Johan Norberg’s short film on the financial crisis looks into the causes of the meltdown and argues that government policies are simply reinflating another bubble to burst sometime in the near future. Includes interviews with former comptroller general of the GAO David Walker, as well as predictors of the financial crisis, Peter Schiff and Gerald Celente.
9. The Corporation
I would be biased if I didn’t include the left’s best economics documentary. The Corporation argues that corporations behave in a psychopathic manner and should be abolished in favor of a form of direct democracy. Includes interviews with Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Naomi Klein. Given I’m a libertarian, so I have to include a critique for those who are interested by the Youtube vlogger Advocate1234 (now HowTheWorldWorks): here.
8. Globalization is Good
Now for the other side of the argument, Johan Norberg, who also directed Overdose and wrote In Defense of Global Capitalism, takes a look at globalization and argues that it is, well, good.
7. The State Against Blacks
Economist Walter Williams, and author of The State Against Blacks, discusses how government regulations and licensing policies have created devastating, unintended consequences that disproportionately hurt minorities; A topic that is all too seldom discussed.
6. Money As Debt
The popular Youtube documentary discusses the history of banking and the dangers of fractional reserve banking. A sequel has also been released.
5. Fiat Empire
Congressman Ron Paul, G. Edward Griffin, the author of The Creature from Jekyll Island, and others argue the Federal Reserve has wrought havoc on the U.S. economy. Unlike other documentaries on the subject, this one stays away from the conspiratorial stuff.
4. Commanding Heights
A fantastic three part series on the rise and fall of communism, the battle between communism and capitalism and the beginnings of globalization. Includes interviews with Milton Friedman, Jeffrey Sachs and Margaret Thatcher. Follow this link to view the series.
Former comptroller general of the GAO, David Walker, resigned because no one in government would grapple with the mounting fiscal deficits, especially from Medicare. So he started a fiscal wake up tour and filmed I.O.U.S.A. to discuss the severe shortfalls the United States is facing and hopefully inspire us to change course before we go bankrupt.
2. Free to Choose
Milton Friedman’s classic 10 part series on economics and freedom first came out in 1980, but continues to influence people today. He discussed free trade, school choice, labor unions, regulations and just about everything else and ends each video with a debate. There’s no better place to start for economics. The list of episodes is here.
1. The Ascent of Money
Niall Ferguson has written plenty of great books and made some great documentaries, but nothing beats his six part series on the history of finance. He goes over the history of banking, the bond market, corporations and insurance and then moves into how those institutions work today (and how everything went wrong). A must see for anyone interested in economics and history.
Honorable mentions include:
Demographic Winter: a look at how reducing fertility rates could cripple the global economy
Maxed Out: examines debt, specifically credit card debt, from a liberal perspective
Why We Fight: an exposé on the military-industrial complex
Liberty and Economics: a biography of the great economist, Ludwig von Mises
Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve: Makes the case for abolition of the Federal Reserve and a return to the gold standard
Good Intentions: Walter Williams discusses the unintended consequences of a whole host of different government regulations
The Crash of 29: a history of the Great Depression.
Others I missed
The Age of Uncertainty – John Kenneth Galbraith discussed economics and history from a liberal perspective
Inside Job – Andrew Ferguson takes on the corruption on Wall Street (unfortunately all I could find was 45 minutes of excerpts from the film)