The Age of Uncertainty continues

We recently began watching the 1977 mini-series The Age of Uncertainty (all 15 episodes now available here on Youtube).

Classic Galbraith, the content is dense and the syntax meaty, while the big picture perspective is regularly irreverent, funny, unique and enriching. Galbraith died in 2006 (at 97) and I miss him. Watching these economic history lessons from the big man (figuratively and literally, he was 6’9″) are a treasure.

If you find episode one a bit dry, I would say they get better and are worth perseverance. There is much to be reminded of here. Especially perhaps, that economic uncertainty is not unique to our own time, but rather the constant theme of human evolution.

The Age of Uncertainty is a 1977 television series about economics, history and politics, co-produced by the BBC, CBC, KCET and OECA, and written and presented by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith.

Galbraith acknowledges the successes of the market system in economics but associated it with instability, inefficiency and social inequity. He advocates government policies and interventions to remedy these perceived faults.

The series challenged the status quo and insulted the left and right alike.  For that it incited great controversy.  Wikipedia offers this summary:

The leader of the British Conservative Party, Margaret Thatcher, and Keith Joseph objected to the screening of the series by the BBC as they perceived it too biased for a state-run TV station. Milton Friedman was brought over from Chicago to lecture against Galbraith’s economic viewpoints with Nicholas Kaldor opposing him.[8] The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator, publications associated with the Conservative political party, dismissed the series whilst the Financial Times and New York Times viewed it positively.[9] Milton Friedman presented his own response to Galbraith in his series “Free to Choose[3]

Along with his other works Economics and the Public Purse and Money, The Age of Uncertainty reinforced Galbraith’s stature as a major American economist who opposed the economic theories of Milton Friedman.[10]

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