Political economy is the study of the macro functional outcome of how our species organizes itself in its various groupings. It is easy in the CNBC whizbang world to get caught up in bombastic posturing and the banalities of some host with a suit and an opinion trying to get you to watch for just one extra 30 second ad.
Economics is more than a clownesque Cramer who fails an economic and entertainment litmus test. Thank god CNBC's ratings are dwindling as America looks to re-invent itself with the next quick buck plan and inflates the next bubble with accompanying amplifying digital hope halo.
I think travel, time with the family or a good dinner party would have been a better way to a richer life than the banality of installing granite counter-tops in the hopes of goosing home equity as a way to a "richer life".
Most of the readers of this blog may think and study what happens on the more functional / developed economy end of the economic continuum. There is much to be learned about what happens when things go wrong in our developed economy from emerging or chronically dysfunctional economies. Our crises are sporadic, but not chronic or endemic, at least not yet.
On the other end of the political economic continuum is real failure with a larger human toll. Learning about from these failures could be as important. Who knows, studying external aid stimulus shocks in the 3rd world may tell us something about the efficacy of our own stimulus attempts?
Would anyone pay cash to destroy clunker goats as a way stimulate the farming economy in a developing country? Think about it? Of course "we" are different, insert your own pedantic ethnocentric myopic narrative of fact here.
When a state fails in a profound economic way it has serious human costs.
One of the least dignified ways for a person to die is from a banal disease such as Cholera. While not as exciting as looking at the latest ponzi, bailout, or bonus "horror" there is a lot to learn from the other extremes of economic failure. This video shows Zimbabwe and its Cholera epidemic, which can be almost solely blamed on failed govt policy in a kleptocracy gone horribly wrong. A cholera epidemic is an output of a failed political and economic system. All systems of economy may have something to teach, even in their failings.
For those interested in learning about economics and the concept of political economy, I would suggest reading Amartya Sen's thoughts on capabilities.
I am looking forward to reading his new book on concepts of the Idea of Justice. This won't excite the CNBC crowd or those looking at charts trying to divine the next 10 minutes in the S&P 500, but I look forward to some quiet time with it.
Not only is a Sen a grounded realist as an Economist and Nobel Prize winner, he also helped develop the UN Human Development Index.
Who knows an hour or two reading Sen, may be a "richer" experience than the same time spent watching "Financial Journalism" on CNBC.
Full Disclosure: I haven't owned a TV in 20 years, but suffer the pointlessness of CNBC's "Journalism" daily in the background in the trading office I currently find myself in. There are some needles in the CNBC digital haystack, but they are far to thinly spread between the empty opinions and vaudevillian digital charades to be worthwhile.
I believe the only way CNBC will get the audience back is to follow the wrestling industries strategy from the 80's. Tell everyone it is fake and then really put on a show WWF style. Amp it out with midgets, texas deathmatches, etc. The crowd wants bread and circuses so deliver. Drop the pretensions of Journalism or economics and get on with the show.