The story of how the world’s economic order was reshaped is an incredible one, and its telling is the focus of the award-winning documentary series The Commanding Heights. Spanning three episodes — “The Battle for the World Economy,” “The Agony of Reform,” and “The New Rules of the Game” — this fascinating series explores how two men’s ideas collided to shape a new era in global economics.
It all began with the Great Depression, as countries around the world scrambled to find ways out of their economic woes. This period saw a remarkable intellectual conflict between governments and markets, pitting John Maynard Keynes’ theories against those of Friedrich von Hayek. Meanwhile, totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union sought to eliminate capitalism altogether. For more than 50 years, these ideological clashes raged across Europe and beyond.
In the 1970s, however, things shifted; while Keynesian theory reigned supreme, communism held firmly entrenched positions. It was in this atmosphere that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan rose to power with their support for free-market capitalism, challenging accepted economic wisdom. Their policies soon spread far beyond Britain and America as nations grappled with deficits and hyperinflation. Many chose “shock therapy”—a rapid conversion to free-market capitalism—despite its human cost.
As communism began to crumble in parts of Latin America and Eastern Europe in the 1980s, so too did the world order that had been maintained since World War II: globalization began to take hold, with foreign investment money pouring into emerging markets from Brazil to India. With privatization transferring economic power back into entrepreneurial hands came both enlightened enterprise and cynical exploitation as wealth became increasingly concentrated among fewer people. Then came Asian crisis in 1997 which shook up Wall Street itself; speculative investment had become rampant worldwide.
We are now living in an era where technological advances have allowed corporations to expand on a global scale; multinational companies now boast valuations larger than entire national economies! But along with opportunities come grave risks: pension funds seeking higher returns inevitably create instability while widening gaps between rich and poor threaten social unrest throughout much of the world.
This is only part of what The Commanding Heights has to offer viewers—a thrilling journey through almost a century of global economics! It showcases how two men’s competing ideas still influence our current politics; it highlights successes like China’s transition from poverty-ridden backwater to major player on the international stage; it reveals scandals like Enron’s collapse which left millions bankrupted…and much more! Now is your chance to discover how we reached our present economic state—gain insight into crucial decisions made by some of history’s most influential decision makers—by tuning into The Commanding Heights!