Free To Choose Network is a global entertainment company which produces thought-provoking public television documentaries and series, books and educational materials that offer diverse voices, powerful stories and a fresh perspective on a range of important global and national issues.
It’s been suggested that Americans would be better off if the United States was more like Sweden. Do the Swedes know something that we don’t? Sweden: Lessons for America? A Personal Exploration by Johan Norberg delves into the economic and social landscape of the Swedish scholar’s homeland. Join him to see that the lessons to be learned from Sweden may not be the ones you expect.
The one-hour documentary follows Norberg on a journey through the history of Sweden’s economic rise, from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the most prosperous. The program illuminates key ideas and enterprises that sparked the reform and continue to help Sweden maintain its lofty economic position, including freedom of the press, free trade, new technology companies, crazy jobs and even an old Swedish superhero.
Leading up to the onset of World War II, western democracies like Britain and France viewed a policy of appeasement toward Germany as the path of wisdom and restraint. It seemed prudent to make concessions to aggressors if it meant avoiding a bloody war. When Nazi Germany rearmed the Rhineland, annexed Austria, and seized an area of Czechoslovakia, the British and French response came in the form of paper: the Munich Agreement, which conceded these territories to Germany under the condition they make no land grabs. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared to a cheering crowd that the agreement meant “peace for our time.”
Concessions often bring about peace in the short term, defusing tensions for a while… but the aggressor’s initial demands are not forgotten and, in fact, they are often bolstered by newfound doubts about their enemies’ resolve. As such, a greater conflict ensues. This was the case in 1939 when Germany broke the still-new Munich Agreement and invaded Poland, starting World War II.
The lesson of deterrence is one which is hard-learned time and time again. In this one-hour program, the insights of military historian and National Review columnist Victor Davis Hanson guide our investigation of the United States’ successful deterrence of enemy aggression in the past and the efforts to sustain it in an era of rogue nations and nuclear proliferation.
Compassion fueled the creation of America’s welfare system, a safety net that rescues some of the most vulnerable among us. We often hear political leaders and activists tout the system’s good intentions, but what about those living on welfare? Do they think the system is working? Have good intentions delivered good results?
The safety net is ideally more of a trampoline, where people hit it and then bounce back onto their feet, and into rich, fulfilling lives. But today, instead of bouncing back, too many Americans have become ensnared in the net. Of course, the system has helped some people, but the sad fact is that it typically hurts those it’s supposed to help.
Viewers will experience the welfare system through the eyes of those who are stuck in it. They will learn that the system’s greatest cost is its human cost.
School Inc. is a global exploration of discovery by the late Andrew Coulson, senior fellow of education policy at Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. He takes viewers on a worldwide personal quest for an answer to the question—if you build a better way to teach a subject, why doesn’t the world beat a path to your door, like they do in other industries? The three-part documentary exposes audiences to unfamiliar and often startling realities: the sad fate of Jaime Escalante after the release of the feature film Stand and Deliver; Korean teachers who earn millions of dollars every year; private schools in India that produce excellent results but charge only $5 a month; current U.S. efforts to provide choices and replicate educational excellence; and schools in Chile and Sweden—in which top K-12 teachers and schools have already begun to “scale-up,” reaching large and ever-growing numbers of students.
Like the Cosmos and Connections series that inspired it, School Inc. takes viewers on a personal journey, led by an expert so passionate about his field that he made arrangements before his imminent death to ensure the documentary would be completed. Coulson offers his analysis with a sense of circumspection about the limits of science, as well as a sense of humor. From its surprising twists to its beautiful visuals, the series doesn’t just edify, but entertains.
Who keeps the global peace? If not the U.S., then who?
For years now, we’ve lived in the Pax Americana, a time of relative peace enforced by the military might of the United States. The U.S. acts as a global policeman, a deterrent to keep others in line. But many Americans have tired of this role, wanting to “mind their own business” instead.
And as America withdraws, China claims more of the South China Sea, Russia invades its neighbors and menaces Europe, and Iran expands its nuclear capabilities. There are big questions to consider. Is there a downside to America’s retreat? What happens in a world with no deterrent, no global policeman to keep others in check?
Can the world afford for America to mind its own business? Can America?
Join noted author and Cato Institute Senior Fellow Johan Norberg as he investigates.
At one time, New Zealand had the most government-controlled economy that existed outside the Iron Curtain. The government impacted every aspect of a person’s life. Government permission was even required to subscribe to an overseas magazine since it was considered an economic import. By 1984, New Zealand was in serious financial crisis and unable to borrow any more money.
Finance Minister Roger Douglas, a member of the left-leaning Labour Party, took office the midst of this chaos, implementing a dramatic change in government thinking. He instituted the most radical economic liberalization reforms, dubbed “Rogernomics,” ever seen.
The reforms resulted in hardship on the road to recovery, but most say the end results have been worth the efforts. New Zealand has since emerged as a world leader in economic freedom.
Our new documentary, Trailblazers: The New Zealand Story, explores this transformation, introducing us to the bold politicians who stayed the sometimes-bumpy course, as well as many of the extraordinary people who’ve built new lives for themselves, their families, and their fellow Kiwis by seizing the economic opportunity that resulted.
India is coming alive and flourishing economically. In fact, Citigroup estimates that by 2050, it will have the world’s largest economy, larger than China and the United States. For many centuries, only the politically connected and elite prospered in India, while the rest of the population lived in poverty. However, since 1991, 250 million people have been lifted out of poverty and are finding new ways to flex their personal and economic power.
In “India Awakes” noted Swedish author, commentator, and Cato Institute Senior Fellow Johan Norberg explores an inherited British bureaucracy which created layers of rules and regulations. However, globalization and economic liberalization have created fluidity between classes – and greater ambition. Norberg follows three individuals who are working to improve their lives, and in doing so, are breaking down the centuries old caste system.
Banwari Lal Sharma, the president of a new street vendors association, is helping vendors in his area feel more empowered and able to stand up for their legal rights, after years of having to pay bribes to corrupt local officials.
Rama Bhai, a Sagai village leader and farmer, comes from a group called the ‘forest people,’ who were once viewed as trespassers on the land where they have lived for generations. Through an unusual use of GPS systems and Google Earth they have now obtained deeds to their land.
And Mannem Madhusudana Rao, who was born to one of the lowest rungs of India’s caste system, the “dalit,” was able to break free from the chains that have bound his societal position to a life of poverty. Through hard work and perseverance, Rao formed a major construction firm and has a much higher quality of life for himself and his extended family, along with a new status of “millionaire.” “India Awakes” reveals the enormous power of unlocking human potential and ambition, and how doing so could establish this country as a preeminent world leader.
The amazing life story of Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman can be completely and effectively told only when integrated with stories of the impact of his ideas here in the United States and throughout the world. In print, radio, and television, Professor Friedman applied the economic approach to the many challenges of human societies. He has done so in a manner that is both accessible to the average citizen, yet consistent with the best scholarly work. To this end, we excitedly share this collection of his appearances, lectures, and programs for all to enjoy. The ideas contained here truly have affected millions around the world and will continue to do so well into the future.
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