Story by Sean Gustafson
“There is no way out of this crisis,” Floyd Norris told students at the University of Utah on Oct. 26, 2011, when talking about the current condition of the United States’ economy; clarifying his statement Norris, the chief financial columnist for the New York Times, continued by stating, “at least not simply.”
Norris began his lecture by comparing the current U.S. economy with previous economic hard times and some of the lessons that have came about from those time periods.
“One of the things I [have] learned [in school] was that it was never really consented what caused the Great Depression.” Norris continued with because there wasn’t that consensus, it played a major role for what has been going wrong recently.
Norris continued because there wasn’t this consensus on what lead to the Great Depression and later recessions, people didn’t understand the economy. People would continue to spend more than they could afford, banks made poor loans choices and all together people were and still are ignorant to financial matters.
Expanding on this, Norris added, “A lot of the suffering we are undergoing now… was brought about by people who bought homes they should have never purchased and paid more than they could have afford.” People, not understanding beyond the basics of finances and debt, foolishly feel victims to the plague of credit-debt that still haunts many today.
When asked for further clarification on these matters, Norris responded with “I think people assume… a well operating economic and financial system; and if you assume it you won’t pay any attention to it.”
Another point Norris spoke about was that “when credit is easy, it’s a lot of fun.”
Expanding on that statement, student Laurie Carlson said, “If you don’t have credit than you can’t get anywhere.” Carlson continued by expressing with good credit one can buy the houses they want, get their dream car, and receive better loan rates.
When asked about whether or not they understood the topics discussed at the lecture, a lot of the students attending had expressed they had known either very little about finance and the economy or nothing at all beforehand. “I didn’t understand a lot of the technical terms.” said student Halley Hamman.
Despite the swimming in this sea of confusion, there were students who still found the lecture benefitting. Some students took this event as an eye-opening opportunity, such as student Marquis Newman, who expressed because he had a hard time following the lecture he believed he “should learn more about finances.”
Neela Pack, the Student Body President for the University of Utah, said that she felt the lecture was “supper successful.” It got student to think on matters that they wouldn’t normally think about. Pack added that the students were lucky to have such an “esteemed and well respected journalist” talking on such matters.
At the conclusion of the lecture Norris, expressed his optimism for the future when he stated that he believed the economy “will come around.” Norris exclaimed that there were problems before, and there will continue to be problems.
After illustrating the example of Steve Jobs and all he has done, Norris concluded, “this [market of ours] is an amazing system to produce stories like that.”