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3.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Ted Koppel takes an in-depth look at the economic ties that bind the U.S. to China

"A major achievement … an utterly enchanting education" --The Washington Post

"Terrific … don’t miss it." --USA Today

In this in-depth four-part documentary, Ted Koppel examines China’s new status as an economic superpower and its complex relationship with the United States. He focuses on Chongqing--a city in Sichuan Province with a burgeoning population and big plans for the future. While peasants in outlying areas eke out a meager living, the rising middle class revels in new riches, challenging traditional ideas about religion, sexuality, and consumerism. All this reverberates here in America, where companies scramble for cheap labor, workers find jobs shipped overseas, and shoppers snap up Chinese-made goods at big box retailers.

A year in the making, The People’s Republic of Capitalism shows China’s extraordinary changes through the eyes of its industrialists, assembly line workers, coal miners, taxi drivers, and farmers. Along the way, it provides surprising perspectives on a country fast becoming America’s greatest economic rival and biggest business partner.


  • Exclusive interview with Ted Koppel
  • 20-page viewer’s guide includes highlights, questions to consider, avenues for further learning, a brief history of the Cultural Revolution, and more.
  • Exclusive web extras

    An inductee in the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Ted Koppel has earned 42 Emmys, eight Peabodys, and numerous other awards in his decades of broadcast reporting. For 25 years, he served as anchor and managing editor of ABC’s Nightline, network television’s first late-night news program.

Perhaps nothing crystallizes the theme of Ted Koppel’s excellent Discovery Channel series The People’s Republic of Capitalism like the production of Ethan Allen couches. Over four episodes, Koppel reveals increasing economic interdependence between the United States and China, and daily business for the American furniture maker is a case in point. While couch bases are made in Chinese factories using cheap labor, those bases are then sent to the U.S. to be assembled with other components. The finished couches are then sent to China to be sold to a growing middle class with money to spare. Such is the cycle of globalization, pushing the U.S. and China into a necessary partnership that has an upside for some and a profound downside for others.

In order to understand that complexity, Koppel tells us, it’s important to grasp rapid changes in China, which has forsaken socialism—the very idea of a classless society—for a fervent embrace of new values and the goal of becoming an economic superpower. Koppel shows viewers how China, on one hand, micro-manages people's lives in very real ways, such as the country's notorious "one child" policy for families, which is designed to lower the nation's enormous population in time. On the other hand, Chinese are enjoying the freedom to pursue aspirations toward economic success and the (sometimes illicit) fruits of hard work. But others don't manage quite as well: Chinese factory workers who battle fatigue to make the equivalent of $20 per week, and the American workers who lost their jobs to their overseas counterparts. This eye-opening series is truly helpful toward understanding our complicated new world. --Tom Keogh

View an excerpt from the booklet included with The People's Republic of Capitalism with Ted Koppel

The People's Republic of Capitalism with Ted Koppel

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Ted Koppel
  • Directors: Ted Koppel, Robert Goldsborough
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: ACORN MEDIA
  • DVD Release Date: June 2, 2009
  • Run Time: 176 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001O7R75Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,313 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 25, 2009
Format: DVD
An excellent, informational 2-DVD set covering the Chinese people, business, politics, government, religion, and many other aspects that are all now revolving around commerce--world wide business. China is thickest with America. This program is educational but not only for schools. Business leaders considering, or involved with China on an economic level, need to view this in-depth series on "the PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC of CAPITALISM." States, cities, and any committee looking to encourage outside (China) investors, first watch this new Athena DVD, presenting Ted Koppel and his program seen early in 2009 on Discovery Channel.

Ted Koppel is perfect for presenting this topic as he spent so many years reporting on China when little was known. He was one of the first people allowed inside the country when it began to open it's doors. He has the first-hand knowledge, but also he went to Chongqing, a staggeringly fast-paced growing city based on industrialism and consumerism. The facts, the interviews of the people, and the growth-at-any-cost attitude will enlighten you, PERHAPS ADD A BIT OF FEAR.

Impact of Wal-Mart, Ethan Allen, Buick, Briggs & Stratton, Apple, and others is highlighted.

The current economic world crisis is another factor that makes this program so relevant. Major US business is going bankrupt, Americans are loosing good jobs, US economic growth is balancing between crash and recovery, while China is winning the commerce exchange by 4 or 5 times. Why is China/USA trade so lopsided? Can it be equaled? Can it be stopped? Who is really controlling economic trade so important to the American economy? The answers may surprise you. May scare you. Or, they could suggest that you jump into the frenzy with your own company.
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Format: Blu-ray
Does it need to be said that it's impossible to summarize any country, much less China, in just four hours? But I think this series comes as close as any could.

Even now, six years later, it's still very much worth watching.

I am certain you will be awed by the city of Chongqing, which the series uses as a metaphor for all China. We've never heard of Chongqing, have we, except in relation to the Three Gorges Dam. Yet it's a city of 30 (!) million and with a modernity, energy and wealth that are staggering.

I'm old enough to remember Mao's Great Leap Forward and his Cultural Revolution. Constant images of Chinese wearing the same drab clothes, riding bicycles everywhere, producing nothing except the lowest quality products.

The Cultural Revolution (1966 - 1976) is now forgotten, it seems, in both China and the rest of the world. At the time I expected China would need a century to recover from Mao's maniacal attempt to expunge all traces of capitalism.

"Millions of people were persecuted in the violent factional struggles that ensued across the country, and suffered a wide range of abuses including public humiliation, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, sustained harassment, and seizure of property. A large segment of the population was forcibly displaced, most notably the transfer of urban youth to rural regions during the Down to the Countryside Movement." -- Wikipedia

This series has four parts. I found the second to be useful in understanding the Chinese leadership's mindset. It will be, though, I bet, the least interesting part of the series for most of us. No problem, get through it, absorb it, enjoy the rest.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Imagine if the population of the U.S. quadrupled and the increase came mainly from rural areas and earned a fraction of what the rest of us earned. That would be something like the great contrasts that exist in China as it establishes itself as an economic superpower and the U.S. and China go forward, awkwardly 'joined at the hip', possibly irreversibly so. In this four part documentary Koppel takes a look at this complex love/hate relationship. We hate China when they take our jobs with their cheap labor but the same people who lost their jobs are the same ones (with millions others) who love shopping at Wal-Mart and other retailers with cheap, imported goods from China. We all probably know that but what doesn't seem to make the nightly news is the appetite the growing Chinese middle class have for high end 'American-made' products such as Ethan Allen furniture where the fabric and some components come from China, assembled here and shipped to China. Same is true autos. GM & Ford are flourishing in China and Asia. A Black Buick is a status car in China where 25,000 new cars are added to the highways EVERY DAY - 9,000,000 every year. 80% of Chinese car buyers have never owned an automobile. Think of America's love affair with the automobile back in the 1950's. The segment on auto insurance and how they handle the tsunami of accident claims is entertaining. Making money is the new religion in China. It comes before everything else - product safety, environmental concerns and even morality. In 2006 over 24,000 government workers were convicted of graft. While clearly many more goods come from China than are exported, our relationship is not as simple as the sound bites make it seem.Read more ›
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