[Numeracy 350] Re: Freirean Math, plutonomics

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Dudley, Jennifer JDudley at pccc.edu
Fri May 7 08:48:55 EDT 2010

I hold an MBA in Finance. Let me shed some light on the mumbo jumbo that the spin doctors have out there. Most people in financial services need to have learned some math (perhaps through basic calculus but you probably only use slope and your calculator). When you enter the field, you basically need to know how to read charts. There are a few rare individuals in the field who create some math models...but there are no higher order math wizards sitting behind a curtain who are extraordinarily brilliant and driving the show. It's a myth. The concepts behind many "products" could be broken down into a few sentences. The purpose of the products are to make money and to keep the general population deluded and in awe.
It's about greed not math.
Jennifer Dudley
From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of david dirtyknees [neesdd at gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2010 2:42 PM
To: numeracy at nifl.gov
Subject: [Numeracy 346] Freirean Math, plutonomics

Susan, Michael and All,

I was watching a program about Wall Street recently, followed closely by Michael Moore's Capitalism. The same point was made in both that the best mathematicians don't go to work in fields we might expect (science, technology, engineering, etc.) anymore, but now go to Wall Street where they create the math behind derivatives that is far too complex for most of us to grasp. This has effectively enslaved most of us and nullified much of our democracy through engineered financial crises where democracy is shelved to allow for swift action.

I know that sounds alarmist, but if you learn about plutonomics and view the history of how America wealth has shifted from being middle-class at the end of WW2 to having 99% of the wealth owned the top 1% of the population now, it is clear that math is being used in ways that serve the interests of the wealthy to our detriment.

Math must have been an ally to the common person at some points in our development, but in my lifetime, I worry that math has become an enemy of the people. Is there a Math-Freire or a New-Marx around who could help us understand how to educate ourselves and our students to understand plutonomics, and then take action through the last vestige of democracy we have, the vote?

David Dirty Knees