In this first episode Adam Curtis, documentary-maker extraordinaire, tracks the pernicious effects of Ayn Rand‘s ideas on American financial markets, particularly via the influence on Alan Greenspan, the US economist who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. It was Greenspan who persuaded the newly elected Bill Clinton in 1992 to let the markets grow, and cut taxes, and to let the markets stabilise themselves with computer technology. Although the Asian miracle had lead to long-term growth in South Korea and other countries Joseph Stiglitz began warning that the withdrawal of money from the Eastern economies could cause devastation. Curtis shows that the economic crisis that befell the Eastern countries such as Indonesia (under Suharto) and South Korea was a direct result of Rand’s ideas leading to the transfer of control foreign financial investment from politics to banking institutions leading the housing bubbles to burst, causing large financial losses in the East. However, after each country agreed to IMF bailout loans, foreign investors immediately withdrew their money, triggering massive economic disasters. To avoid a repeat, China decided to control America’s economy via similar techniques. The belief in America was that computers could stabilise the lending of money and that this would permit lending beyond what was actually sustainable, leading ultimately to the 2008 collapse due to a similar housing bubble.
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