Ricardo and Malthus: Did You Say Freedom?

Ricardo and Malthus: Did You Say Freedom?

'To see weeds grow where we used to build things that were in every General Motors vehicle is just terrible.' - Art Reyes, electrician and former GM employee, Flint, Michigan

In Flint, Michigan, a weed-strewn lot is all that's left of a factory that once employed over 10,000 people. In Haiti, cheap subsidized American rice has flooded the market, forcing local producers out of business and into the capital, Port-au-Prince, where they struggle to find work. In Ghana, the International Monetary Fund's 'structural adjustment' has meant selling public assets to foreign investors and a market flooded with cheap imports.

All of these events can be traced back to the thinking of two men born in the 18th century: David Ricardo and Thomas Malthus.

Ricardo was a stockbroker who developed the notion of comparative advantage: that countries should specialize and meet each other's needs through trade. Malthus was the demographer who feared a population explosion would cause the world to run out of food by 1890, and worked with Ricardo to eliminate public assistance for the poor in order to create a mobile and motivated workforce.

Together, they would restructure society in the image of the market. But the origins of international trade are far from free. They involved heavy subsidies, market protection, and the barrels of guns pointed at recalcitrant nations.

Featuring economics superstar Thomas Piketty, former WTO Director-General Pascal Lamie, former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson, sociologist David Graeber, and others.

"A captivating epic... a major contribution to economic and social reflection." —Le Monde (France)

"Brings clarity to confusion, makes complexities accessible, and produces a clear narrative of a system that seems opaque to most people." —Journal du Dimanche (France)

"Masterly... is going to revolutionize our vision of the economic world." —La Vie (France)

"In first look CAPITALISM seems like the economics class you should have skipped.... but in a second look CAPITALISM is the seminar that you must take in the second semester ... the point of view is very different and surprising, the result is an impressive, visually rich series.” —Israel HaYom (Israel)

"Should not be missed! Combines highly educational explanations of concepts, economic history and contemporary life, to create a series of documentaries, each of which it is difficult to stop watching!" —Alternatives Economiques (France)

"10 Stars! A truly captivating series that delves into history, philosophy, investigates four corners of the planet, and stimulates the viewer with a re-examination of the basic concepts that define our lives." —Globes (Israel)

The series was chosen as one of the ten best programs in France in 2014.

Citation

Main credits

Clarke, George T. (narrator)
Ziv, Ilan (film director)
Ziv, Ilan (film producer)
Ziv, Ilan (screenwriter)
Nahon, Bruno (screenwriter)
Nahon, Bruno (film producer)
Cadieux, Paul (film producer)

Other credits

Director of photography, Phillipe, Bellaiche; editor, David Le Guerrier; original music, Robert-Marcel Lepage.


Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Business
Business Ethics
Business and Economics
Economics
Economic Sociology
Europe (West)
Globalization
Historiography
History (World)
Labor Studies
Philosophy
Political Science
Political Theory
Politics
Sociology

Keywords

; "Episode 3"; Icarus Films; capitalism; Flint; Michigan; Haiti; Haiti; GM; unemployment; Port-au-Prince; David Ricardo; Thomas Malthus; IMF; International Monetary Fund; Thomas Piketty; Pascal Lamie; WTO; Simon Johnson;

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