The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of the development narrative. But the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and developing world leaders have become ... See full summary »
From ticket-fixing in our police departments to test-score scandals in our schools, from our elected leaders' extra-marital affairs to financial schemes undermining our economy, dishonesty ... See full summary »
The Divide tells the story of 7 individuals striving for a better life in modern day US and UK - where the top 0.1% owns as much wealth as the bottom 90%. By plotting these tales together, we uncover how virtually every aspect of our lives is controlled by one factor: the size of the gap between rich and poor.The film is inspired by "The Spirit Level" by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.
Nearly 100 years after its creation, the power of the U.S. Federal Reserve has never been greater. Markets and governments around the world hold their breath in anticipation of the Fed ... See full summary »
Terry Jones presents Boom Bust Boom. The result of a meeting between writer, director, historian and Python Terry Jones and economics professor and entrepreneur Theo Kocken. Co-written by Jones and Kocken and featuring John Cusack, Nobel Prize winners Daniel Kahneman, Robert J Shiller and Paul Krugman, the film is part of a global movement to change the economic system through education to protect the world from boom and bust. A unique look at why economic crashes happen, Boom Bust Boom is a multimedia documentary combining live action with animation and puppetry to explain economics to everyone.
An Engaging and Amusing Documentary of Financial Crises in Capitalism
OK, so maybe you have to be an economist (like me) or a financial analyst to enjoy this 70 minute trip through the periodic financial crises (like the one in 2008) that seem to plague capitalism, but I believe any educated person interested in the causes and after-effects of the 2008 crisis can enjoy this film. It's an interesting combination of animation, puppetry, and original songs that's melded with serious commentary by a number of well-known and influential economists including three Nobel Prize winners. We learn about the various "asset price bubbles" that preceded the unsustainable run-up in home prices prior to the financial crisis and stock market crash of 2008, like the tulip bubble in 17th century Holland, the South Seas bubble in 18th century Britain, and of course the Wall Street crash of 1929. Terry Jones, one of the filmmakers, proves once again that the Monty Python comedy troupe harbored some of the most intelligent, if zany, comedians you'll find anywhere.
The larger issue in this unusual and amusing documentary is the inability of the prevailing mainstream paradigm in economics (the "neo-classical synthesis" for you aficionados) to reflect the mass psychology of financial markets and institutions and their periodic proclivity to either "irrational exuberance" or morbid fear. In addition, the regulatory authorities periodically accommodate market excesses by deregulation and then become more restrictive when the financial excesses have already wrecked the real economy as shown in this film. I am largely sympathetic with this point of view and have long felt that economics suffers from "physics envy" with its elaborate mathematical models (made possible by the assumption that economic agents are optimizing and calculating machines) and its emphasis on market equilibriums. Some of the speakers in this film suggest that economics would be more realistic if it became more of a narrative and descriptive discipline similar to the other social sciences and made less heroic assumptions about the rationality of its agents. Of course, that would be at the expense of the "rigor" of the discipline. Unfortunately, there were no counter-arguments presented by the filmmakers, and at the end we have one economist say: "we have to re-design a new economy." When I hear that, I'm left with the thought that just maybe the periodic excesses in financial markets are the necessary price we must pay for the dynamism of a market economy.
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