Subprime, the Credit Crisis, and Naked Short Selling

For an in-depth explanation of the subprime crisis — which has now, of course, led to the current chaos involving mortgage-backed securities — look no further than “The Giant Pool of Money.” That’s the name of a special, hour-long episode produced by This American Life and NPR News. The show aired back in May and has been widely praised. From the show notes:

We explain it all to you. What does the housing crisis have to do with the turmoil on Wall Street? Why did banks make half-million dollar loans to people without jobs or income? And why is everyone talking so much about the 1930s? It all comes back to the Giant Pool of Money.

I also suggest checking out the Sept. 12 episode of TAL. In the second part of that show, called “Enforcers,” producer Alex Blumberg looks the SEC’s decision to ban naked short selling. (Related: NPR recently launched Planet Money, a new podcast devoted to financial issues.)

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Hi. I'm Newley Purnell, a journalist covering technology and business for The Wall Street Journal, based in New Delhi. I use this site to share my stories and often blog about the books I read, tech, sports, travel and more. Join the growing group of readers who get my email newsletter.

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  1. LOVE the TAL episode on the giant pool of money! This really helped me understand what was happening, although I still don’t get why there were no checks and balances. It seems like every bar letting every customer run a tab.