Top Ten Economics Documentaries

10. Overdose

Johan Norberg’s short film on the financial crisis looks into the causes of the meltdown and argues that government policies are simply reinflating another bubble to burst sometime in the near future. Includes interviews with former comptroller general of the GAO David Walker, as well as predictors of the financial crisis, Peter Schiff and Gerald Celente.

9. The Corporation

I would be biased if I didn’t include the left’s best economics documentary. The Corporation argues that corporations behave in a psychopathic manner and should be abolished in favor of a form of direct democracy. Includes interviews with Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Naomi Klein. Given I’m a libertarian, so I have to include a critique for those who are interested by the Youtube vlogger Advocate1234 (now HowTheWorldWorks): here.

8. Globalization is Good

Now for the other side of the argument, Johan Norberg, who also directed Overdose and wrote In Defense of Global Capitalism, takes a look at globalization and argues that it is, well, good.

7. The State Against Blacks

Economist Walter Williams, and author of The State Against Blacks, discusses how government regulations and licensing policies have created devastating, unintended consequences that disproportionately hurt minorities; A topic that is all too seldom discussed.

6. Money As Debt

The popular Youtube documentary discusses the history of banking and the dangers of fractional reserve banking. A sequel has also been released.

5. Fiat Empire

Congressman Ron Paul, G. Edward Griffin, the author of The Creature from Jekyll Island, and others argue the Federal Reserve has wrought havoc on the U.S. economy. Unlike other documentaries on the subject, this one stays away from the conspiratorial stuff.

4. Commanding Heights

A fantastic three part series on the rise and fall of communism, the battle between communism and capitalism and the beginnings of globalization. Includes interviews with Milton Friedman, Jeffrey Sachs and Margaret Thatcher. Follow this link to view the series.

3. I.O.U.S.A.

Former comptroller general of the GAO, David Walker, resigned because no one in government would grapple with the mounting fiscal deficits, especially from Medicare. So he started a fiscal wake up tour and filmed I.O.U.S.A. to discuss the severe shortfalls the United States is facing and hopefully inspire us to change course before we go bankrupt.

2. Free to Choose

Milton Friedman’s classic 10 part series on economics and freedom first came out in 1980, but continues to influence people today. He discussed free trade, school choice, labor unions, regulations and just about everything else and ends each video with a debate. There’s no better place to start for economics. The list of episodes is here.

1. The Ascent of Money

Niall Ferguson has written plenty of great books and made some great documentaries, but nothing beats his six part series on the history of finance. He goes over the history of banking, the bond market, corporations and insurance and then moves into how those institutions work today (and how everything went wrong). A must see for anyone interested in economics and history.

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Honorable mentions include:

Demographic Winter: a look at how reducing fertility rates could cripple the global economy
Maxed Out: examines debt, specifically credit card debt, from a liberal perspective
Why We Fight: an exposé on the military-industrial complex
Liberty and Economics: a biography of the great economist, Ludwig von Mises
Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve: Makes the case for abolition of the Federal Reserve and a return to the gold standard
Good Intentions: Walter Williams discusses the unintended consequences of a whole host of different government regulations
The Crash of 29: a history of the Great Depression.

Others I missed

The Age of Uncertainty – John Kenneth Galbraith discussed economics and history from a liberal perspective
Inside Job - Andrew Ferguson takes on the corruption on Wall Street (unfortunately all I could find was 45 minutes of excerpts from the film)

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21 Comments

  • Jim Myrtle


    Money as debt is good when it explains historical banking.

    When they discuss modern banking and fractional reserve banking, the errors make the video nearly worthless.

  • Thanks for the post, I enjoyed reading it

  • Hello all!
    We are the Observatorio of Corporate Social Reponsability, a think-tank based in Madrid, Spain. We have recently produced a documentary, Not for Sale, about Corporate Social Responsibility and the importance of changing the way we do business focusing on 3 major problems: corruption, environmental disasters and the violation of human rights.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4YaWmpl-0c

    Fighting against certain practices and supporting others will allow us to live in a more sustainable world
    We hope you´ll enjoy the documentary! (If it is the case, please share it!)

    • Anne


      Ola Louise

      Nice documentary! Can you tell me something more about this thinkthank? Starting from january I will be living in Madrid, attending classes at UAM. I will be writing a thesis about Corporate Social Responsibility, and I can even get a scholarship to to research in South-America. Maybe we can work together?

      Feel free to contact me at anne_wils@hotmail.com or add me on Facebook (Anne Wils).

      Kind regards

      • bobby 2 shoes


        Although it may be too late, I would suggest looking into the policies that cause Spains high unemployment rate, and see if those are policies that you really want to push for. Also I would recommend looking into PIGS, portugal, italy, greece, and spain, and see if those are some policies you wish to push for. They have bankrupted their countries(debt/gdp) and caused out of control poverty.

  • Chasity A


    Why is “Inside Job” by Charles Ferguson not on here?

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  • hypnotikk


    The link to The Ascent of Money is a bad link. It goes to some AOL celebrities site.

  • David


    What about John Kenneth Galbraith’s series ‘The Age of Uncertainty’?

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  • Not_a_Sheep


    The worse doc out of this list is ‘The Corporation’ its SOOO LONG and its all just a rant on how corporations are BAD and that we need to abolish them. Basically this whole documentary is supporting socialism. SOCIALISM. You know. the thing Russia, Britain, China tried and FAILED. Corporations are good if not then we should just destroy our washing machines and just hire someone to wash our clothes for us because that way we’re helping the small-guy right? and now the washing-boy is earning money! oh wait, thats not progress, that regression! WHAT. Are you saying Corporations are making things more accessible and easy for us? OMG lets also throw away our air conditioners and hire a man to wave a big fan while we sleep and we can pay him HELP THE SMALL GUY RIGHT??!!! I can feel my IQ drop watching this documentary.

    • David


      In response to Not_a_Sheep, I agree with your sentiment about that documentary being absolute drivle possibly the worst documentary I’ve seen. However I take issue with your categorisation of britain as a socialist country along with china and the ussr. Britain is a parliamentary democracy whereas china and he ussr were one party states. Britain has always been a capitalist country you need to learn the difference between social democracy and communism. Please notify me on when the ussr and the uk shared economic policy.

  • Robert Mortimer


    Inside Job – “Andrew” Ferguson? No. His name is Charles Ferguson. While at MIT He made $100 Million selling his software to Microsoft.
    Now he works hard trying to help us understand the criminality of Finance Capitalism. If all you can find is 45 minutes of excerpts from the film, try reading his book Predator Nation, which contains his research. Its a knockout.
    By the way, the author of you’re Numero Uno is a complete idiot. If you want to know how Niall Ferguson got his Harvard appointment from Larry Summers send me, in the spirit of Capitalism, $150,000 and I’ll give you the scoop.
    As an antidote to # 6 read Debt: The First 5000 Years by David Graeber.
    As a self-styled libertarianism aren’t you worried that in your lifetime your sperm will be owned by a corporation?

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  • Tomislav


    Inside Jobs not on list ?

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