Monday, May 9, 2016

"Capitalism" (DVD series)

Ilan Ziv (Icarus Films); Mitch Jeserich (KPFA); Sheldon S, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly

film still Debt, slavery, imperialism, missionary Christianity, and capitalism have all been distorted to become the engines of unprecedented economic growth and social transformation.

With the fall of the communist states and the triumph of "neo-liberalism," capitalism is now by far the world's dominant ideology.

But how much do we understand about how it originated and what makes it work?
film still"Capitalism" (the DVD set) is an ambitious and accessible 6-part documentary series that looks at both the history of ideas and the social forces that have shaped the enslaved capitalist world (with many impoverished wage slaves).

Blending interviews with some of the world's great historians, economists, anthropologists, and social critics (complete list), with on-the-ground footage shot in 22 countries, "Capitalism" questions the MYTH of an unfettered free market.

It explores the nature of debt and commodities and retraces some of the great economic debates of the last 200 years.
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The series was chosen as one of the ten best programs in France in 2014. Each 52-minute episode is designed to stand alone:
  • Episode 1: Adam Smith, The Birth of the Free Market Capitalism is much more complex than the vision moral philosopher Adam Smith laid out in The Wealth of Nations. Indeed, it predates Smith by centuries and took root in the practices of colonialism and the slave trade.
  • Episode 2: The Wealth of Nations: A New Gospel? Adam Smith was both moral philosopher and economist. But his work on morality is largely forgotten, leading to tragic distortions that have shaped our global economic system.
  • Episode 3: Ricardo and Malthus: Did You Say Freedom? The roots of today's global trade agreements lie in the work of stockbroker David Ricardo and demographer Thomas Malthus. Together, they restructure society in the image of the market.
  • Episode 4: What If Marx Was Right? Have we gotten Marx wrong by focusing on the Communist Manifesto instead of on his critique of how capitalism works -- a critique that is relevant and as penetrating as ever?
  • Episode 5: Keynes vs. Hayek: A Fake Debate? The ideological divide between the philosophies of John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek has dominated economics. Is it time for the pendulum to swing back to Keynes? Or do we need a whole new approach that goes beyond this dualism?
  • Episode 6: Karl Polanyi, The Human Factor Exploration of the life and work of Polanyi, who sought to reintegrate society and economy. Could the commodification of labor and money be as disastrous as floods, drought, and earthquakes?
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"Capitalism" the series is impressive. It makes economics accessible through an interdisciplinary approach that explores the work of great thinkers, embedding economics in specific social, political, and historical contexts. The series can be watched as a whole, but each episode also stands alone.
The series features some of the world's top economists, historians, anthropologists, and sociologists, including Noam Chomsky and David Graeber. View complete list of storytellers.

Mr. Monty Burns, voted "most hated man in America" (The Simpsons)

  • "A captivating epic...a major contribution to economic and social reflection."Le Monde
  • "Offers a fresh perspective of the events and ideas that set the stage for free markets....comprehensive...Highly recommended."Educational Media Reviews Online 
  • "Brings clarity to confusion, makes complexities accessible, and produces a clear narrative of a system that seems opaque to most people."Journal du Dimanche
  • " of the economic world."La Vie

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