Baa Baa Black Sheep, have you any, uh… wool?
May 19, 2014 6:26 PM   Subscribe

The Age of Uncertainty, A Personal View by John Kenneth Galbraith was a 12 (or 15) part documentary mini-series about the fickle art of economics, co-produced by the BBC, CBC, KCET & OECA, and broadcast on television in 1977. Galbraith’s dry Scottish Canadian wit, and the 70’s-style art-direction, are worth viewing for those who like this sort of thing. The parody corporate videos for the Conglomerate UGE anticipated some of the ideas explored later in the 2003 documentary The Corporation. Some parts will seem dated, considering that this series was produced in the thick of The Cold War, before the rise of Reaganomics, Thatcherism, The Fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of the EU, yuan, electronic transfers, etc. The basic insights about the instability of financial markets are still real, as always.

1. The Prophets and Promise of Classical Capitalism
2. The Manners and Morals of High Capitalism
3. The Dissent of Karl Marx
4. The Colonial Idea
5. Lenin and the Great Ungluing
6. The Rise and Fall of Money
7. The Mandarin Revolution
8. The Fatal Competition
9. The Big Corporation
10. Land and People
11. The Metropolis
12. Democracy, Leadership, Commitment
13. Weekend in Vermont, 1
14. Weekend in Vermont, 2
15. Weekend in Vermont, 3

Weekend in Vermont is a curious symposium/home-movie which was added onto this series.
Henry Kissinger drops by for a visit.

Of course, not everyone loves the ideas of left-leaning liberal economists.
Milton Friedman responded with his own 1980 Conservative Economics Television Documentary Mini-Series:
Free to Choose.
posted by ovvl (5 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
OMG. Even today, I still quote Galbraith from this series. Somewhere in one of those shows is a rant about his frustration working with economics professors who are heavily invested in the certitude of their work. He said, "college trains people to believe they are right!"
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:31 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

"In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong."

If only that fit on a bumpersticker. It might *just* fit on the handle of a pitchfork, though...
posted by uosuaq at 7:43 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, JKGalbraith. I keep finding myself yelling "Countervailing Powers" every time I watch the news these days.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:36 PM on May 19, 2014

This looks amazing and I had no idea it existed! Thanks for posting.
posted by ropeladder at 4:59 AM on May 20, 2014

Thanks for pointing this out. I'm a huge fan of the Kenneth Clark one and managed most of The Ascent of Man but, as much as I find the theatrical dressings cute, feel like this is one I would prefer to read. But woulda been fun to see in high school (not gonna happen in Texas though I don't think).
posted by zbsachs at 8:21 AM on May 20, 2014

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