Monday 3 October 2011

Understanding The Global Financial Crisis

Aim of the Activity

·         Understanding the concept of globalization
·         Understanding financial crisis
·         Interpreting political cartoons and place them in context
·         Identifying the techniques used by cartoonists to express opinions
·         Considering the connections: globalization and the current economic crisis
·         Drawing connections between facts
·         Giving personal opinion on this issue


Video: "What is globalization?"  [P. Terrence Hopmann - 1:48]
Video: The Crisis of Credit
Audio: Global Pool of Money Got Too Hungry
PDF: Graphic Organizer
PDF: Handout: Political Cartoons in the Press
Video: USA Crisis Explained
Video: World Crisis Explained in Three Minutes
Reading: Goldman Sachs Rules the World: trader sparks outrage
Video: Goldman Sachs Rules the World


1. Discussing the Global Economy: Write on the board the question:

"What is globalization?"

Have students brainstorm what they know about globalization.

-    What are different aspects of globalization, for example cultural, economic, or political?
-    What have been some of the effects of globalization on people around the world?
-    What have been the effects of globalization on students' families and communities?
-    What are some examples of benefits of living in a more connected world?
-    What are some examples of negative effects of globalization?

In the course of this discussion, you may wish to show your students a short Scholars Online video [1:48 minutes] by Professor P. Terrence Hopmann entitled:

"What is globalization?"

After viewing the clip, ask students to consider how Professor Hopmann explains globalization.

-    What are the different aspects of globalization that he discusses?
-    What are some positive and negative effects of the types of changes that he mentions?

2. Understanding the Financial Crisis:

Although background about the crisis is not necessary for students to do this activity, you may wish to give your students more context to the global economic crisis.
The Crisis of Credit explains the financial crisis in a simple way. 

The Crisis of Credit

Also, NPR's audio clip, Global Pool of Money Got Too Hungry (audioscript included), explains the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States, giving context for the economic crisis that followed.

Choices provides a Graphic Organizer to help students understand the information provided in the audio clip.

Finally, by watching a video explaining the financial crisis in the US and a humorous video which depicts what is happening in the world, we can also understand the global crisis.

US Debt Crisis Explained

World Crisis Explained in three Minutes

3. Analyzing Political Cartoons: Tell students that they are going to analyze a series of political cartoons to understand different viewpoints about the global economy. Tell students that it is not only the message of these cartoons that is important, but also how the message is conveyed.

Click here to see Political Cartoons

What techniques does the cartoonist use to convey his or her views?

Divide the class into groups of three or four each. Distribute "Political Cartoons in the Press" to each student and tell students to read the directions carefully. You may wish to spend extra time going over with students the different techniques listed on the handout. Have groups discuss each cartoon and answer the questions provided.

4. Drawing Connections: Ask students to report on what they discussed. In each cartoon,

-     What was the cartoonist's message?
-     How did the cartoonist express this message?
-     What information about the global economy do these different cartoons convey?

5. Who Profits from this Crisis:

Read the article:  Goldman Sachs Rules the World: trader sparks outrage

and watch the video:

 Goldman Sachs Rules the World

6. Drawing Conclusions:

Have students consider the current economic crisis.

-    What have you heard about the crisis on the news or from your families, teachers…?
-    What effects has the crisis had on businesses and people in your country?
-    What about businesses and people in other countries?
-    Have you seen any effects of the economic crisis in your communities?
-    According to what you know about the global economy, the cartoons we have just analyzed, the article we have read and the videos we have seen, what are the causes to the current economic and financial crisis? 
We cannot offer a solution to this problem because we are not economists, but what is our role and what can we do as ordinary citizens?

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