Masters of Money
Wednesday, 9.30pm, SBS One From the BBC comes a short series about masters of money Karl Marx, Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes. The great thing about these three is that their views are completely polarised. Sounds pretty much like contemporary economists to me. They can’t all be right, can they? Things begin tonight with Keynes. According to this program, the problems Keynes was grappling with in the 1930s — bank failures, international crises and the possibility of a long economic slump — are the same difficulties we are grappling with now. Well, not so much us as Britain, Europe and America. The series asks if the ideas of such radical thinkers could help these countries understand the mess they are in and then get out of it. But first we are off to visit the enormous Pirelli factory in Carlisle, England. Almost 10,000 tyres a day are produced by approximately 750 workers. When concerns were raised that the company might move its operations overseas to cut costs, the British government kicked in £2 million to keep Pirelli in England. So why would a government already drowning in debt cough up like this to save a private company? It all comes back to Keynes, apparently. He said there would be times when governments would have to step in to make capitalism work, even when that meant spending money they didn’t have. Did Keynes save capitalism from capitalists? Is this why so much stimulus was applied to our economy during the global financial crisis? Fascinating.