Commanding Heights

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Greg DalSanto
Dr. Gregory Arburn
March 11, 2010
Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy
As I began to watch the documentary, I was a little apprehensive being that it was six hours long; however, it proved to be an excellent video that provided me with a detailed history about our world’s changing economies. From the different viewpoints of John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich von Hayek, to overall wealth increasing in the 1900’s but its unequal distribution increases as well, to terrorism and war bringing the nation’s economies to its knees- all of these and many more issues are addressed in Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy.

In the first episode, The Battle of Ideas, a few important questions were asked. One, which would control the commanding heights of the world’s economies- governments or markets? Secondly, which economic system would truly benefit mankind? With the new world economy being driven by technological change and political change, none of it would have happened without a revolution of ideas. John Maynard Keynes, Friedrich von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises all had a huge influence in the department of economics.

Keynes was a British economist who advocated interventionist economic policy, in which governments would use fiscal and monetary measures to lessen the undesirable effects of business cycles, economic recessions and depressions. Hayek on the other hand argued a more laissez-faire (let it be), free-market capitalism ideology and how changing prices communicate signals which enable individuals to coordinate their plans. With World War I coming to an end, Germany and Austria are forced to pay unbearable war reparations. As they just kept printing more and more money, inflation set in which then caused hyper-inflation. The price for a glass of beer was 1 billion Marks and at one point the exchange rate was 4,200,000,000,000 Marks to 1 United States dollar, thus the German currency...
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