Age of Uncertainty
The ideas of economists and social philosophers shape actions and events even when we are unaware of their sources. They have a decisive influence on the great rush of revolution and change through which the world has passed in the last two hundred years. Professor John Kenneth Galbraith traces these ideas and their consequences from Adam Smith, through Marx and Lenin, to Keynes and to the thinking that gave shape to the concepts of the Cold War, the corporation and, now, the conflicts and concerns of the Third World.
1. The Prophets and Promise of Classical Capitalism
The ideological development of classical capitalism in Britain and France and its flowering into an accepted certainty in the United States in the late 19th century. It discusses the contributions of Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Thomas Malthus.
2. The Manners and Morals of High Capitalism
The robber baron industrial capitalists of the late nineteenth century and examines their conspicuous consumption concept of earning and spending money. It discusses ways in which this concept affects our attitudes today.
3. The Dissent of Karl Marx
The film opens with a view of Marx’s tomb. Galbraith enumerates the different qualities of Karl Marx. We are shown the home where he was born in Trier, Germany, and his early life history is recounted. Hegel and the University of Berlin stand out as a high-point.
4. The Colonial Idea
Focuses on colonialism and the colonial adventure, which Galbraith considers historically and as a continuing legacy.
5. Lenin and the Great Ungluing
The outbreak of the first world war, with its absurd unreason, should have triumphantly fulfilled Marx’s prophecy of the end of capitalism. The war and the events leading up to it are illustrated on stage by posturing knights. The life of Lenin is counterpointed with the scenes of war.
6. The Rise and Fall of Money
This program focuses on the history and function of money in society, which Galbraith considers through an analysis of the cycles of instability and inflation that plague the system.
7. The Mandarin Revolution
This program focuses on the world-wide slump that threatened economic disaster after World War I and the role of economist John Maynard Keynes’ ideas on saving the West.
8. The Fatal Competition
This program investigates the origins and development of the military and industrial economy as a result of the cold war and the continuing rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union.
9. The Big Corporation
The corporation, as a myth and reality, is examined and dissected. Multi national corporations are prominent today, their image is similar no matter where the corporation is headquartered. Corporations are also leading the way in advancing capitalism as a form of governance that is in contradiction to and often times conflicting with democracy.
10. Land and People
This program focuses on the role of land in determining wealth and poverty and its effect on social and foreign policies.
This video portrays problems of the industrial society as seen in the urban metropolis, which best reflects its uncertainty and crisis.
12. Democracy, Leadership, Commitment
Focuses on the processes and operation of democracy with a look at the American experiment. It combines Galbraith’s personal memoirs of leaders that he has known, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr, with emphasis on the role of individual action in government and organization.
13. Weekend in Vermon
Professor Galbraith at his Vermont home with a group of political leaders, discussing the economic state of the world. His guests include Henry Kissinger, Edward Heath, Shirley Williams, Jack Jones and Professor Ralf Dhrendorf. The discussion includes inflation, unemployment, and international economic problems.