national bankruptcy. Currency has fallen in value, many employees have lost their jobs, and companies have declared bankruptcy. Yet, through it all, Halla Tomasdottir’s company, Audur Capital, was able to weather the storm. Tomasdottir credits their success to applying 5 traditionally “feminine” values to financial services. Watch this talk to learn about these values from Tomasdottir herself, and discuss the importance of balance.

  7. Jacqueline Novogratz on patient capitalism

    We all know that good things come to those who wait, and Jacqueline Novogratz’s talk applies that line of thinking to the recession and capitalism. Novogratz discusses how, through the use of “patient capital,” we can work to create sustainable jobs, goods, and services not just for the first world, but for the world’s poorest as well.

  8. Tim Jackson’s economic reality check

    When faced with a global economic crisis, it’s clear that it’s time for an economic reality check. On top of a recession, we’re dealing with climate change, inequity, and more. To put it in Tim Jackson’s terms, we’ve “cashed out” prosperity. So how do we make a change? Jackson recommends challenging established economic principles. He believes the escape lies in the ability to rely on blind faith in our own cleverness and efficiency. Watch Jackson’s talk to learn how we can stop feeding the crises that face our world, and start investing in the future.

  9. Graham Hill: Less stuff, more happiness

    As a country, Americans spend a lot of time accumulating and storing stuff. It’s hard to wrap your head around the idea of a recession, where people are suffering financially, while we have, as Graham Hill reports, three times as much space as we need, and storage lockers to keep even more. With all of our stuff, we certainly seem prosperous, but the reality is not as it seems. We’re drowning in debt, and suffering from less happiness. In this talk, Hill argues that by editing our lives and having less stuff in less room, we can be happier people.

  10. James H Kunstler dissects suburbia

    When cities begin to sprawl, what happens to the public spaces at their heart? In many cases, city centers are abandoned in favor of far-reaching suburban locations, and James Howard Kunstler believes this is not right. In his view, city centers and public spaces should be the center of civic life. But with the spread of suburbia, fewer and fewer people are spending their time within the city center. Instead, Kunstler argues, in sprawling out to suburbia, we’ve worked hard to create places that aren’t really worth caring about.

  11. Amory Lovins on winning the oil endgame

    It’s clear that the world, and especially the US, is addicted to oil. One would think that ridding the US of its addiction would be incredibly painful, but instead, Amory Lovins argues that weaning the US off oil is not only possible, but can revitalize the economy at the same time. Through business leadership, military effectiveness, and conflict prevention, Lovins explains in this talk how the US can kick its oil problem once and for all, coming out stronger on the other side.

  12. Becky Blanton: The year I was homeless

    In this recession, frightening financial situations, including homelessness, have struck those who least expected it. Foreclosures and a touchy housing market have been especially cruel to those who have trouble keeping a roof over their heads. Although Becky Blanton’s homelessness started out intentionally, as a project to live in her van for a year, through an unfortunate turn, she became truly homeless. Follow Becky’s talk to learn about her experience as one of America’s working homeless, and consider how so many homeless Americans, some of them new from the recession, are living today.

Taken From Online MBA

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