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Financial Literacy Or Financial Castigation?, John A. E. Pottow Jan 2011

Financial Literacy Or Financial Castigation?, John A. E. Pottow

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This year, the Canadians- through their government-convened Task Force on Financial Literacy - have proudly produced, "Canadians and their Money: Building a Brighter Financial Future." Armed with 30 recommendations, its most dramatic innovation is to recommend the creation of a Financial Literacy Leader. I have been asked to provide an American perspective on this report specifically and the broader agenda of "financial literacy" more generally as a consumer welfare intervention. Let me start by acknowledging the critiques of the Canadian Task Force. For example, my Canadian colleague, Saul Schwartz, has already drafted a compelling analysis of the political economy behind the ...