This interdisciplinary course explores the economic, political, and cultural forces that shape the financial system and, through this system, have major effects on the economy and on society. You will gain an understanding of how the interactions between individuals, corporations, governments, and the media can help the financial system and the economy work better or in turn allow those with better information and control to harm others unnecessarily. Topics include the basic principles of investment and funding, corporations and their governance, financial markets and institutions, and political and ethical issues. We will discuss recent and ongoing news events and analyses immediately relevant to the material. The approach will be rigorous and analytical but not overly mathematical. A few visitors will further enrich the discussion. Prerequisite: Econ 1 or equivalent.