A Pair of Glasses

David Talbot College of Business Administration

David Talbot and students.

This occurred in my economics class in Money & Banking. We were having a discussion on the merits of Glass-Steagall. The Glass-Steagall Act was legislation enacted in 1933 that led to the separation of investment banking activities from commercial banking. Speculative investment banking was believed to be a primary contributor to the failure of many banks following the 1929 stock market crash. However, in 1999 Glass-Steagall was repealed.

The banking crisis of 2008 has brought this topic back into the spotlight. Today Glass-Steagall is discussed frequently in economics classes.

During the discussion I called on one of the students for comment. She spoke of gender issues. At first I could not quite figure out where she was going, but then I recognized her problem. She had confused Glass-Steagall with what has been referred to today as the “glass ceiling.” The glass ceiling has to do with the inaccessibility of women to achieve parity with men in the management of firms.

We require that students read the chapter material before coming to class so as to gain the most from lectures and to participate meaningfully in class discussions. Her cover was obviously blown! ☺