3 min reading time
An invitation to give a TED Talk is a clear badge of honor in any field and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share views on one of the world’s most unique global stages.
The iconic red letters stand for technology, entertainment and design, but the actual talks often cover themes about human civilization, morality, identity, economics, technology and more.
These financial topics were chosen for their ability to shift how we think about money and challenge our understanding of wealth, savings and economic justice.
Cognitive psychologist Laurie Santos brings a fun and profoundly interesting look at how our species’ economy is mirrored in the day-to-day transactions of monkeys. Her “monkeynomics” explores how our primate relatives struggle to prioritize their needs and fulfill their desires much the same way we do.
Kiva.com co-founder Jessica Jackley helped build a charitable company specializing in microloans for small acts of kindness. Her views on how poverty actually exists in our society, along with the best ways to combat it, have evolved considerably since she helped launch Kiva — and she has the data to explain why.
Social science researcher Michael Norton encourages his audience to allow money to buy happiness in everyday life. His reflections on a “prosocial” approach suggest a new balance between priorities and needs. His data also argues how such spending can benefit almost everyone involved.
Economist Shlomo Benartzi dives into issues of savings and covers how people succeed and what prompts them to failure. It’s not simply an issue of procrastination — choices becomes fogged by philosophy, degrees of entitlement and our expectations of daily standards. Benartzi believes we can build a brighter future for ourselves (as soon as tomorrow) if we break these cycles today.
Money has a language all its own, and behavioral economist Keith Chen looks at how concepts of grammar and word choice can predict the savings patterns for many people. It’s an intriguing linguistic look at how language affects spending habits and how institutions are essentially becoming tone deaf.
Former bank regulator William Black provides a powerful tour of how institutions and investors milked the system from the inside, outpacing traditional bank robbers in both their take and their brazenness. But does white-collar crime really pay?
Rating agency reformer Annette Heuser is very concerned over how credit ratings and the agencies who make them threaten to destabilize entire economies while doing little to serve those being rated. She hopes to bring equality and justice with her vision of a nonprofit system for credit ratings.
“Freakanomics” co-author Steven Levitt offers a fascinating view into the finances of crack dealers and the economic realities of their world. Levitt brings unique observations on the values, risks and hard choices of the common street corner crack dealer and reveals how many actually make below minimum wage.
Energy software guru Alex Laskey has figured out how behavioral science can give you a powerful negotiating tool when dealing with massive utility companies. Understanding how our usage is balanced against our neighbors, he points to how harnessing this knowledge can help you face down companies that only like to deal in hard numbers.