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             26 November, 2020
 

    
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Ascent of Money - Must See TV Documentary

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2009-08-01 06:59:45     
Article by Joe DelCasino

This interesting and relevant TV documentary is currently viewable in South Florida at 9pm Wednesday evenings on PBS. The documentary is presented in hourly installments that roughly track the chapters of Niall Ferguson's 2008 book titled The Ascent of Money. Each segment, narrated by its author, examines milestone events from world history from the perspective of their financial and economic roots. In a few short episodes, it has already answered questions that had never even occurred to me, for example: Did you know that the French Revolution had its roots in a government-created speculative investment scheme that occurred in France decades earlier? Did you know that the U.S. Civil War's turning point might be traced to the role of cotton in financing the war and the Confederacy's loss of control of the City of New Orleans? Did you know that world bond markets were borne out of the need for capital by Europe's sovereign powers to finance wars?

Particularly noteworthy for its relevance today is episode six, titled "the return of risk," which directly relates to our nation's current debate about the role of government in our financial crisis and for bringing about an economic recovery. That episode discusses the historical tendencies of societies to "nationalize risk" by making governments responsible for the risks its citizens face; it introduces the welfare state and identifies the apparent successes and failures of a few examples from history, including the United Kingdom, Japan, and Chile.

The episode also makes the point that while some welfare states are considered successful in their ability to satisfy basic societal needs, none has been particularly prosperous economically. For example, the author suggests that Japan's welfare state may be at the root of this otherwise industrious nation's inability to recover from its economic collapse more than a decade ago. And, in stark contrast to Japan, Chile's ability to climb out of its economic doldrums might be attributed to its overhaul of government in the mid 1970s and its institution of a new capitalism.

Those are important comparisons and relevant situations to consider as we witness the rapid expansion of our own government according to the apparent liberal agenda of the Obama administration. You may find, as I did, that episode six provides an insightful perspective from around the world about the historical successes and failures of these ideas, and some useful context as the debate over government intervention in our economy and our lives rages on. Episode six is must see TV, especially for the most civic minded among us.

After viewing half of the episodes, I am confident that business and non-business types alike will find viewing this entire series worthwhile for its sheer novelty, entertainment value as well as its eye-opening perspective on much of the history you "thought" you learned years ago in school.

Specialized in: Ascent - Money - See - Tv Documentary
URL: http://joedelcasino.blogspot.com
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