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July 8th, 2009
Watch the two-hour THE ASCENT OF MONEY

In THE ASCENT OF MONEY, Niall Ferguson traces the evolution of money and demonstrates that financial history is the essential back-story behind all history.

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  • Chris Pratt

    Good work PBS

  • Steve Kessberger

    most interesting and informative program I have seen in many moons….thanks PBS.

  • Tim Fitzpatrick

    Very good program! Gives excellent insight into today’s murky world of finance!

  • Benjamin Biswell

    Wow! Every American should see this. Thank you again PBS for impowerment through education.

  • Dan Cofran Kansas City

    Outstanding program! I’m ready to watch it again.

  • Sola Adeyeye

    Brilliant! Pure genius! This is television at its educative best! This is a must-see production for every intelligent mind pondering the confusing maze that the world economy has become.

  • Amit Singh

    An awesome illustration – the clarity of the complexity is captivating!

  • George Jeffrey

    Intl Funds Transfer Manager 26 yrs. Wall Street-Excellant-PBS Needs to Continue to Inform

  • Nyana

    This is the best ‘fill in the blank’ program I have ever seen. The combination of what could be tedious information with interesting backgrounds kept my attention and helped me forget it’s all about numbers(not my favorite subject yet.)

  • Constantine Kostarakis

    One of the most informative, captivating and educational documentaries that I have ever seen. It should be required viewing for all Americans.

  • jean w

    Excellent. Well done. Everyone who likes money should watch this.

  • Ronald Konitzer

    cool

  • Scott MacAulay

    I teach finance and all my students should watch this entertaing explanation of the working of the financial system

  • bill fuenfhausen

    niall,
    awesome but scary! i wish this were on network
    tv so they could get a better pic of how we got
    here and the fascinating history of John Law.
    keep up the good work!
    sincerely
    bill fuenfhausen

  • Jimmy Rizzo

    Riveting and revealing. Thank you PBS!

  • Marianella Brito

    Excellent explanations of the complex Financial world and current crisis. Thank You PBS

  • fabrizio morbini

    very nice work, but a little hard to follow on a few details.

  • Gary Carlisle

    Excellent analysis and only on PBS

  • Darcey Phillips

    Wow! What a show – I’m a real dummy when it comes to ‘finances’, but Accent of the Money is down-to-earth, and is capable of explaining a very complex subject clearly, and in a short period of time. I look forward to seeing it again, and soon. Lookin’ forward ~ Darcey P

  • Tom Holsen

    Play it again! Soon! And what about a DVD?

  • Ronald Konitzer

    super

  • Paul Zuback

    Any structure remotly based on probability will surely fall due to human greed. People who fail to read history are bound to repeat it.

  • Scott Dennis

    Great stuff, very informative and relevant. Its The Naked Ape of modern economics.

  • Gwynn Clark

    Best discussion of current financial crisis yet. A must see for all.

  • Eric

    The best documentary about money to date. GREAT WORK…

  • Dr. Dennis and Joanne Bogdan

    *Excellent* PBS-TV Presentation – We’re Favorably Impressed.
    Dr. Dennis and Joanne Bogdan
    http://drbogdan.livejournal.com
    http://home.comcast.net/~drbogdan/publications.html

  • Meredith Lopez

    Very interesting and informative. Thank you!

  • I.Fong

    Fascinating! Thank you for this coverage.

  • Former Contributor to PBS

    The racism of this program takes away from the message. Mr. Ferguson made it seem as if the current mortgage crisis is due to minority homeowners, particularly in Detroit and Memphis. The camera shots of minorities further supported his theory. Mr. Ferguson should have looked further to Florida, Arizona and Nevada where white homeowners were defaulting in waves. The problem was that many people, whites included, bought homes that they couldn’t afford. If there truly were loans for people with no jobs, income, and bad credit, then everyone would have a home now. And that surely isn’t true.

  • ann loeb

    I missed it, i received the book for Xmas, but would very much like to see him tell his story. When would it be possible to see this episode and where?

  • Martin Cormier

    Markets have a tendency to inflict maximum pain on the maximum number of investors in times of panic and uncertainty. Greed simply knows no bound.

  • ken

    Outstanding. I can only wish I had this information taught when I was a student in high school.

  • Joe Kiplinger

    Is this the whole episode or just parts of it?

  • Don ORourke

    Just saw the entire video on local PBS – an excellent work unbelievably done in 2 hours. Dr Ferguson is good!!!

  • Luiz Ozaki

    Wow, how illusory is the real world we live in. It should work though if no crooks could get in. Or, would without them?

  • Mike Hallen

    I’m so glad that PBS made a program on this topic. If there were more documentaries on financial issues like this, Americans might not be so sadly undereducated in financial matters.

  • Akin Akinboyewa

    If i could bet everytime PBS gets it right, i’d say this is over the top piece by far crushing the need for such giants like CNN, MSNBC or the likes. I am pleased to be called a PBSer!

  • Clark Ray

    Pretty good presentation in most respects, but Prof. Ferguson essentially ignores the role of the Community Reinvestment Act and glosses over political influence on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to steadily increase their purchases of sub-prime instruments with implicit government backing. As he often does, he goes too easy on government and too harshly on private sector activity.

  • Michael Guzzo

    Great show, very enlightening.

  • Peter Masterton

    Superb content very well presented and easily understood. It sure gives a belated food for thought.

  • Grant Wishart

    Valuable perspective. Must see for the average American caught up in this current economy.

  • Wallace ‘J.’ Nichols

    Great film!

  • Steve G

    This was such a wonderful program,no entertainment,just the facts.Is it available on DVD,if so how may I obtain a copy? Steve

  • gary

    this is such a good documentary that i can’t explain i only can say i’m african american and have live in gary ind. pontiac mich. flint mich. and detriot mich.i’ve seen alout of this economy.

  • Bonnie Towles

    Outstanding program … Mr. Ferguson has taken a complex subject and made it understandable, even entertaining. I’ve watched it twice, and sent a link to my family and friends. Kudos.

  • Ron Hampton

    Impressive show. seems to be no save place to put our money. maybe underground fireproof safe :)

  • Elena

    Great program. Informative. Detailed. Excellent.

  • Tom Diffenbach

    Niall Ferguson provides first-rate, brief, substantial, and very watchable explanations of 4,000 years of key developments right thru fuller explanations of the key things we need to dynamically relate in our current affairs such as options, the US-China relationship, black swans, etc. The PBS.org viewing opportunity is a bonus. I’ve already emailed the link to a discussion group I moderate. Thanks, PBS, especially, thanks, Niall Ferguson. Please let me know (diffenbach@comcast.net) when you’re doing something like this again.

  • Ramas D Gridder

    Amazing show!

  • Ashraf Hendy

    It is great programme

  • tj

    Great program!

    When is this on again? Came across it halfway through and want to see the whole thing in HD on TV!

  • Gordon Campbell

    Amazing clarity … finally we see/we are shown the dawn of the new world order! Watch and learn – it may not be too late.

  • dave melville

    That show was awsome,I’d recomend it to any one who wants to know what has caused our current problems!!!

  • P Y

    A brilliant, insightful look at the inevitable effect of human emotions on the global financial system. This show makes it clear that we are all doomed to repeat history, no matter how hard we may try to avoid it. I hope we will all be prepared for the NEXT time it happens, which it will.

  • Jerry Ames

    rivetting

  • Bob Macdonald

    This is a brilliant examination of the global financial system and the current economic crisis… both fascinating and frightening… thank you PBS

  • KOSTA ADAMS

    THE BEST PROGRAM I HAVE SEEN ON PBS
    I HAVE “IRRATIONAL EXUBERANCE”

  • matt

    agreed, very nice work, Thanks!

  • Bruce

    Absolutely riveting! I learned more about money, history and humanity in this two hours than 4 years of college…maybe more. Absolutely Excellent. Bravo Mr. Ferguson!

  • Bob Wohlers

    excellent film
    So who will buy the trillions of bonds if China doesn’t

  • scott a.

    The ascent of money is a wonderfull explanashion of the working systems of the global market. Ultimitly, giving a glimps into humanitys strange consepts of value.

    The drift away from viewing value as A global quantificashion of resorces and the human effort (I.E. time) exerted upon those resorces. toward, vewing value as future posibilitys of incresing intrest/return on resorces equal or grader than time (I.E. barrowing agenst the future) regardless of humans abulity to utilize raw resorces.

    Ps sorry about the spelling I’m typing on a cell phone.

    May tecnology save us all, scott

  • Sumant D. Barde

    It is too good..Excellent work PBS!

  • ananth

    This is one of the best programs that i have seen that explains the trail of money. I would have like dif he had ended it in a better way… I felt like he rushed it in the end and did not explain the consequence if the Chiamerica relationship goes soar…

  • Doug Rapp

    Excellent

  • Patty

    An amazing educational piece on the global system of economics.

  • gary

    I so love this documentation that I would like to know how do i get to order it for my library

  • duane whitfield

    Informative intro of a new series.’It will grab you by the throat!’ Job well done
    Niall Ferguson and PBS…Bravo!

  • Collin S. Ferguson

    It’s time we change how we create money: http://openmoney.ning.com/.

  • Robert Gaw

    I’m interested in finding out more about money.

  • Tina Dejkunchorn

    I found the info in this show very interesting, very well done…………

  • Gene Barnett

    A good addition to your book. The pictures make it much more memorable. Especially liked your ;comments on John Law. First introducedm to me by Alan Sweezy, Econ Prof at Caltech.

  • Bob Nelson

    Not easy to get any ideas across in two minutes on the Colbert Report. Ferguson succeeded… so I want more!

  • Steve Dubois

    I really wanted to watch this show but I missed it; will it be broadcasted again later, and when? Thanks.

  • William Edwards

    Thanks for a great presentation. I enjoyed the education.

  • Roberta MacDonald

    Absolutely the most lucid explanation of why we are where we are in the US/World economy. HURRAH. I was aching for this.

  • pete darmody

    great show – great pacing and video clips

  • James Brown

    Timely /excellent

  • joe

    two thumbs up!!!!

  • Andrew Hall

    Saw the last 10 minutes last night but want to see the whole thing

  • charles Boulanger

    I have read on the suburbia explosion (urbanisation style)after the war but nowhere was the link made to the credit connexion as was in this documentory. Wow!

  • Ted Ryder

    A very informative film that helps me understand how complex the world financial landscape has become.

  • Leo

    Excellent program. Please show this program again.

  • http://www.spartantailgate.com/forums/wells-hall-off-topic-board/359816-ascent-money.html#post5445909 The Ascent of Money

    [...] Ascent of Money Watch full program: THE ASCENT OF MONEY | The Ascent of Money | PBS got 2 hours? you will not be [...]

  • Marc Alexander

    Saw this on WETA last night….blew my socks off… Thank you PBS for bringing the info to the people.

  • John Cole

    PBS you are to be congratulated for the comprehensive analysis of the unperceived monitary movements that started our present dilemma. With China’s extraordinary liquidity seeking return on investment, the U.S. deficit was the perfect place to invest their surpluses. With over 10 million millionaires world wide, cash poured into investments “guaranteed” to beat the odds. With the international capital markets awash with money no wonder it eventually gravitated to booming housing-market derivatives. When the deck of cards was exposed to be unstable and untenable the precipitous withdrawal of funds invested in these instruments pulled the rug out from under the “asset” values and we are in a recession. Sounds like what billionaires have been doing to currencies of less developed countries for decades, only now, it’s been done to us.

  • Joe Rosochacki

    The documentary is absolutely brilliant. Niall Ferguson has put it, quite concisely I may add, into proverbial ‘nutshell’, how the economy became what it was and how it is now and in a certain extent what it will be; it is pure genius.

  • Chris Donald

    Leave it to PBS to air such a critical and brilliant program but a single time per channel on a single day without repeat. Christ, they repeat everything liberal, nothing informative. I’m shocked they aired it this time, frankly.

  • Dan Saraceno

    I haven’t had the opportunity to say “WOW” in a very long time about a doc/film. Great job!

  • AP

    Great Presentation of Money and its history and current internal workings.

    Check out YouTube: THE MONEY MASTERY for the second half of the story.

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Money+Masters&search_type=&aq=f

    AP

  • http://www.thirteen.org/insidethirteen/?p=137 Inside Thirteen » Blog Archive » About The Ascent of Money 2-Hour Special

    [...] in June but PBS asked us to create a shorter version earlier. We raced to cut a two-hour program (watch it online) for broadcast this week. We scrambled, and thanks to Niall’s production team, especially [...]

  • Steve Moyer

    Money is a SYSTEM of control and domination for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. Why is everything controlled by ONE system? Freedom requires choice. See one of these choices at http://stevemoyer.us/vfc

  • Will Eggleston

    Each chapter could have been 2 hours long! The best show I’ve seen on the subject yet! What I want to see is the stuff that got left on the editing floor (electronic trash bin).

  • Clark

    There are a million ways of looking at anything.

    This program shows how liberals see money.

    The format is not educational, but sensational and madcap disorganized.

    But give it credit, the liberals made an entertaining video.

  • Pam Iampieri

    Extraordinary documentary, and a wonderful contribution to our society.

  • Frank Tamalenus

    Terrific! This is why we can count on PBS. I just sent this link to all 126 of my employees. A MUST SEE for everyone.

  • ED SCOLA

    makes for a basic ,educational, learning for everyone who want to invest in there own future. historically , we need to be reminded what we created.

  • alphadominance

    Must see for anyone who invests. A great supplement would be to read Mandelbrot’s “The (Mis)Behavior of Markets”
    http://alphadominance.com/

  • Yana Yakhnina

    Brilliant show. All I could dream of for my students of the ‘Business English’ class in Russia if I could get it sooner than March. Great job!

  • erik

    Very fast paced, easy to understand, and explains succinctly (enough to catch up & understand as a whole; not as individual snap shots) the correlated historical precedence to the exposed events & concepts. Kudos to all involved in the film!!!

  • Linda Hogan

    Wow, what an eye opener! Very Nice

  • Mark A. Carruthers

    Amazing! What a GREAT program!

    This should be shown in classrooms across North America.

  • Jeff

    Nice documentary, but some essential pieces of info were left out. If Prof. Ferguson wants to educate us about money, he also needs to tell us who makes it these days, what the Fed is and why it can determine interest rates (and thus the state of the US economy). The Fed, as I understand, plays a crucial role in the global financial world, as well as in the amount of national debt, so why didn’t Prof. Ferguson devote a good portion of the film showing both the activities and decisions of the Fed, and the resulting implications?
    Most people don’t even know whether the Fed is a private or public institution!

  • RAYMOND E DANBURY III

    Well Done. Most informative for the 2 hours available for the whole story. I only wish that sub prime mortgage debacle wasn’t portrayed as the result of poor people (black, white or green) in the cities of Detroit and Memphis. Having purchased a home 2 years ago I can clearly remember mortgage brokers and real estate agents pushing me to buy as much as I was approved for…which easily could have led to my financial downfall. Many people did not resist temptation. Many people didn’t do the math. Many people used ARM’S to buy homes that were sure to increase in value so they could flip them with no intention or ability to pay them off. Sub prime was a term used to refer to mortgages for homes over $300,000 dollars. Surely the bubble can’t be attributed to 12% of the US population. I hope the Ascent of Money 4 hour program coming soon more accurately explains the real estate bubble.

  • John Marthaller

    Why was the Bush Administration blamed for the sub prime mess when according to the New York Times it was the Clinton Administration that began pressuirng Banks to make the NINJA loans available. The Clinton folks went so far as to threaten fines and other legal actions if banks did not make the loans to unqualifeid buyers as part of the Community Redevelopment Act. Here is a qoute from the New York Times story. See Below
    A New York Times article, “Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending” (Sept. 30, 1999), reported, “Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people. …” The pressure was the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act that was beefed up during the Clinton administration. It required banks to make high-risk loans they would not have otherwise made. Failure to comply meant fines and difficulty in getting approval for mergers and branch expansion.

  • John

    Are bonds the next domino to fall? With 85 trillion dollars tied up in the bond market I certainly hope not but one has only to look at Argentina’s spectacular crash in ‘91 to begin to question our own bond markets vunerability.

    Over all a very good program but it only begins to explain the complexities of the world’s economies and how we got to where we are today. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Prof. Fergusons presentations on PBS.

  • G.

    I have read through the comments and agree emphatically that the film was fantastic. I think the stated racial bias was more an attempt to call attention to racial bias in financial dealings than to stereo-type african-americans derogatorily, but I do understand how the presentation of Memphis and Detroit could be seen as a statement of racial bias. The thing that struck me so as so brilliant about the film is that it allowed the viewer to draw conclusions from the information rather than being told what it all meant. I for one, had not connected the dots from the Chinese beyond the US being a safe place to invest in bonds, treasuries and secured investments. Undeniably, the Chinese have created a highly leverageable situation to ensure US markets will remain open to Chinese imports and investment. This relationship just scares the bejeebers out of me because it leaves us very vulnerable to Chinese suggestion and ultimately may result in control of our economy (just as Islamic extremists went after our financial nerve center and attempt to impoverish the US via global conflict). I was left with the chilling thought of the Great Seal of the United States of America having a parenthetical statement (a subsidiary of the People’s Republic of China). Perhaps I am overreacting, I am not a conspiracy theorist, but it seems interesting that billions are being held back by banks, saying the risks are too big to loan the money now. I wonder how many banks are looking for ways to invest in Chinese development both as a function of return on investment and shareholder sentiment.

  • http://culturalcapitalism.com/2009/01/14/pbs-ascent-of-money-documentary/ pbs’ ascent of money documentary « cultural capitalism
  • jaime

    Excellent explanation of the world of finance! I agree with the Former Contributor’s comments. Although I liked reading Fergusson’s last book, this presentation seems politically biased. We truly don’t know the “evolution” of this crisis will be.

  • Jack

    Ascent of Money was an excellent program and I found that Niall Ferguson was an engaging and very understandable host for the documentary. I look forward to see the expanded documentary later this year. I live near Detroit and I have driven through some of the neighborhoods that he described. It is unfortunate that Detroit and Memphis was singled out with the subprime problem when it is a problem that exists in many areas of the country. More people than just black people were pushed into buying homes that they could not afford – Florida, Arizona and California are examples. Now everyone is paying for the unscrupulous nature of some mortgage brokers and real estate agents.

  • Mike McDermott

    While high in production value and entertaining, it falls well short of illuminating the history of money. How can one tell this story without discussing fractional reserve banking, “fiat” currency, or even central banking in detail. Ludwig Von Mises is rolling in his grave.

  • J W Brown

    All high school students and others should watch this program. Very good.

  • Ben

    We gave it a plug on our site as well. Thank you for making this possible PBS!

  • http://milkyourmoney.com/2009/01/14/the-ascent-of-money/ The Ascent of Money | Milk Your Money

    [...] Ascent of Money and while I am still working getting a review up, PBS has put the corresponding video on their page for free viewing.  In its entirety!  Get a sandwich (and a beverage of choice), sit [...]

  • Jeff S

    Where is Fannie and Freddie which was the Democrats piggie bank under the guise of homeownership for poor people. Both Fannie and Freddie were run by prominent liberals and levered to unbelievable levels. And on top of that both choked on massive subprime mortgages, liar loans etc. Chris Dodd, Barney Frank etc.. are mysteriously left out. For people who really want an excellent history of money, read Jim Grants book “Money of the Minds”. This book should be required reading for anyone in finance.

  • Geoff Bocian

    Uber-excellent program series is available in UK in DVD.
    Niall Fergusson has a superb intellect and the gift to user-friendly inform the masses. The USA is very lucky to have Prof Ferguson at Harvard, and he needs to be appointed by the new US President as chief economic advisor!

  • Jimi

    Great program!
    Only on PBS can you get the truth of what is going on.

  • Paul Glover

    We rely on the Chinese for cash and upon the Brits for intelligent TV.

    If we depend exclusively on dollars our economy will strangle. Community currencies can fill the gaps: ithacahours.com

  • Gary Sohl

    Niall does a excellant job of explaining how we got to where we are today. It can be dishearting that what we had before may never return.

  • Craig F. Massie

    I must admit that I am woefully lacking in knowledge about the stock market, commodities, bonds and international lending. This program which Mr. Ferguson has created was presented in a way even I could follow and understand, I am amazed at what I had been missing with regards to my money and how it works in the world economy. I am defintely going to have my adult children watch this program in hopes it will explain all they would need for a basic understanding of the worlds economy. Kudos to Mr. Ferguson on an excellent presentation.

  • Victor Colon

    Great documentary!!!!!

  • Jim Skoog

    The general public needs an occasional philosopical and historical perspective on economics (money) which purely financial reporting has too little time for, with disasterous results every few decades. This program will help to cure the general public’s tendency to be led astray by experts selling “securities” out of context. Thanks for all the hard work in putting this program together for us.

  • Sharon

    I did enjoy the film yet believe it’s important to appreciate that every historian and economist draws their own unique conclusions to a set of events. I encourage viewers & readers to continue their financial education recognizing that the film may have over-simplified the proximate causes of the current economic crisis. I plan to watch it again as I especially liked the portions on the early history of money.

  • Shooshie

    This is a great contribution to the education of people about the terrible things that are happening to them now. Unfortunately, to fully explain and draw the connections necessary for most people to make sense of it, the program would have needed to be 4 times this long, and make more of the political connections involved, as well as to show examples of how these concepts work. Perhaps in the manner of the old “Mr. Wizard” show, or more recently “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” where they don’t just explain in abstract terms, but show real world examples on a small scale where anyone can see the cause/effect relationships of such things as sub-prime mortgages, the stripping and repackaging of them, and what happens when a country buys them. The reflexivity feedback system in particular deserved 10 times as much footage, at least. No mention was made of Frederick Soddy, Nobel winning chemist, whose book “Wealth, Virtual Wealth, and Debt” effectively predicted and demonstrated what has happened, though it was written in about 1925. In one example in which he used a single account of £5 in gold, compounded annually at a modest interest rate, in 500 years it would require a ball of gold the size of the earth to meet its debt demands. Extrapolate that to derivatives markets, and you see the predictable impossibility of their continuing. It turns out to be a planet-sized ponzi scheme, though nobody is calling it that. Niall could have given us some graphic examples like that to hammer home the absurdity of what we have seen happening, along with the absurdity of trying to fix it with more of the same. The world’s money system must be restructured to represent the actual wealth, materials, labor, services and production that exists in reality, making it impossible to bet more money in various derivative markets than will exist on earth for the next 100 years. Still, given the limitations of time, Niall has done the world a great service… if the world will listen. Thank you, Mr. Ferguson

  • Brian

    The best doc. on how the economy works and its history that I have ever seen. It makes the insanely complex system in simple terms that all can understand.

  • Joseph Tovar

    Thanks for the incredible eye opening information you provided. I cannot wait for the next story you do on this subject. Keep up the great work and research!

  • Dennis Scott

    Outstanding series. Should be a must watch for educational curriculums

  • Vitaliy Darovskikh

    Brilliant!

  • Wendy Hansen

    Thank you for this wonderful documentary! I finally understand the Enron debacle. I’ll watch this again on-line…thank you PBS for airing this outstanding film!

  • Caliphe Buchanan

    Breakthrough work by Niall and the production crew. Very informative, and really helped clarify some of the transformations that have occured in our Financial Universe.

  • Michael

    That was an outstanding program!!! I have to watch this program again to absorb more of the information.

  • Paul J

    Excellent understandable money program…should be standard issue in every high school and University. I will get the book as a refresher…can not say enough!

  • Laura Waterman Wittstock

    This is a magnificent program. Instead of teaching high schoolers and those in adult education classes for general education diplomas how to open checking accounts and how to shop for food, they should watch this program. We in the general public know too little about the world of money and the rules of the finance game. In his historical perspective on the world of money, I hoped Prof. Ferguson would have mentioned the Sixteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution – income tax. Much of the world of money has to do with avoiding the payment of taxes – likely trillions of dollars go into non profit organizations so that tax payments can be avoided. Further, the IRS regulations for corporations like ENRON have allowed them to avoid payment of taxes for executive compensation and other areas. This puts a greater burden on the general public for keeping the government going. To be sure, nonprofit organizations greatly benefit the American public and I have no quarrel with eleemosynary intent. I do have a quarrel with charity that puts the needy in the place of beggars.

  • sanford tom

    Wonderful presentation. Would like to see it again, and also have others see it too. When might you be rerunning this?

  • Jay

    Ron Paul was right

  • mliving

    Started watching the program last evening on TV but got called away.

    Thought I’d watch the remainder of the program this evening online but being Canadian we ONLY get to watch on TV because of “copyright” issues.

    Seems to me that if I have paid my satellite provider to have PBS in my package we would I be restricted from watching a PBS program for the US.

    Oh well… it’s not like I can’t point to a FREE US proxy server and watch the program anyway. My point is why do broadcasters like PBS claim to be “public” television when in actuality they are totaled controlled by the private interests of copyright holders.

    The blocking of Canadian viewers online has made me decide to no longer give to PBS. So it appears your strategy is working. Good job PBS.

  • Neil

    Missing facts from your documentary: The changes made to the “Community Reinvestment Act” (CRA)in 1995 & 1999 and signed by President Bill Clinton was one of the BIG reasons for our housing market bubble/collapse. The other BIG reason was President Clinton’s signing of the 2000 Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA). The signing of this piece of legislation, basically opened the door for “derivatives/credit swaps” (or “bucket shops”)that were illegal 100 years ago because legislation was passed to prevent another market crash like the one that happened in 1907. And as far as Enron & there internal corruption they had, I think if you look back the “energy deregulation” you refer to happened during President Clinton’s terms in the 90’s (& California’s Governor Wilson). Just a few missing details, no biggie!

  • http://kasmurocks.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/whines/ Whines « Hola, Momma!

    [...] I’ll watch that show, Momma. Promise!! « [...]

  • shamim

    This was an amazing program and left me depresses. Seems the US keeps on coming up with plan after plan to defraud the investor and keep the money rolling into US financiers and there is no way for an honest investment to pay off, Even if one cashes it all in and keeps it under the mattress, there will be a way to devalue the currency to make one lose one’s savings.
    This show is worth sharing. Is there any way to get a copy of the show on a DVD? Please advise

  • Anna Rodvang

    We saw some of this program, and would very much like to watch the whole thing again. We could invite our family , if we knew the times and dates. I really need a two hour lesson on each and every aspect of this financial mess!!

  • Kent

    We need a new economic system. Money has failed to produce peace, prosperity or a sustainable world.

  • Armand Lione

    I liked the show and learned some things, but visually it was annoying to see the same shots used repeatedly and sometimes in a confusing way. When Ken Burns repeats an image, it can be argued that the Civil War is over so his choices are limited. There are a billion people in China, why did we have to see the same shot of the guy with the grinder at least 3 times in Chimerica? Another example – the interracial couple sitting and drinking – they start out in Memphis or Nashville, and are also shown when Detroit is the topic. Since the host was jetted around the world, nobody could shoot or buy a little more B roll? Nice job, but I’d like to see the 90 min version, without so much visual filler.

  • Absolute Idiot

    As long as people continue to play the roles of slaves to this system, it will continue to exploit us all. It’s truly obscene that people make so much money doing absolutely nothing but manipulating money are seen as Gods one earth instead of the thieves they are, Soros included.

  • Clayton

    WTVS Detroit wants Canadian donors and actively begs for money from us during fund raising events, but PBS dosen’t care about us, and blocks us from watching online videos. Nice.

  • Aaron

    This is the most over dramatic piece of garbage I ever saw in my life. I thought Niall Ferguson actually had credibility. Niall continually tried to place blame on Alan Greenspan and George Bush only because they held political positions during this most recent crisis when the blame should be squarely placed on those who actually defrauded people like Ken Lay, et al. George Soros was pitiful in his explanations. And, if this is a documentary, one should definitely take it with a grain of salt, because the examples picked were specifically to paint a picture of gloom. The capitalist system is clearly the best allocation of resources, and this was clearly a hit job. There was no discussion of how various Presidential Administrations contributed to the warped government policies that fostered the credit crisis wrought on by the mortgage fiasco of the Community Reinvestment Act nor does it speak to the involvment of the House’s and Senate’s role while they did little if anything to minimize the problem. Financial systems collapse when government mucks it up, and regulations are not put in place to reign in leverage and corruption.

  • Clark

    There are a thousand ways to look at anything.
    This program is about how liberals look at money.

    The slick production is aimed at the short concentrations span viewer. I’m sure that’s good for ratings.

    George Soros appears in the program as a credible interviewee without any introduction to warn the viewer of his sinister past.

  • Morgan Rose

    go to google video and watch the Money Masters for a complete history on Central Banking.

  • Buster

    I went to the Grocery store to buy my favorite pig out food, “chicken strips and Broasted potatoes.” I rushed back home to watch this program. I was itching all day to watch it. IT DID NOT SHOW HERE IN CHICAGO!!!!!! I’M LIVID! WTTW Chicago – had this program on it schedule and showed some goffy, mind-numbing program. This happens OFTEN here in Censored-heavy Chicago.

  • s.minicucci

    Outstanding. Please rebroadcast ASAP. When the word gets out, this will be a viral phenom.

  • hrachya

    unbelieveable program, thanks pbs, i would donate for this type of program,,, bring on some more,,

  • Hari

    Mesmerizing – a complex subject explained so well and interesting.

  • Henry Gutierrez

    PBS and Prof. Ferguson – Great Work! Thanks for helping me understand what went wrong and how we got here.

  • Therese Sweeney

    A most intelligent and well-produced documentary that presented a grand historical overview and up to the minute analysis of captialistm and the world’s current economic crisis. I tuned in late and would love to tell all my friends to watch it with me next time. When will it be re-broadcast? Soon, very soon, I hope!

  • Pamela

    Very interesting and educational program. I would like to have seen an additional and very important piece of history that contributed to America’s subprime mortgage meltdown included; President Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)that required federal financial supervisory agencies to encourage banks to grant loans to people with low income and little credit. This was the impetus to the rampant growth in the subprime market.

    Also, since the movie discussed impacts of Enron on financial markets as well as trade markets, why not include information regarding impact of OPEC’s petroleum policies and pricing controls on our financial markets. I would be interested in learning more about OPEC’s role in controlling our economy.

    I will be watching this again to more fully understand the contents, especially the information on the all-important Derivatives.

    I look forward with great anticipation to a Part-II of this show to include information on the Carter-Era CRAs, OPEC, Mark-to-Market accounting practices enacted after Enron, and much more detailed explanations of derivatives and Credit Swaps.

    Excellent show not only explaining financials but also clarifying Global market relationships very well.

    Thank you. I look forward to Part II.

  • bruce

    I wanted to like this, I am reading the book, and interested in economic and what is going on with the global economy. I don’t think this movie has anything to offer but niall ferguson from harvard as a celebrity. how can ferguson really rip into what is going in or how to fix it, or where “money” is ascending to, when he cannot rip the very infrastructure that makes him useful?

    The ideas were so rapidfire and the video so full of transitions I was not sure if i was watching a music video – with no music – or inside the head of a ADHD patient. It is so fast that one hardly realizes the lack of substance or any statement.

    After reading most of the book, the book is popular and lightweight enough, this is like just the bubbles from a lite beer. I am sorry to be so negative and in general I like PBS/NPR/PRI whatever.

    Being an old fogey I remember when all of this NET … national educational television .. I want to be education and learn something – I do not want to be distracted or condescended to. I expect more – PLEASE!!

  • Oz

    Niall & PBS
    Your programme was fantastic, even though was only able to take in a fraction of the ideas and facts that you presented with such clear passion, light and life. Is compassion not the only logical response to human condition? And do not all religions tell us so, too.

    Did you know that the Bible has two creation stories, and in the first G-d creates man and woman at the same time. It is the second, version presumably later insertion, that has Eve made from Adam’s rib. Use of ideology as a control tool. See Marx.

    The formula that you drew on the board was truly impresssive. But so was the failure of these super-mathematicians. I wish I could understand the formula. Is my brain too old now to understand the math? What do you suggest that I should do to understand to be able to understand

    Isn’t is time to build a new economic machine that does not allow these games:
    Global economy = $47T per year
    Derivatives market = $476T per year

    (Did I get the figures right?)

    Time for productive work; build green infrastructure that reaches every child, no matter where they happen to be born. Protect, Educate and Heal them. Prevent better than heal. What do you think?

    How to make this happen, is not a question. it is a necessity.

    Interesting to note the comments. nearly all positive, s few quibblers, and some in the same river (the Nile) as Bush and Cheney, who think they really did something good, by making incompetence a high art. We need good, high quality government.

    I like the idea of the economy as a hamster that has been on overdrive for the last 7 years, and the foolish suggestino that what is need is some speed to get these critters running. It is near death, and we need a new creature. Wake up!

    Again, many thanks for a great programme. And for your passion.

    Oz

  • http://www.ballot.com/hotwire/16937-daily-documentary-23.html#post761319 Daily Documentary – Page 23 – The Political Hotwire

    [...] Daily Documentary Watch full program: THE ASCENT OF MONEY | The Ascent of Money | PBS [...]

  • http://finance.akacity.com/2009/01/15/the-ascent-of-money/ Finance » The Ascent of Money

    [...] Ascent of Money and while I am still working getting a review up, PBS has put the corresponding video on their page for free viewing.  In its entirety!  Get a sandwich (and a beverage of choice), sit [...]

  • http://www.ursuspacificus.net/blog/?p=313 Ursus Pacificus » Blog Archive » Ascent of Money (PBS Special)

    [...] The Ascent of Money, a (looks like) 2-hour program on the origins, evolution and current state of money and finance. The preceding link points to the page on PBS.org, where you can watch the whole thing. [...]

  • Gaston

    When will the program, The ascent of money be shown again.

  • Linda Horn

    What a great explanation of what happened to our economy. Now if we could get the Senate and the Congress to watch this maybe things would change for the better for Americans.

  • Mike Stathopoulos

    Absolutely fascinating! I love PBS!!!

  • Maoli

    Great show: concise, thorough!

  • shl_junk

    I love the book and I love watching this documentary. But to say that “that financial history is the essential back-story behind all history” … is a bit bias no? I mean this guy is an economic/finance historian … naturally he would gravitate towards that conclusion. Anyway, still awesome.

  • Joe Lombardo

    Fantastic must see again in slow motion

  • KenpoCoach

    Excellent review of finance. I would encourage everyone to watch this film and to take notes. If you want to figure out what to do with your own assets, this is a piece of your education that you can not afford to be without. Study it, especially the parts concerning the business of Options. We all are participants in Options whether we know it or not.

  • ron clifton

    a pleasure to watch this no spin, and non media hyped view of the subject – excellent

  • http://socialmode.com/2009/01/15/%e2%80%9cthe-ascent-of-money%e2%80%9d-video-is-yours-to-assess-for-free/ “The Ascent of Money” – Video is yours to assess for FREE « Social Mode
  • Steve Woods

    While Niall Ferguson’s show was entertaining, and somewhat explained our current financial situation, I found his historical stories were incredibly shallow. The biggest hole was his lack of explaining how our current financial system is now run on debt based fiat money, in which our fractional reserve banking system and central banks world wide make money OUT OF THIN AIR by lending it into existance. I was hopeful when he began talking about the Medici family that he might explain how medieval bankers started this sleight of hand trickery and made their fortunes when they loaned out extra paper receipts for gold that was actually not on deposit in their vaults. Unless you understand this original medieval practice, it is impossible to understand modern fiance. The show also did an extremely poor job of explaining market bubbles; to simply say it is caused by irrational exuberance is an explanation that should be given to elementary school kids. The audience needs to know that bubbles are the result of huge amounts of money created out of thin air through credit expansions engineered by central banks. The quantity of money being created out of thin air by loaning it into existance is expanding at exponential rates and it is this exponential function which will be its ultimate down fall. If you want to truly understand the world of money take the Crash Course at http://www.ChrisMartenson.com. In 20 short lessons you get a much more comprehensive and understandable view of the problems that humanity faces.

  • Linda Mundy

    What was interesting is there’s a belief that the sub-prime mortgages caused a world-wide market crash. This program clearly demonstrates that was one small pillar in a whole house of cards. That and the almost unfathomable U.S. debt-load are the main reasons for watching this show. You couldn’t give me the job of U.S. President!

  • Harry B

    Amazing documentary. I was truly impressed with the thoroughness of financial history in only two hours. Having again and again told others that nearly everything today has an analogous pair in history, I can only hope after watching that the world will finally learn from history. Great job on this documentary.

  • Carl Mitton

    Extremely well organized fundamentals and history of what “the economy” really means and the cause and effect within global commerce. The historic ebb and flow of trades of goods and/or monetary tokens is very well illustrated.

  • Keith Renn

    Excellent program — Kudos to Niall Ferguson, PBS and all other involved in its production and airing. Leads me to think that because of the increasing scale, connectivity, complexity and interdependence of world financial systems, some future collapse will bring the entire house down, making the current crisis look mild by comparison.

  • Big Abe

    Excellent documentary the history of the financial world.Great way to start the PBS programming for 2009.

  • Paul A Bisaccia

    Excellent!!! I have shown this to my High school seniors to give them a better understanding of the world they live in and applied it directly to our economics class. Great job. Looking forward to more economics based shows. Thank you!

  • William

    I have never seen or read anything that so clearly explains the global economic system, its history, and the roots of the current financial troubles. Great job, thank you.

  • Sam

    Thank you PBS!

  • Justin

    The show completely grabs your attention and brings a world wide phenomenon into a perspective that is easily understood. With unique subjects and examples, they contribute to enrich an already financially entertaining biography of world finance; past, present and possibly future. Never thought watching a show with this content would be interesting enough to keep the attention for much more than a few minutes. Hats off, completely awesome

  • Kenny Ewanson

    Kudos!!! Keep uplifting the plight of the commoner by giving us the tools to arm ourselves, the piece is unparalleled.

  • Leonard Meyerson

    Viewing “The Ascent of Money” one might easily conclude that the current financial crisis was caused by the Jewish money lenders in Venice and the rioting Black of Detroit who wanted better homes for their families. Surely a basic flaw in
    our financial syster is that it is driven by profit (greed) and it needs rigid policing if it is to function at all. Jews and Blacks need not be implicated in the current mess.

    Viewing the aascent of man, one can readily conclude that the current financial crisis was cause by the Jewish money lenders of Venice and the rioting blacks of Detroit who wanted better for their families. Surely the basis flaw hain our financial syster is that that is homes drivenby profit(greed) and must hav tight policing if it is to profit at all. The jews and Blacks

  • Bob Denny

    The only criticism I have is that you took the medieval viewpoint of “the king and the wealthy” and didn’t factor in the activities of the elected vote-buying Congress of the United States. They were at LEAST as responsible for the loosening of borrowing requirements as the President and the Fed Chairman. They sold their seats in congress to people who think like medieval peasants who deserve to be given something more than they are already getting. That would be financing for “affordable housing”, the siren call of gents like Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd. They, along with the machinery that supported them, should have been factored in along with the already covered causes.

  • ANTHONY HOWORTH

    ABSOLUTLEY BRILLIANT. WE MUST LEARN FROM HISTORY. TOO MANY ECONOMISTS DONT. PLEASE SHOW THIS AGAIN AND AGAIN. I NEED TO SEE IT AGAIN PLEASE BUTIT IS NOT SHOWING FOR NEXT TWO WEEKS. WHEN CAN I SEE IT ON CHANNEL 13.???AGAIN.

  • http://www.thirteen.org/minisites/itstheeconomyny/this-weeks-guests-mort-zuckerman-niall-ferguson-danny-meyer Thirteen/WNET » This Week’s Guests: Mort Zuckerman, Niall Ferguson, Danny Meyer

    [...] Niall Ferguson Niall Ferguson is an economist, historian, and best-selling author, and will discuss the meaning of money — where it came from, where it goes, and why it’s always been the backbone of civilization. His new book and documentary are both titled, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World. (You can watch the two-hour version online here.) [...]

  • Fred F. Arzideh

    An outstanding report on one of today’s main issues.That is what you expect from a top college academy.A food for thought.I enjoed evry bit of it.Professor Ferguson covered every things,and did not missed a thing,credit to his imagination. Fred Arzideh,PE,MBA

  • Coleman Lincoln Smyth Partingham

    What a load of liberal claptrap! The reason economy has problems is because of the liberal elite Clinton machine turning an open, freedom loving market economy into a communist/socialist give away society that panders to the lay about, self-indulgent mongrols of lower humanity. I say get a job you bums! And leave the complexities of high finance to your superiors.

  • Steve Schneider

    I liked the bit about currency, lending and trust. I think a more appropriate historical event of taking advantage of the trust of suckers would be Charles Ponzi. Then showing that – unlike what schools of economics with their fancy formulas would have one believe – corruption is integral to economics. Then illustrate that showing corruption of the credit-rating agencies to slap ‘AAA’ on any security with high enough commissions (to help draw in more suckers.)

  • Judith Meisen

    Simply, superb, facinating! Timely, relevant, and critically informative, this program is a “must see” 101 in economics. I need to experience it again and again to ensure every single knowledge detail is indeliby imprinted in my brain. Thank you, Niall!

  • Fernando Quevedo

    Thanks PBS and Niall Ferguson for an excellent program and more so for making available to viewers in the internet. “Way to go”!

  • CHARLES H KELLEM JR

    You certainly gave us a lot of information, BUT, I would have titled it–THE MANIPULATIONS OF MONEY. Please include philosophers and give us a primer documentary on MONEY itself. Possible title–PHILOSOPHERS RAP ABOUT MONEY using common english words–

  • Ibrahim El-Behery

    I found the ‘Ascent of Money’ difficult to follow with so many complex concepts and practices rapidly presented without adequate explaination (I am not an economist) and so most of the talk about derivatives, hedge funds, the bond markets were all above my head. I belive one need to know somthing about these concepts before one can make sense of the film and really really understand the cause of the economic crash beyond the simple causes of greed and the now almost universally accepted idea that one must be terribly rich without earning the money. Thank You.

  • Iris M. Gross

    How come we always have to learn this stuff from British people? Not that I mind, just wondered. Good show, very informative.

  • Charles

    I watched the program twice and I must say that it was nothing short of fascinating. This should have been done years ago. However, the timing couldn’t have been better than now. I’m reading the book now on my Kindle. Highly recommended.

    http://www.SimplyCharly.com

  • L. F.

    A fine effort, but what about 5,000 years of gold being the world’s primary currency up until 1971 when the U.S. broke its promise to the world in the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement to keep the U.S. Dollar “as good as gold” through backing by gold bullion held in reserve at the U.S. Federal Reserve? Since that time, the U.S. Dollar has simply been a fiat currency with no real value, and since all other major currencies used to be pegged to the U.S. Dollar, now all other currencies in the world are also fiat currencies with no real value. The world has experienced more booms and busts in the past 38 years all due to the world now being run on currencies that float in an unstable manner with nothing of real, hard value backing them. Never before in human history have all the world’s currencies floated freely against one another. Distortions are everywhere as a result, leading the human herd mentality toward ever more ‘irrational exuberance’ more frequently. Malinvestment and economic crises can only ensue naturally in such an unstable monetary environment. To fix the global economy once and for all, the U.S. needs to bring back a form of the gold standard to the U.S. Dollar to correct the regretful mistake the US made back on August 15, 1971.

  • Paul Zuback

    Usery is no longer a criminal enterprise in this country. It has become common business practice over the passed forty years under the disguise of entrepreneurship. Read your history to see the validity of this.

  • Winston Mitchell

    Magnificent, and should be taught in school from kindergarden age & throughtout college, not to mention the church, we are all humanbeing & needed to be empowered with the reality of life, Bless your soul, & keep doing the work you are doing.

  • http://www.thirteen.org/historyanddocumentary/watch-ascent-of-money-online Thirteen/WNET » Watch ‘The Ascent of Money’ Online

    [...] Author, economist and historian Niall Ferguson traces the evolution of money and demonstrates that financial history is the essential back-story behind all history. Watch the 2-hour special online now. [...]

  • Brad K

    I’m teaching a unit on Math and Social Justice in my Problem Solving class right now. On Tuesday we learned about the topic of sub-prime mortgages. Can you imagine how exciting it was to turn on PBS Tuesday evening to see this show? I made them all watch it online during class on Wednesday. Great job, PBS!

  • Dan

    This is a good show and should be mandatory viewing for all. If you bother to read a few books and get your information and news outside of the mainstream media however, none of this would be new to you.

  • Tom

    WOW! This was one of the most informative, educational and entertaining documentary I have ever watched. I was rivited seat not wanting to miss a minute of the show. This is why we watch public broadcasting….Thank you PBS for bringing this, and shows like this, to television! Keep up the good work.

  • TH

    Great work!

    The discussion of interest is well, interesting. It seems our money is created by debt. New money is added into the system only as principal on a loan. When the loan is paid back the principal disappears and so does the money in the system (that is before it gets loaned out again in fractional reserve banking). As such, the only money working about in the economy is principal. If that is true, then where does the money come to pay interest? Is this why Christianity used to despise interest and Islam still does (selectively that is)? And even though Jews charged interest, didn’t they also have Jubilee years where people were made whole (debts forgiven)? Please expound on this for us!

  • Anthony Pullano

    Magnifico! – Bravo! Grazie Mr.Feguson..
    Your film was the 1st ever documentary that bore naked the historical and current ways of the market ..and you did it with eloquence and touch of humour ! ( the human factor !)
    For the 1st time in my life you made me understand the simplicity and complexity of the abc stock mkt. to Hedge Funds – derivities , and yes the reaosn as to when they came about .

    I could not take myself away from your direct -honest and human perspective of the world market – in particular the ChanMerica .
    I am a painter artist,-you painted with words and numbers the equivelant of the financial Mona Lisa !

  • Richard

    The head of Enron would have gotten (if he’d lived) 20+ years in jail. Why didn’t Alan Greenspan get life for his pivotal part in the economic meltdown?

  • Angelo Z.

    Great work, did not leave my chair for the entire film

  • Joe Swanson

    China owns this country economically. The United States has tried to get China to adjust thier currency brcause it doesnt reflect the true value. Who in this country is getting wealthy from this relationship of cheap imports from China. This will be our downfall.

  • Matthew R McC

    Amazing! We use it everyday, base our lives on it, but have NO idea how it works. Money is an enigma on par with the Creator itself. Brilliant program!

  • Theodore Tsoukatos

    This was an absolute extraordinary effort by Mr. Naill and the other members of the research and production team to bring a scientific accurate view on the development of the monetary system and interrelations during the course of the last 4 millennia. I am confident that the program managed to articulate precisely the historic and social forces that led to the steady expansion of “homeownership” concept during the second part of the 20th century. Equally importance was the effort to explore and interpret the contemporary financial forces – like hedge funds, derivatives and the whole leveraged positions pursued by the financial institutions – that were/are propelling Wall Street’s rising and diminish. The program accomplishes its goal to convey financial concepts usually taught behind the doors of business schools to the average viewer. Been in the midst of the worst financial recession probably since the Great Depression I can’t help but wonder about what could have been different if such material constituted part of a general education course.
    We should embrace the historic experiences in order to experience a better future. Please continue to advertise and broadcast the program during the next months nationwide.

  • Jonathan Ritter

    Last month I was standing in exactly the same spot in Hong Kong as Prof. Ferguson in the film and was looking around and thinking much the same thing – “Recession? What recession?” The level of consumerism continues to be nothing short of astonishing, despite the growing number of factory closures and faltering stock markets in HK and Shanghai.

    He also pointed out that Chongqing, now with more than 30 million people, is not only the financial capital of south-west China, but well on its way to becoming the financial capital of Asia and maybe the entire world. This is not as far-fetched as it might sound.

    The salient idea presented quite correctly by Prof. Ferguson is that the Chinese, despite their comparatively low salaries, are notorious savers and Americans, despite their means, are notorious spenders. Their banks are (or were) stocked with cash. Much of the money that has been squandered, stolen and gambled away by the Wall Street banks came from both the Chinese government and Chinese banks, who at one time were all to eager to loan their depositor’s assets and current account surpluses to Lehman, Wachovia, Merrill, et. al., along with huge purchases of American T-bills and government bonds. The Chinese wanted a safe and decent return on their money and the big banks, flush with expendable cash, pushed much of it down to the mortgage companies on your street and mine and their sales folks followed the marching orders and went out and gave a mortgage to anyone with a pulse.

    The only way to address and correct this inequity, at least from a North American perspective (the Chinese have huge problems of their own), is to get people living within their means. We need to become less of a no-down-payment, no-interest, no payments until kingdom come culture to one that pays according to what it can afford, best made in cash or at least nearer to my grandfather’s idea of saving up for something you dearly want and don’t get it until you have earned and saved the money.

    We all love PBS. But how many damn 47” LCD TVs do we need in our houses to watch a single program?

  • Sujith

    Very good program. Thanks!

  • Captain Jack

    I have been unable to see the whole picture of what is going on. I can now sleep better to night no longer trying to figure what the heck happen. We sure are traveling into uncharted future, yet if we can talk a look at our past I’m confident that we will not repeat our past.

  • http://www.politicalgroove.com/economics-finance/11953-ascent-money-pbs-program.html#post313626 "the ascent of money" pbs program – - PoliticalGroove Forums

    [...] ascent of money" pbs program – this is a great film. watch it here: Watch full program: THE ASCENT OF MONEY | The Ascent of Money | PBS __________________ Shakin’ up America, ONE vote at a time! YES WE [...]

  • P C

    The topic presentation was excellent. Huge question was ignored. George Soros was presented as a hero / benefactor of the failure of the Bank of England. How much has Mr. Soros benefited from the collapse of the American or World economy over the last four months. Even more intriguing, is the question of whether he was able to “trigger” these failures. The analogy of the herd and the difficulty of knowing what would trigger the fear and stampede, raises the question – Did someone know, both how to set off the stampede and, how to benefit from it?

  • Mike

    PBS did it again, this is a great educational program. It makes me wonder, while people in China concentrate on saving we promote spending; While students in other countries concentrate on math and science we focus on “Intelligent Design”. Are we on the wrong path?

  • Shannon Seymour

    This series should be a “REQUIREMENT” for every American—even as a condition to our ongoing citizenship right. Obama, I sure as hell hope you have studied this PBS programming!

  • Leslie Lambert

    That girl coming out of the revolving doors of the Goldman Sachs office building in New York at approximately 4 minutes is my sister!! whoo hoo!
    LL

  • K. Alberani

    I viewed this twice. Excellent work and simply amazing. I enjoyed the historical aspect behind the depression in Detroit. I grew up in Detroit and Dearborn.My grandparents worked at the Ford River Rouge plant. And I used to see the Diego Rivera Mural in the Detroit Inst. of Arts Museum. I was never taught the history behind this.

  • Jessica K

    THANK YOU FOR SUCH A NICE PROGRAM! It is easy to follow yet I felt like I’ve learnt a whole class’ worth of material in just 2 hrs! At least I did understood the financial world a lot more than before I watch this.

  • Stan (Blazejewski)

    1-17-09
    I was watching a movie on PBS and the Ascent of Money came on. It was 2 A.M. but the program so fasinated me I stayed up till the end. This video should be on a DVD and made available to everyone. If it is, please E-mail me with information on how to get a copy. I would like to show it to the Residents of the Retirement Community where I live.
    Thank you for airing this program; everyone, particularly the younger generations should see it.

  • sandra finney

    What a fantastic program! It fully explains in the most basic, understandable terms the full financial picture of the world today. It should be utilized by High Schools and Colleges teaching Finance 101 and Econ 101. I am calling and emailing all my friends and family to encourage them to watch this show. Thank you again PBS.
    Sandra B. Finney
    Atlanta, Georgia

  • kc Martin

    The world media wants to believe our economic woes are sourced from bankrupt American citizens and the sub-prime mortgage crisis. It is the financial elite who are media puppeteers funding programs like this because they want to steer our attention away from the real issue. Something likened to a magicians hat and cane trick. Powerful economic forces want us to focus on sub-prime mortgages and ignore that over the last three decades American jobs have been outsourced to all corners of the world. Without jobs ordinary Americans can’t afford homes and there should be major deflation and price corrections. But instead, the financial elite conspired with the Federal Reserve and government to flood the market with “funny” loans to keep values going up. Our whole economy has become one giant Ponzi scheme and the media is intentionally ignoring the issue of greed, government corruption and outright criminal activity. Perhaps the best part of this program was cut onto the editing room floor, nonetheless, by side stepping the underlying issues it comes off as British bias and propaganda mixed in with some Economics 101 for entertainment. Watch this 2-hour program because it is better than nothing but don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

  • Mike Pukmel

    The program was entertaining, but many claims made were misleading at best and many statements and claims were simply false. For example, the statment that “the Chinese savers financed the USA’s current account deficit” is hogwash. I ask you: how many Yuan a year does the US government spend? The answer: zero. This is what really happens: The USA has a horrendous trade deficit with China, due only to China’s 7 yuan to the dollar peg. The exchange rate makes imports extremely expensive (to China) and exports cheap. Chinese companies make profits in US Dollars from their exports. They can’t spend US dollars in China, so they go to the Chinese central banks, and “convert” some (most) of the US Dollars to Yuan to spend at home. This mechanism has absolutely nothing to do with the Chinese savings rate. US Dollars pile up in foreign central banks (of which China, due to its large trade imbalance, is a major one). The Chinese government does not back their currency with any precious metals, so they just go to their “printing press” and generate the Yuan tospend at home, which they hand over to the companies doing exports. The US Dollars pile up in the Chinese central banks, and there’s not much they can do with the bulk of these credit dollars. They can buy some things like Oil and some commodities, since the US Dollar is in very wide spread use, at least now. The chinese government “invests” some of the trade deficit dollars by buying US government bonds. The mechanism is completely independent of whether the Chinese worker saves or not. You see, in China, there is no 401K plan, IRA or other retirement vehicle. Many of the old “employment for life” state run companies that promised life long pensions, were run out of business. In China, if you don’t save, you’ll starve when you retire. And many of their parents or grandparents are now being taken care of by children or grandchildren, since their old state pensions disappeared. There is no ’safety net’ in China. The savings is all most of the workers have. That said, its not some wonderful brilliant thing that Chinese do, they have no choice. Your claim that somehow the Chinese save money, and its sen’t here to the USA to “fund” spending is just false, an impossibility.

    There are many other claims and statements that are on weak grounds, misleading or false too. I expected more from PBS.

  • Ernie Ganas

    The Producer/Narrator started losing credibility early on when it was apparent that he didn’t know who the president of the United States was from 1993 to 2000. I was a little disappointed that he kept referring to Pres Bush rather than Pres Clinton when talking about Enron’s rise in the late 90’s.
    I guess a Brit PhD didn’t know that Bush was elected in 2000 and assumed the presidency in Jan 2001 or was it his European prejudice?. Enron was going downhill by the time he took office.

    It was sort of convenient that he forgot the congressional complicity in the Fanny Mae/Mac role in the sub-prime mortgage broker marketplace. Those types of errors indicated a lack of knowledge on his part and caused me to wonder why the rating agencies S&P, Mooney & Fitch weren’t mentioned. Then I realized he had decided that Bush and Enron were the causes and he didn’t really want facts to get in the way of his conclusions.

  • God-frey

    What was not addressed is the role of overpopulation in the boom and bust cycles. Overpopulation allows the greedy to exploit the masses as the god of economic growth is pursued to the next bigger and better boom and bust cycle.

  • Kyle

    Great program.

  • Argus Webster

    Please play this every day for a year so that we may learn to avoid some of the financial chicanery that is responsible for our current economic situation. It plainly demonstrates the faulty logic and moral repugnance of people making money for doing essentially nothing productive; not building, not laboring, just trying to make a buck via gambling, risk, and trickery in my estimation. If all those people directed their efforts to honest, hard, productive work and not some pseudo wealth creation mumbo jumbo this would be a better world.

  • john

    An eyeopening encounter with the world of finance.
    I look forward to more PBS presentations in this vein. Perhaps the Commoddity Futures Act of 2000, which deregulated these mortgage derivitives, and the shadow banking system which dealt in these securities would be candidates for further documentary consideration. Thanks for a wonderful book and program PBS and Dr. Furgerson

  • J. Allison

    Really worthwhile. Well presented overview of compelling current events with key figures interviewed, organized in a manner for everyday folks to understand. Obviously very concerning subject matter.

  • steve roz

    PBS thank you. Just like in 2000 old NOVA special ‘Trillion Dollar Bet’ about the creation of LTCM.

  • Mike

    Good Program, I just hope and pray we can recover this meltdown. After watching, I confirmed that the laws that were in place prior to Enron, that were removed as “Modernization”, “De-regulation” and “get the government off our backs” were the root cause to this meltdown. The present crop of politicians had dim memories of the 1932 reasons the laws were implemented to begin with, to protect citizens from the likes of Ken Lay and the CEO’s who award themselves bonuses with stock options from my IRA account.
    I am not sure what I can do, but I hope everyone in Washington watches this program.

  • Brock Davis

    Outstanding program. And the book is excellent as well. Thanks!!!

  • Doug Rapp

    Dear Niall,
    The show was really good and explained a lot about the current financial situation as well as in the long term. Done in the “Cringley” style of “Revenge of the Nerds,” it is a must watch for everyone. Very enlightening; well done! You can quote me on that.

    Since I am sure you will get many, many rave notices, it doesn’t hurt to provide then I think some contrasting criticism as well. My British Grandmother always thought that a good thing for the concept of free speech and free enterprise.

    To do that I forward a little note I sent to my brother not long after viewing the program as well as the comments below. We kids grew up for a time just this side of 8 Mile Road (that is, between 7 and 8 Mile Road) in Detroit, Michigan the exact area referred to in your film. That is, “Mo-Town,” “Hockey Town,” “The Motor City,” land of Stevie Wonder, Bob Seger et.al. 8 Mile Road, for those unfamiliar is the city’s northern most border, was once following WWII a thriving “Levittown” affordable FHA housing area, and our home was surely within a rock’s throw of the 1941 “Levittown” real estate developer’s “red-line” cement wall portrayed in your film.

    My Father was schooled at the Henry Ford Trade School, today the Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Michigan. My Father, upon graduation, began working as an engineer for the Ford Motor Company in the days leading up to WWII. He once was assigned to train Henry Ford II in the ways of the machine shop. The Mr. Ford, Henry, wanted it that way. He asked the Foreman Engineer who was the best man for the job. My Father was choosen. My Mother worked as a secretary. When WWII broke out, because no one knew the “assembly line process” better than Ford, my Father was given special mandatory government clearance, as essential to the national effort, to head a team converting aircraft and other plants around the country to the assembly line process. This effort proved essential to the outcome of the war for the entire Allied cause as America became in Mr. Roosevelt’s words: “The Arsenal of Democracy”.
    No one knew that better than British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as London burned.

    My parents did pay off that mortgage in the 1940’s and 1950’s before moving on. And the Diego Rivera mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts portrayed in your film is still to my mind a sight worth seeing, I’m sure you’ll agree. I know I thought so when I saw it. And it’s free. The managerial group, at least at Ford’s back in the heyday, did not “just watch,” as you note it in the film, but were a very integral, active and creative force for change. Karl Marx, and his “Labor Theory of Value,” borrowed from Ricardo and Veblen, was always often wrong about that in the years that followed his writings, as the new Soviet Union to their dismay soon found out after the 1917 Revolution.

    The City of Detroit I have found over the years to be an extremely, and I emphasize extremely, good-hearted community, a “city with a heart,” a force for good, a fact and concept about them not known to the wider American public I’m afraid. The people of Detroit, for example, have consistently raised more money (in excess of a million dollars a year) for the Annual Jerry Lewis Telethon for Muscular Distrophey, than does say the entire City of New York, a much larger community. Often as much as the entire World Wide McDonald’s Corporation. Just one city!

    I could site many other examples from my actual experience that do not ensue I assure you from rose colored glasses. I have had, for example, people who had heard things about Detroit on the news and then actually visited the city themselves, that is, spent some time there more than just the airport; tell me how surprisingly wonderful a city it is. A very pleasant surprise they said, especially in light of “what they had been led to believe, especially by the media,” –a delight and a sharp contrast from what they had expected.

    News of course is “Man Bites Dog,” and not the other way around. I’ve noticed a tendency over the years of the National Media when covering stories to often overplay, for ratings purposes, the harsher aspects of a story. Talking to the “locals,” the true everyday citizens, residents, workers and lower line officials, who number in the hundreds, sometimes the thousands it’s true, often gives a more realistic rendition of a community, than the national media seems to pick up from the “experts” and big-wigs.

    One of the things even as a child I noticed, however, in certain areas of Downtown Detroit, is that no true Renaissance will ever begin there until the people themselves who occupy those homes start taking some pride in those old, but well built homes, plant some grass in the front yard, and clean up the ubiquitous broken glass that haunts these downtown neighborhoods that their kids play in. This is true on the South Side of Chicago as well, areas of Philadelphia and I’m sure in Boston and other major US cities. The early sight of blood when children fall on such glass and debris can’t help but harden the kids to the sight of blood, provide a marked tendency to make the kids a bit callous to the sight of blood and help lead by inference to a tendency to accept violence in their enviroment more easily.

    One of the things I would like to see this new administration do is inspire the Children, parents and the kids in the schools in these neighborhoods to volunteer in great numbers to get out there in the streets and to make a crusading and voluntary effort to clean them up. And the best way to start in is with the glass and debris. You don’t need a lot of cash to do that. But a lot of concerned parents, goodwill, a host of volunteers, (a Martin Luther King spirit), and some well marked “Clean Up Our City!” trash barrels and volunteer “Pride” trucks to haul the stuff away to the nearest proper dump site– instead of leaving it in the vacant lot next door as is so often seen. Only then, will a “real” Renaissance begin from the bottom up. And it’s long overdue. You do that, put that on the “National Media,” and the rest of the country will be on your side, and demand better schools and facilities for those in need. “God helps those who help themselves,” is the fitting Proverb in this instance.

    As you can see Niall, your program was very provocative, a source of great inspiration, conversation, and a wonderful effort. You must be very proud and are fortunate indeed to be able to pursue such a career, I envy you, and would very much like to join you in such efforts.

    And now the note and please forgive. It’s just my outspoken British, “Maggie Thatcher,” Grandmother coming out in me, as it tends to do from time to time. No harm intended, of course, and I didn’t know I would be sending it along when it was written. Who was it our Mutual Friend Shakespear and his delightful character Falstaff my friend? who gave life to the phrase: “Disgression is the better part of valor”/or valour if you prefer: aka, I have my faults as well.

    The Note:
    Hi Bill,(my brother)
    Did you see the program “The Ascent of Money” last week on PBS?
    We must have lived within nearly a stone’s throw from the 6 foot cement wall near 8 Mile Road that’s referred to in the course of the film. Seems like you, I, Peter Janick and Danny Suhutski should have run into that thing more than once while on our bikes while heading for the Cooper Sand & Gravel Hills or other such nearby adventurous environs back in the day. Do you remember any such wall? I don’t. All I remember is the high tension towers along 8 Mile Road and thinking how much power they must deliver.
    Funny they picked Detroit though of all US cities to discuss the concept of “Red Lining.” I realize while saying it, this truly is a broad-brushed, non-PC generalization, but it always seems like it is some such snob-nosed, Harvard, Cambridge or Oxford, England type scholar character (in this case would you believe all three?!) who just can’t wait to pick away at America. I suppose growing up with stuffy English history classes that so often portray Great Britain as the great victor, “the land upon which the sun never sets,” you know, the episode that portrays the American “Colonies” as the one that got away, just sits in their craw and continues to fester away don’t you think?

    It was the British who, after all, created such wonderful homes for Dicken’s characters “Oliver Twist,” the “Artful Dodger,” and friends in the slums of London by driving peasant farmer’s and their children off the lands in the wonderful 1800’s. And who gave us the unforgettable Esq. Mr. Pickwick’s debtor’s prisons. But then, that was long ago, far away.
    -D
    PS: I’m sending along to you the program online. It’s worth another look even if you have seen it already.

  • BASIL M. BERNARD

    Should be mandatory reading foe all college business students.
    Unfortunately most investors will not take the time to watch this very informative and comprehensive cronology.

  • Brad

    Nice work, Dr. Ferguson. But, I am left wanting to know more at the end about Chimerica. What is America’s commitment real to China and vis-a-versa? The Neocon’s who still have influence in Obama’s Admin., what will they have to say about that? This film was good, but it definitely needs a sequel.

  • alan

    it is about time that the truth be made know, we are all pawns in the big picture ,so live small be wise with what you have and don’t live beyond what you can pay cash for because if you don’t watch you pennys somebody else will :)

  • Soyer

    where can i buy this video? I was amazed by its production and information about our chaotic market. i used to be so confused but after watching Ascent of Money, I have a better understanding of the financial markets and the ramifications they have on our daily lives. Where can I buy this video for myself and my students?

  • Henry Harrell

    Will Rogers said along time ago ” I don’t want return on my money, I want return of my money.” Putting our cash where it is close at hand in todays times isn’t a bad idea.

  • http://www.tacticalgamer.com/sandbox/132466-very-good-show-money-current-crisis.html#post1193360 Very good show on money and the current crisis – Tactical Gamer

    [...] good show on money and the current crisis The Ascent of money It doesn’t really focus in detail on the current problems but puts the problems we have now within [...]

  • sam giovanetti

    Those Enron scumbags who shutdown power plants and purposely caused blackouts should have been executed.

  • Jake Cadigal

    Easily the best show on PBS. I watched it twice on the same night.

    The program provided insight to the roots of the current international problem. It fairly spreads
    responsibility from government policy, the financial institutions, our basic greed or misdirected dreams, and the herd mentality of human beings. It is interesting to note the
    angle of the Enron virus as highlighted in the
    show.

    I did find it discerning that even this program
    places much blame on derivative instruments, but
    what is more appalling is not the lack of clarity
    in the explanation of such complex instruments, but rather the ignorance of those who sold these
    as relatively safe investments.

    The program pointed out that what has transpired
    involved a perfect storm: the remote odds of
    what supposedly couldn’t happen actually did.

    Hopefully the Obama administration was watching
    and can apply the lessons from our past mistakes.

  • http://www.steveseverance.com/?p=119 Steve’s Blog – Business, Medicine and Technology » Blog Archive » The Assent of Money

    [...] you consider yourself a financial neophyte or are confused by what is going on today check out The Assent of Money. It is a good overview even if it glosses over some of the more technical details of modern [...]

  • Andrew Lee

    Thank you PBS. Very informative work from A to Z.
    Only regret, not talking about how much has our government orchestrated latest financial events.

  • Francis Hansworth

    simply amazing

  • Hans Worthsinstein

    Incredible video.
    It was simply amazing

  • http://wherestheinterest.com/2009/01/20/niall-ferguson-the-ascent-of-money/ Niall Ferguson: The Ascent of Money | Where’s The Interest!?

    [...] is the PBS video.  Or watch the Google Video [...]

  • am Trumps

    I want to hear about the greed of commerical banking system. The fees, the penalties, the rise of payday loan, check cashing, title loan and tax advance place which now perform transaction which was the business of the bank. why are there more of these businesses than banks in our neighborhood?? The commerical banking system has failed the community with their greed and helped create many of the consumers they called subprime. Underwriters not qualifying loans, correctly, appraisiers over estimated property. I know banks couldn’t have done this alone. I’m just frustrated because I don’t think we are angry enough about their participation in this mess. Why are we bankruptcy the country to support a system that has done nothing but fleece their customers every chance they get. where did Bank of America get the money to pay their last dividend to shareholders? The TARP????

  • Kay

    I came in late when this aired on television…blowing bubbles so I touched base with the website to see what I had missed…this is an incredible program, thank you for the information and explanation. WELL DONE give us more!!!

  • J.H. May

    Thank you very much for this illuminating program! There is only one conclusion that sticks most in my mind and that is that Americans need to start saving or at least live more within their means. America is far to important to the world than to be dragged down by our own want and greed. My hope is that the next generation(my generation) will learn some valuable lessons from what is happening now and this will be the sharp u-turn that had to happen in order to have a better future.

  • Sean

    very well put together and in broad enough brush stokes to understand… would like to see more from Mr. Ferguson

  • BK

    I have watched this 4 times. I cannot get enough of it. the interesting thing is that my field is Medicine not economy. FANTASTIC WORK PBS. You just added one person to the list of your future donors!

  • jack74

    I was going to say best documentary about modern finance ever, but really it’s the only one I’ve ever seen. Finally, someone explains to me what an ‘option’ is! Well done, WNET, PBS and Niall Ferguson!

  • fran Pio

    Another fine George Bush move. I guess not until this film would I have realized the mess our country is in.

  • http://sexyspirits.com/blog/video/the-ascent-of-money The Ascent of Money | Sexy Spirits

    [...] See this film now…… [...]

  • http://blogs.technet.com/tonyso/archive/2009/01/23/things-are-out-of-proportion.aspx TONYSO : Things are out of proportion

    [...] The Ascent of Money online to get some perspective, because things are out of [...]

  • Paul Zuback

    There has to be someonewho knows of Ferdinand Picora. We need someone like him now to bring the Captains of Wall Street and our bankers before a senate committee now to find out what happened and why it happened to our economy.

  • DS

    This program was very well structured and each segment explained thoroughly.

  • A. Dennen

    This is an amazing documentary! Thank you PBS!

  • Jamie

    Absolutely brilliant documentary! This guy is a genius, looking forward to more from him. It makes me just want to abandon modern living and go become a hunter gatherer!

  • Travis Ravert

    Excellent documentary. However, people not familiar with economics and finance should know that most economists and financial analysts do not even factor black swans into their models and theories. Anyone interested should read Nassim Taleb’s “The Black Swan”, for an even deeper explanation.

  • Larry C

    Great show… I do think that singling out Bush for promoting risky loans a bit unfair. Everyone in DC was in on that one……..

  • http://www.sktrealty.com/must-watch/ Sharon Kay Turner Realty » Blog Archive » Must Watch

    [...] CLICK HERE. Awesome video about money and our current economy on PBS. Tags: Article, Video [...]

  • Mike Lynagh

    Caught the last 45 minutes but want to watch it from the beginning but it is not avialable online eventhough it has a link?? The part I caught was great but need to see more!!!

  • James Davis

    Four negative areas of finance: consequence of sub-prime mortgages, off-balance sheet losses, de-regulation of banking, and expanding of banking into non-traditional areas you have reminded me of; thank you!

  • Rajiv

    Very good. I am proud to be part of PBS. Thanks

  • Gary

    Thanks for the presentation. It quiets anxiety, and alludes to effects of rent monopoly. A feature clarifying the principle of economic rent would compliment the presentation, and empower viewers regarding public spending, and taxation. The late Henry George predicted painful social effects of economic rent monopoly, and offered a simple remedy that eliminates them. Georgist organizations are a resource.

  • Kathy

    This information is so incredibly important and well told. Great job, PBS!

  • Christine Kuhinka

    Although Professor Ferguson’s documentary on “The Ascent of Money” is informative, insightful and timely; nevertheless, his association of plasma donations with financial destitution is misleading and inaccurate. Plasma donors come from all walks of life and typically make a long-term commitment to donating plasma. Plasma donors recognize the value of their donation, namely, they understand that plasma saves lives.

    Plasma-derived biotherapies save thousands of lives every year in the United States alone. Biotherapies are used to treat serious and rare conditions including coagulation disorders, such as hemophilia and von Willebrand disease, primary immune deficiencies and genetic emphysema. Biotherapies are also used in critical care settings for the treatment of shock and burns, for wound healing and during surgical procedures.

    Plasma-derived biotherapies help people with these serious conditions live normal, healthy lives. Without biotherapies many people would die or live seriously compromised lives. Donating plasma is, therefore, an extremely worthwhile endeavor. Plasma donors should be commended for their contribution to society, not disparaged.

  • http://isrp.org/?p=3 And So It Begins | ISRP

    [...] the US and World economic system and how we are in our present crisis. The name of the program is The Ascent of Money, and you have to check it out. There are also quite a few good articles out there on the financial [...]

  • http://richardwatson5.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/a-property-owning-democracy/ “A Property-Owning Democracy” « Richard Watson’s Blog

    [...] Posted by richardwatson5 under Uncategorized   In his book The Ascent of Money ( also a PBS show ), Niall Ferguson reports that mortgages used to be short term affairs, for perhaps three to five [...]

  • http://www.antihumanism.info/?p=94 AntiHumanism Info » Global Bankruptcy as World Leaders Succumb to Monetary Dementia

    [...] line as Former Fed. Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker puts it in ‘The Ascent of Money’, a pbs.org video at 17:36 min. Such a concept is repellent to the mind because if we give it a thought, we begin to [...]

  • http://centurean2.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/feeling-secure-with-your-fiat-moneybrits-set-up-for-mother-of-all-crashes/ Feeling Secure With Your Fiat Money…..BRITS SET UP FOR MOTHER OF ALL CRASHES.. « Centurean2’s Weblog

    [...] line as Former Fed. Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker puts it in ‘The Ascent of Money’, a pbs.org video at 17:36 min. Such a concept is repellent to the mind because if we give it a thought, we begin to [...]

  • http://uk1884.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/feel-secure-with-fiat-money-brits-set-up-for-mother-of-all-crashes/ Feel Secure with Fiat Money- Brits set up for Mother Of All Crashes!! « uk1884

    [...] line as Former Fed. Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker puts it in ‘The Ascent of Money’, a pbs.org video at 17:36 min. Such a concept is repellent to the mind because if we give it a thought, we begin to [...]

  • Sarah K.

    I believe, this is originally created by Channel 4, a British TV. The original version of this documentary is about 488 minutes (according to Amazon – UK), a lot longer than what PBS presented. I think PBS did a great disservice by leaving out a very large portion of this fantastic (in its original length) documentary. I also think that American people could have learned a lot more by watching the documentary in full. I don’t know why PBS decided to cut out this much and only run it as a two- hour documentary. I think it would be nice to re-air this documentary in its full length. Regardless, as a big fan of PBS in general, I thank PBS for giving many an opportunity to follow the 4000 years of history of money albeit in a shorten version. May be this documentary will help to open some eyes and make many to start understanding what really is going on in our country and in the world.

  • Cyber1

    I bought the DVD The Ascent Of Money from AMAZON U.K. & I had it sent to my son in NYC who is an Investment Banker. The price is about the same as PBS Store but you don’t have to wait til March ‘09

  • Magdalena

    Excellent video!!! I am so happy to have had a chance to watch it. Thank you thirteen, thank you Niall Ferguson.

  • Bob Hobbs

    Great program! I had completed the audiobook, and now have the bonus of seeing the PBS presentation.

  • Guillermo Kuhl

    So, who walked away with all the cash?
    gkuhl3@bellsouth.net

  • KingofthePaupers

    Jct: Banks do not operate like piggy banks lending out their depositors’ funds. Banks opeate like casino banks issuing new credits. Yes, based on savings that are deposited but new credits, not old.
    http://johnturmel.com/kotp.htm is an index of youtube videos with “how banks create money” from the tap to the drain with plumbing.

  • http://jeremymhofer.wordpress.com/2009/02/11/the-ascent-of-money/ The Ascent of Money « Jeremy M Hofer

    [...] I definately recommend … view it online for free here. [...]

  • http://www.jamestpowell.com/2009/02/13/bookmarks-for-february-6th-through-february-13th/ Bookmarks for February 6th through February 13th at James Powell’s Blog

    [...] Watch full program: THE ASCENT OF MONEY | The Ascent of Money | PBS – linked via http://www.kottke.org/09/02/the-ascent-of-money [...]

  • Beatty

    A good job on the 70% of the story that was covered. Disappointing that the job wasn’t complete.

  • http://strawdogs.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/ascent-of-money/ ascent of money « strawdogs

    [...] of money You can watch the brand new PBS show with Niall Ferguson The Ascent of Money online [...]

  • ariel sanchez

    this was a learning experience. everyone living in America should watch it. i bought my home in los angeles for 500 k , now it is worth half and i must meet the mortgage payments…had i had the knowledge about this…..
    thank you PBS.

  • Ann

    Wish I could see the whole thing because this one seems, to me – someone who has worked in the the investing business for nearly 20 years – to be largely propaganda. It spends a lot of time focusing on Trust without talking about how money used for loans does not actually exist, it’s just pieces of paper being given out against deposits held, so we have more money moving around the economy than actually exists (see http://chestertheinvestor.com/blog/2008/07/22/how-the-fed-controls-interest-rates/#more-7) so it isn’t the people defaulting on the loans as much as the banking math itself! In fact, the defaulters only make up a small portion of the total business. Also, Soros is a criminal, he didn’t make his money by betting and winning, he made his fortune by losing so big that the BOE had to devalue the pound in order to save the economy, which turned his losing bet into a winning one, and made him an investing star…

  • Michael Vromen

    Israel Educational TV offered this absolute gem of a series as a loop (re-running automatically) during a wintry Saturday this past weekend. It is absolutely brilliant and should be watched across the board by the entire financial industry. Amazing how the lack of knowledge of history has very often been the instigator of dramatic financial events. The use of clever footage techniques, even if repeated throughout the series, make it appealing and modern. The English is superb and the narration is as clear as source water! A brilliant document I want to own!

  • Wilbur

    I agree Ann. This show is propaganda for the Banksters! They got somebody who is bright and eloquent with just enough of an accent to make him sound authoritative on the subject. They picked through the pieces of financial history that fit their agenda. The agenda was to make people think that the worldwide financial system somehow manages and regulates itself when misallocation of capital takes place for whatever reason. This is wrong! Capital is purposefully directed to be misallocated by those who are in control of issuance of money in the first place. It was a well done piece of propaganda however. And I suspect it will help keep some of the sheeple in the dark even though they think they understand NOW.

  • Farid

    damn, this was awesome!

  • Matt

    I am rather flabbergasted that so many of the comments posted here can be praising this documentary for making “the mess that we’re in” clear to them. I found this film to be almost completely incoherent, with an enormous range of topics cherrypicked from financial history and economic theory and spun together to make an argument that says… what? That humans are irrational actors and have trouble predicting the future? This is not an enlightening thesis and it does not flow logically from the points (barely points) raised by each of the subsections of the program.

    This was an extremely shallow look at how financial markets work, the mechanisms that have caused past financial crises and how they link to what is currently going on in world markets. I suggest that anyone who honestly wants to gain a better understanding of what’s going on to crack open some economics books. This documentary revealed very little.

  • http://www.cryhughes.com/?p=127 Tracking the economy today — CRYHUGHES

    [...] “The Ascent of Money” by Niall Ferguson | same same, but different, for finance.  OR, watch his 4-hour special on PBS [...]

  • http://smashingtelly.com/2009/03/02/the-ascent-of-money-2/ The Ascent of Money | Smashing Telly – A hand picked TV channel

    [...] Link [...]

  • http://forums.netphoria.org/politics-forum/165370-inconvenient-debt.html#post3447975 Inconvenient Debt? – Netphoria Message Board

    [...] to get a grip on the topic, this is a good place to start (if you have an hour to burn): PBS: THE ASCENT OF MONEY not really a direct answer to you question, but its an interesting primer on how the system [...]

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  • Franz

    Oh no, all my dreams and hopes are gone. Can the communism save us?

  • Jesse

    Why are there so many weird people on this board?

    Great job Mr.Ferguson, you’ve done it again! What will be your next topic?

  • MrDeals

    What is up with blaming Greenspan and Bush? He made great points but you always strike while the iron’s hot, that’s Capitalism. Also has our lifestyles really changed that much this year?

  • Josh

    Exceptional. By the way, thank you for standing your ground against Wells, Madrick, and Krugman, at the panel last week. Their understanding of history is far too limited.

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  • Kim

    This is a true wake up call and should be required viewing by everyone that works and spends in lieu of saving!!!

  • Carlos

    The book was magnificent! Naill has a new fan. I hope to read more of his work.

  • charlie chiu

    Very good stuff for the ordinary people in Hong Kong too. It should wake up some sense in them in making furture investment decisions. Shame about the poor marketing and promote of this series by tvb. Hope there will be a rerun.

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  • Billy

    Some may call it racist to notice what is actually happing around them. I saw the same stuff here in California that was happing in Detroit and Memphis. This big fat black lady I know, essentially unemployed, bought a 750,000 dollar house here in LA, bought a new SUV, new carpet and furniture and went on an expensive vacation with here live in boyfriend. The lesson here is to think of certain minorities as the canaries in the coal mine. They were the most grievous spendthrifts and were the first to show something was very wrong with the system. By no means were they the cause of the collapse of the housing sector. All races participated in a very big way in the housing bubble.

  • Francois

    Overall, an excellent program. The historical part was truly fascinating. However, the explanation of the “subprime” mortgage was a bit wanting. A lot of prime mortgages have been as reckless, if not more than in subprime lending. I would have appreciated a more detailed coverage of the spread from subprime to prime and its undeniable effects on the severity of the housing crisis.

  • Daniel Cardona

    Fails to mention in “SAFE AS HOUSES” that when you factor inflation a home’s value gains only a fraction of a percent. The gains people see in real-estate are inflated (bubbles) which now have crashed and become “real” again.

  • JD

    FANTASTIC PROGRAM. THANK YOU PBS!!!!! SHOULD BE MANDATORY VIEWING AT EVERY SCHOOL AROUND THE WORLD!

  • chuck ling

    there it is playuh. its a dirty system but its still the biggest game around. learn these ways & min wage is in your past. the world needs ditch diggers more than it needs elitists, decide which to be.

  • Brian

    Interesting and informative, although understandably dumbed down a bit, and inaccurate at times (see Mike Pukmel’s comment above). Also, the treatment of LTCM (Long Term Cap Mgmt) wasn’t very accurate. The main cause of their failure was not equity options but their inability to meet the margin calls on widening Treasury spreads. A good source is Lowenstein’s book When Genius Failed.

  • Lee

    Our world now needs fully educated people, so that the ’status quo’ will stop the ’spin, lies by omission’. Once the public is educated perhaps we can do a paradigm shift & live as spiritual beings vs Egomaniacs (who are insecure, greedy & totally unaware of how they appear to the rest of world. The world does know about the greed, we see thru the lies, rationalization (that status quo thinks they deserve). Thank you for the next step to awareness to becoming unatttached to the SHAM of the 21 Century of greed, lies, status quo- it doesn’t work for the mojority.

  • Curt

    You can see why Ron Paul was the only potential leader that understood or cared that the Federal Reserve was just a racket designed to separate people from their real wealth. Invested my 491 K into Gold & Silver 2 years ago because of rotten people like Geo. Soros and Warren Buffet . Both are responsible for the current multiplication of our debt by at least 4 X. Greenspan and Geithner and Bernanke are all modern day John Laws IMHO.Ponzi and Madoffs are still gasmimg us and Congress is acting as Wallstreet’s lackies .

  • Jimmy

    I used to believe that Christians hated the Jews because the Christians were wannabe “the Chosen People” and deep down inside the Christians knew the bible didn’t apply to them. But know I get a clearer picture as to why Christians or Paulites – as they should be called – hate Jews. It all arises money, as most things do. The Paulites were jealous of the prosperity of the Jews. Thank you for this program.

  • Remy

    That Karl guy a couple of entries before me sure does get around. Just google what he says to google and you’ll see how many sites he commented on saying the exact same thing sometimes with different names. Too bad nobody here’s as ignorant as him to actually believe that crap.

  • Dave

    Got to be the dumbest show I have ever seen. Mixing modern pictures with the Battle of Waterloo…what am I missing???? If you’re going to tell a story, tell it in one century or another….dumb, dumb, dumb.

  • William Blanton

    If you like this,you will like “Money as Dept” google video also found on youtube,other monetary theories do exist!! Very positive knowing about about back up plans,,,Good job PBS

  • Jim in Phila

    Full of propaganda and revisionist history. Niall F. must be on the Rothschild payroll.

  • Steve

    Everyone watch this video and contrast them. It seems to me that this is a Rothschild answer to it.

    http://www.themoneymasters.com/

  • Barbara Woodin

    Great piece of work weaving economics, history, culture and social changes into a compelling TV doc. We need more programming of this sort to give us the background, perspective and ramifications of money beginning with the early history and bringing us to the present – shows how little things have changed throughout eras of boom and bust, greed and caution, and is a stimulating and thoughtful picture of the markets, government, and business – Cheers to Niall Ferguson and PBS for a terrific story! Look forward to reruns of this timely program! I’ll watch it again and again!

  • Greg Bacon

    Interesting show, but Nialls leaves out some inconveneint truths.

    Like the Rothschilds financing both sides when England and Napolean had their war.

    And that during the US Civil War, President Lincoln was so appalled at the rate of interest bankers wanted to charge the North to finance the war that Lincoln went and printed government money to use, which were called “greenbacks.”

    A move that some say led to his assassination.

  • Jim Devin

    The Ascent of Money. I found the programme hard to follow. I had hoped that there would have been more analysis not just “connections” in the James Burke fashion. The money spent on bring Niall Ferguson and the film staff to the various locales could have been spent more wisely in his office. Do we really need more programmes of celebrity academics?

  • BRIAN

    This program was enlightening. I learned a lot. I was shocked and amazed at how ignorant we all are of the true history of Money and the World. Most people don’t understand, because they have been brainwashed into believing a lie and the “Ascent of Money” is the hard truth. The Truth as Winston Churchill once said, “The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.”

    Thank You, Keep it coming, Please, let the truth be known.

  • O’Neil

    Lord! I’d love to watch. Been here 20 yrs in Rome Italy. If you need me to watch the Dodge Dealer commercials – I’m ready! (actually, kinda’ like ‘em). Why, why, oh, why? Please, please let me watch!!!

  • Peter in Paris

    Good program but it’s suspicious to mention Bush twice yet not one democrat for their extensive involvement in the Fannie / Freddie housing crisis….

  • Rachael

    Interesting, but the show doesn’t give any solutions, or a better way, just criticism; no solutions. Also, a little left-leaning — of course, it’s PBS.

  • Nick C

    This was a great program, but one complaint was there was an implication that the mass home ownership that began in the 30’s was a major factor in the crisis. The home finance system worked fine (for several decades) until the wave of deregulation of banking and growth of the unregulated shadow banking sector occurred. The large investment banks were allowed to use our money to make their risky bets. Not just in housing securities, but in hedge funds and other risky vehicles. We took most of the risk – they took most of the profits. All in the name of removing burdensome government. Had sensible regulations been in place, this mess could not have occurred.

    Another complaint was when he mentioned how loans were insured it led viewers to believe that that was the only reason we are backing loans (I.E. bailout out banks) He should have explained some basics on banking so people understand that insured or not – the government must ‘bailout’ bank failures or loose much more in currency depreciation or currency collapse. They would start to ask why our government (yes Greenspan and Bush were key here) refused to regulate the finance sector when problems were brought up multiple times.

  • Vercille Bennett

    Absolutely great! How about one more eposode on the manipulation of the gold market (GATA) would be a good starting point. If you do not want this information to be widely disseminated, I understand; but it will come out eventually and with even more pain for, ‘the man in the street.’

  • Maryann

    What’s with the Bush/Greenspan bashing regarding money. Was everyone asleep when the Democrats were in control the last two years of Bush’s administration. It’s Barney Frank and his crowd who’s to blame! This show is just another left-wing fraud.

  • agnes e/ kelly

    I want more of this program. I want to watch it
    again. When is the nest showing.

  • Anurag

    I have read the book and yesterday saw its first episode after waiting for it for weeks. best commentary on MONEY and how this has shaped our world.

  • Kimberly

    An AMAZING documentary. Should be required viewing for all high school students, and those in public service and non-profits. As well, everyone in general will benfit from this well composed program.

  • Patrick Burton

    Very rudimentary in nature….Nial is way too garrulous – obviously he enjoys hearing himself talk! This is for a young and uninformed audience. Anyone in the finance industry would find it boring…

  • Jaydeep

    It has changed my view towards finance market..hats off to this programe

  • Ajay Singh

    Exellent presentation on financial history of world or money with its complexities trhu simplicity by Mr. Niall…Those who are new to understand the magic of money must watch this on Fox history channel on every thrusday @10PM.

  • hickmanedimonk

    This was a excellent program. buti think one thing is missing in your article about mass home ownership .

    http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=1852195

  • Hills Crawley

    The repetitive and cyclic nature of the way the common man has been exploited saddens me. The rich make the rules and the rest have to play.

  • Walter

    Chapter 3: Safe as Houses? minutes11:00-14:00.

    It’s 2009 so why do we allow the manufacture of racism through inventing, repackaging, and offering of programs that perpetuate a racist ideology. I can no longer envision a future with out war or racism. As much as we are taught about MLK we still have not learned anything.

  • Roger

    Why the content is unavailable?
    Please, we need it!

  • eviltoejam

    hello puny humans!!

  • Wayne

    when will the content be available online or rebroadcast on TV?

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    hey we need the video.. why I can’t wacth it??

  • Vamsi

    This is the best finance video i have seen till date. Thank you Mr. Ferguson

  • Robert Lowe

    This was GREAT!!!
    Outstanding work!!

  • Emil Suric

    Those interested with the complexities of money and credit should read Ludwig von Mises’ “The Theory of Money and Credit.”

  • Mikio Miles

    Emil’s suggestion about reading Ludwig von Mises’ “The Theory of Money and Credit” is a great one. A fabulous read and it explains a ton!

    - Mikio @ http://www.cehd.org/

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