Top 10 TED Talks on Money and Currencies

TED talks give viewers the opportunity to engage with some of the most fascinating minds of our time. With subjects ranging from business to global issues, this technology, entertainment, and design conference records short video lectures in order to share “ideas worth spreading.” In today’s economy, TED videos on money and currencies can help us understand the best approach to solving problems in our era. A look at some of the best TED videos on money and currency can help boost awareness on current issues and create a dialogue to begin creating solutions.

James B. Glattfelder: Who Controls the World

Economic design expert James B. Glattfelder explores the principle of the “science of complexity” in this compelling lecture. Glattfelder, a Swiss hedge fund researcher, believes that wealth concentrated in the hands of a few weakens our financial ecosystem the way a lopsided nest would lack support structure and fall. Since all citizens are interconnected in global economies, Glattfelder explains that a more transparent approach to wealth is necessary for the financial health of all. This lecture offers excellent insight to those wanting to understand how global markets work.

Richard Wilkinson: How Economic Inequality Harms Societies

British author Richard Wilkinson explores how wealth inequality affects health and even lifespan of people at all levels of society. As an economist and former epidemiologist, Wilkinson presents real quantitative data on the damage that bizarre wealth distribution and false sense of power can cause. By reducing corruption and setting up real standards for equal opportunities, nations can improve the physical and financial health of their cities. With over 1.5 million views and counting, this lecture on inequality is worth watching.

Peter Eigen: How to Expose the Corrupt

Former World Bank manager Peter Eigen presents the grim reality of global corruption in this talk. Using specific examples and data, Eigen demonstrates how government and corporate corruption go hand in hand to destroy economies in the long run. While many individuals are interested in global development and equality, real corruption such as brides and money laundering student growth in emerging economies. As founder of the NGO Transparency International, Eigen also presents ways that everyday people can come together to fight the corruption that affects all of our lives in the long run.

Laurie Santos: A Monkey Economy as Irrational as Our Own

Yale professor Laurie Santos presents this engaging lecture to suggest that our irrational attitudes toward money may have more to do with nature than nurture. Through a series of controlled studies, Santos demonstrates the “roots of human irrationality” by recording the approach other primates take the the introduction of money and currencies. By understanding this predictable behavior, we may be able to predict our own irrationalities and steer clear of making the same mistakes again.

Rachel Botsman: The Currency of the New Economy is Trust

Innovation consultant Rachel Botsman demonstrates the “currency of trust” in this unique lecture. As the director of The Collaborative Lab, a consultancy that works with Fortune 500 companies and governments, Botsman shows that reputation often trumps all in taking businesses to the next level. From companies such as Apple to Starbucks, each brand can build its reputation and create a name that is synonymous with success. This lecture is for anyone who wants to understand how the best companies build names for themselves that spread the world over.

Yochai Benkler: The New Open Source Economics

In this TED talk, Harvard Law professor Yochai Benkler present his theory on open exchange as the new frontier of human civilization. While in the past, civilizations relied on newspapers and telegraphs to exchange information, Benkler believes that open source projects such as Wikipedia and Linux are at the forefront of the evolving information age. Benkler also explores how crowd sourcing and free exchange of ideas improves standard of living not just for the disadvantaged, but for all who benefit from more educated and productive citizens. For anyone wanting to remain up to speed with our constantly changing technology, this lecture is a must-see.

Robert Neuwirth: The Power of the Informal Economy

Journalist and travel writer Robert Neuwirth explores the often overlooked world of street markets in this lecture. Responsible for income of nearly one-fourth of the world’s households, street markets and vendors are also among the most vulnerable to unstable economies. Neuwirth presents his theory on how to help street vendors thrive in their self-made economies, rather than subject them to unrealistic regulations. For those interested in social justice, micro-finance, and global development, this lecture offers an eyewitness view how people really earn a living around the world.

Auret van Heerden: Making Global Labor Fair

In this lecture, Auret van Heerden explores the hard truth of how the Western world really gets the raw materials to make some of our most beloved products. From the iPhone to grocery store chocolate, van Heerden reveals that each product can result from a supply chain of sweatshops, mines, and plantations. Although foreign sweatshops have been a hot topic in the past, this lecture shows that domestic sweatshops are a reality in the present. In his expertise, the lecturer also explains how lack of global jurisdictions has prevented governments from changing these human rights violations at the grassroots level. As head of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), van Heerden exposes the realities of modern day slavery and what everyday people can do to build a more ethical society.

Geoffrey West: The Surprising Math of Cities and Corporations

Physicist Geoffrey West explains how simple mathematical principles can predict most problems that countries encounter in their cities. As the heartbeat of global economies, cities produce much of the wealth and currency flow that help keep countries strong. However, since cities are often the breeding ground for corruption, pollution, and crime, West explains that making accurate predictions are necessary to keep economies from falling apart. This lecture is great viewing for anyone who wants to understand how cities fuel the economy and help organize the world.

Rob Harmon: How the Market Can Keep Streams Flowing

Energy expert Rob Harmon explores the economy of natural resources in this timely lecture. With the rise of business using limited resources, Harmon shows that true sustainability is a necessity rather than an option. Using the case study of how fresh water is essential for the operation of many businesses, Harmon also shows how water flow is a metaphor for the proper flow of money and currencies. As former consultant with Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), Harmon teaches that renewable energy and fair exchange of resources is necessary for all economies to thrive.


With over 1 billion video views and counting, TED talks create a great dialogue for sharing important ideas around the world. Viewers can take the unprecedented opportunity to listen firsthand to the most innovative minds in our world. These topics are especially relevant to the challenges we face in handling money, economies, and currencies. Such timely lectures can help ordinary people stay up to date with the latest challenges all over the world. In order to understand the changes occurring in economies daily and examining solutions, we can become more educated in how markets shape our lives.