The Age of Uncertainty. from 1977. Political Economy before the neo-liberal revolution.And “Free To Choose” Milton Friedman’s Bumper Sticker Response.

Galbraith was not the only one in his profession to sense the propitiousness
of the moment and the potential of the medium. He commenced work on the
documentary series that would become The Age of Uncertainty in an era when
a growing number of corporations, advocacy organizations, and think tanks
were engaging in concerted attempts to convince popular audiences of the
merits of free market ideas. Sensitive to their own perceived marginalization,
they observed the production process for Galbraith’s incipient series with
evident alarm. Seeking to discredit and displace his arguments, they turned
to Milton Friedman, who had in recent years become Galbraith’s most
prominent opponent in the public sphere. Like Galbraith, Friedman
demonstrated a facility for popular journalism and routinely embraced
opportunities to influence public opinion on matters of political concern.
Although the two men were neighbors in Vermont and referred to each other
as friends, their distaste for each other’s views had become evident in their
frequent sparring sessions in columns and editorials. It was therefore no
surprise that Friedman, at the request of colleagues at a think tank in London,
met the release of The Age of Uncertainty with a public lecture that was
intended to discredit its claims. And not long thereafter—at the urging of a
public televisionexecutive who had been converted to his views—Friedman
developed and released a competitivemultipart documentary of his own, Free
to Choose, which would (in conjunction with a companion volume) become the
most popular and widely disseminated introduction to his ideas.

Angus Burgin
Age of Certainty:Galbraith, Friedman,and the Public Lifeof Economic Ideas

Age of Certainty:Galbraith, Friedman,and the Public Lifeof Economic IdeasAngus Burgin

In the summer of 1973, while watching John Dean’s testimony in the
Watergate trial at his vacation house in rural Vermont,John Kenneth Galbraith
received an unexpected telephone call. On the other end of the line wasAdrian
Malone, a producer with the BBC who had become known for developing
multipart historical documentaries of notable ambition and expense
(Galbraith 1981c, 528). Most recently Malone had completed The Ascent of
Man, a thirteen-part series on the history of science that had attracted glowing
reviews and turned its central figure,Jacob Bronowski, into a household name.
Malone was now shifting his attention to the history of the social sciences and
commencing the project of presenting the subject’s notoriously abstract
themes to a mass audience on the small screen. Malone informed Galbraith
that he would be the ideal person to guide such an enterprise. The reasons for
this choice, as a later proposal noted, were readily evident: Galbraith was
“that rare being, a practical philosopher.” He was “an authority who stands
outside, butisrespected by those with political power,” benefited from “a worldwide reputation,” and maintained the capacity to “entertain ideas and
experiments from both ends of any spectrum, radical or reactionary.”
Correspondence may be addressed to Angus Burgin, Johns Hopkins University, Department of
History, 3400 North Charles Street, 338F Gilman Hall, Baltimore MD 21218; e-mail: I am grateful to Kelly Kelleher Richter and Paige Glotzer for their invaluable
research assistance and to two anonymous readers for History of Political Economy for their helpful
comments and suggestions.

I have re uploaded a full playlist of all the episodes and have most episodes now with subtitles.
Episode 4 As yet has no subtitles ( wortking on it,)
Episode 12 Due to Copyright Issues this part of the soundtrack is missing.
“the young black rock musician performed
[Music]Star Spangled Banner Deleted)

The Age Of Uncertainty (1977)

• Studio: British Broadcasting Corporation
• Original Run: 1977
• URLs:


Written, narrated and hosted by John Kenneth Galbraith.

The ideas of economists and social philosophers shape actions and events even when we are unaware of their sources. They have a decisive influence on the great rush of revolution and change through which the world has passed in the last two hundred years. Professor John Kenneth Galbraith traces these ideas and their consequences from Adam Smith, through Marx and Lenin, to Keynes and to the thinking that gave shape to the concepts of the Cold War, the corporation and, now, the conflicts and concerns of the Third World.

Episodes, Runtimes (mm:ss), Descriptions

• Episode 01 – The Prophets and Promise of Classical Capitalism (56:12): The ideological development of classical capitalism in Britain and France and its flowering into an accepted certainty in the United States in the late 19th century. It discusses the contributions of Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Thomas Malthus.

• Episode 02 – The Manners and Morals of High Capitalism (55:51): The robber baron industrial capitalists of the late nineteenth century and examines their conspicuous consumption concept of earning and spending money. It discusses ways in which this concept affects our attitudes today.

• Episode 03 – Karl Marx: The Massive Dissent (56:11): The film opens with a view of Marx’s tomb. Galbraith enumerates the different qualities of Karl Marx. We are shown the home where he was born in Trier, Germany, and his early life history is recounted. Hegel and the University of Berlin stand out as a high-point.

• Episode 04 – The Colonial Idea (55:17): Focuses on colonialism and the colonial adventure, which Galbraith considers historically and as a continuing legacy.

• Episode 05 – Lenin and the Great Ungluing (56:08): The outbreak of the first world war, with its absurd unreason, should have triumphantly fulfilled Marx’s prophecy of the end of capitalism. The war and the events leading up to it are illustrated on stage by posturing knights. The life of Lenin is counterpointed with the scenes of war.

• Episode 06 – The Rise and Fall of Money (56:09): This program focuses on the history and function of money in society, which Galbraith considers through an analysis of the cycles of instability and inflation that plague the system.

• Episode 07 – The Mandarin Revolution (56:18): This program focuses on the world-wide slump that threatened economic disaster after World War I and the role of economist John Maynard Keynes’ ideas on saving the West.

• Episode 08 – The Fatal Competition (56:13): This program investigates the origins and development of the military and industrial economy as a result of the cold war and the continuing rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union.

• Episode 09 – The Big Corporation (56:09): The corporation, as a myth and reality, is examined and dissected. Multi national corporations are prominent today, their image is similar no matter where the corporation is headquartered. Corporations are also leading the way in advancing capitalism as a form of governance that is in contradiction to and often times conflicting with democracy.

• Episode 10 – Land and People (56:06): This program focuses on the role of land in determining wealth and poverty and its effect on social and foreign policies.

• Episode 11 – The Metropolis (56:06): This video portrays problems of the industrial society as seen in the urban metropolis, which best reflects its uncertainty and crisis.

• Episode 12 – Democracy, Leadership, Commitment (56:04): Focuses on the processes and operation of democracy with a look at the American experiment. It combines Galbraith’s personal memoirs of leaders that he has known, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr, with emphasis on the role of individual action in government and organization.

• Episode 13 – Weekend in Vermont – Part 1 (58:00): Professor Galbraith at his Vermont home with a group of political leaders, discussing the economic state of the world. His guests include Henry Kissinger, Edward Heath, Shirley Williams, Jack Jones and Professor Ralf Dhrendorf. The discussion includes inflation, unemployment, and international economic problems.

• Episode 14 – Weekend in Vermont – Part 2 (44:42): Professor Galbraith at his Vermont home with a group of political leaders, discussing the economic state of the world. His guests include Henry Kissinger, Edward Heath, Shirley Williams, Jack Jones and Professor Ralf Dhrendorf. The discussion includes inflation, unemployment, and international economic problems.

• Episode 15 – Weekend in Vermont – Part 3 (53:45): Professor Galbraith at his Vermont home with a group of political leaders, discussing the economic state of the world. His guests include Henry Kissinger, Edward Heath, Shirley Williams, Jack Jones and Professor Ralf Dhrendorf. The discussion includes inflation, unemployment, and international economic problems.

  • Note: Originally released on VHS cassette, each of the above videos was converted to AVI format by persons unknown and are presented here as found.

The Age of Uncertainty is a 1977 book and television series about economics, co-produced by the BBC, CBC, KCET and OECA, and written and presented by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith.

The leader of the British Conservative Party, Margaret Thatcher, and Keith Joseph objected to the screening of the series by the BBC as they perceived it too biased for a state-run TV station. Milton Friedman was brought over from Chicago to lecture against Galbraith’s economic viewpoints with Nicholas Kaldor opposing him.[8] The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator, publications associated with the Conservative political party, dismissed the series whilst the Financial Times and New York Times viewed it positively.[9] Milton Friedman presented his own response to Galbraith in his series Free to Choose.[3]

Along with his other works Economics and the Public Purse and Money, The Age of Uncertainty reinforced Galbraith’s stature as a major American economist who upheld and championed traditional Keynesian economics as opposed to the more free market and liberal economic theories of Milton Friedman.[10]

Free to Choose
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Free to Choose: A Personal Statement (1980) is a book by economists Milton and Rose D. Friedman, accompanied by a ten-part series broadcast on public television, that advocates free market principles. It was primarily a response to an earlier landmark book and television series The Age of Uncertainty, by the noted economist John Kenneth Galbraith. Milton Friedman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1976.