The future is now.

Happy new year, global GFTEI-ers. Wearing a snorkel, sitting in a puddle of mud, screaming for the sun is how this blog post comes to you. Continuing the theme of my last post (climate change, people, climate change) I’m about to wrap up my trip to England during what has been determined to be the “wettest winter on record”. The British isles have basically been transformed into a giant, saturated sponge. But Denver, and winter sunshine, beckons (p.s. don’t believe the “sunshine” in the below UK forecast, I’m looking out of the window right now and the sky is an uninspiring shade of WHITE)

reading weather_gftei

denver weather_gftei

In major GFTEI-relevant news, the US reached a deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” (otherwise described as the “fiscal hill” or if you are feeling fit, the “fiscal slope”). The GFTEI program is all about exploring the kind of global economic and political linkages that would have made failure to avoid these drastic tax increases and government spending cuts a reason for serious concern the world over. For this reason, I’m happy to see US politicians were, at the 37th hour, able to stop throwing toys at each other and come to an agreement that once again being responsible for global crisis is Not A Good Idea. Kind of like when bored kids on the south coast of England decide to go “tombstoning”, otherwise known as jumping off cliffs into shallow water, for fun. Obama put it mildly when he said, “The one thing that I think, hopefully, the new year will focus on is seeing if we can put a package like this together with a little bit less drama, a little less brinkmanship, and not scare the heck out of folks quite as much.”

Come next week I’ll be back in classes. This time its Financial Systems and Economic Development with Professor Ilene Grabel, Political and Economic Development with Professor Lynn Holland and, venturing over to the Daniels School of Business for the first time, I’ll be indulging in a bit of masochism with an accounting class. Trust me, if someone had told me this time 5 years ago that I’d be electing to take an accounting class I’d have laughed in their face, but it’s true. Working as a business reporter and trying to interpret the significance of financial statements was my first insight into how useful this skill can be (what exactly is the difference between a cost, an expense and a loss?), followed by trying to keep tabs in my incomes and outflows as a student for the second time. Beyond this, I’ve been informed by none other than an Executive Director at the World Bank that having a basic understanding of accounting is a “very useful skill” indeed, professionally and in life… so there you go, 2 hours 2 times a week for 10 weeks of accounting is the result. (In case you’re wondering, Korbel students can take electives in any other school cost free as long as they meet the entrance requirements, which in the case of this class, is a pre-test I have to get 80% in….hmm, should probably be getting back to the books…).

Really looking forward to both Grabel and Holland’s classes.

Grabel’s class builds on her International monetary relations class I took last quarter. It’s about “the relationship between the organization of national financial systems and overall economic performance” , specifically “1) In what important ways do the national financial systems of developing economies differ in terms of depth, regulation, operation and patterns of state-finance-industry relationships; 2) How do a wide range of theories of the role of finance in economic development–ranging from neoclassical, post-Keynesian, neo-structuralist, and institutionalist–link macroeconomic and sectoral outcomes to differential patterns of financial system organization; and 3) What are the lessons of comparative theoretical and institutional study and the current turbulence in global financial system for debates over financial reform in developing economies today?”. If that sounds interesting to you, you my be a would-be GFTEI-er. As far as I’m concerned, it’s “Brain Candy” (to quote a friend). This might also explain why I can’t talk to most humans anymore without getting blank stares and glazed over eyes. Just kidding!…kinda…(it’s a small price to pay for being able to read the Financial Times with a smug look of comprehension on your face, surely?!).

Holland’s class is all about historic and contemporary issues in the development of Latin America. We’re going to look at factors like the role of dependency, neoclassical economic theory (hello Structural Adjustment), class conflict and social movements…more brain candy.

On that note, I leave you with something to tax your Christmas and New Years-addled minds with…a Global Development Game that has taught me I should never volunteer to teach an African geography class. It was also described by one Korbel student that I shared it with as “the most exciting thing that has happened to me all break”. But that might be building it up a little bit too much…

Click here to let the geek times roll.

The English coast...fancy a swim?

The English coast…fancy a swim?

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Posted on January 2, 2013, in Global Finance Trade and Economic Integration, Josef Korbel School of International Studies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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