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Internalizing Externalities

Sunday, July 03, 2005 at 1:02 AM

Commanding Heights

Saturday evening was cool – the first time in the second term when I felt relaxed – mind you it’s a relative term – so relatively relaxed would be better.

In this heightened state of relaxation I attended the screening of a documentary at the auditorium and then chilled out in the atrium in an informal quiz jamming session.

Prof. Krishna Kumar from USC is taking part of our Global Economics course. The documentary he screened was not ordinary stuff – I never knew documentaries could be so exciting.

If you even have an inkling of interest in global economy, then you will love the following videos available free on the PBS site. It is based on the book Commanding Heights which was converted into a TV series.

Commanding Heights: Storyline | on PBS

"The program provides a spellbinding history of the world economy over the past 90 years...it should be required viewing for audiences around the world, for there could be no better launching pad for a meaningful debate about globalization and its future."
Business Week

Commanding Heights lays down the evolution of global economy. The first episode deals with the Battle of Ideas – who should control Steel, railroads, coal, the heavy industries – what Lenin termed as the commanding heights of the economy – the power of government or the forces of the marketplace. In essence the battle between Keynesian and Classical schools of economic thought.

The second episode deals with the Agony of Reform – a new capitalist revolution with the markets ruling the commanding heights sees the collapse of government regulation and privatization sweeps in. Though the wealth of nations expands people have to deal with unequal distribution.

The third episode shows us the new rules of the Game. With the world getting deeply interconnected and with no one having a clear control of the global economy – who will write the new rules? Global terrorism has already given indications that imbalances may threaten the stability of the global village.

If Markstrat and Prof. Raju's class are exiciting, then Global Eco is not far behind. Here all Profs are battling it out for the Commanding Heights!!

Incidentally, Prof. Krishna Kumar won the best faculty for core courses last year at ISB. Seeing the passion he has for the subject and the amount of interest he is able to generate in class – it won’t be a surprise if he wins it again this year. But each term I think the professors are the best and then the next term I find better ones. I am sure I will have to eat my words each term.

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