PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CAPITALISM DVD
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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
Top customer reviews
We also recently purchases "China Rises" and we are half way done with that as well, but unlike one of the other reviewers, from what I have seen so far I much prefer this(They are both very good and worth watching). One of the primary reasons that I prefer this so far is the HD component. As far as I can tell "China Rises" is not available in HD and as much as I love my HD, that is a bit of a turn off.
If you are willing to sit down and watch this with an open mind there is a lot that can be taken away from these four episodes. I personally have a bit of a bias towards China, but there are some serious concerns that the country needs to address and I feel this production does a good job of confronting some of them.
One of my biggest complaints is that the program focuses almost completely on Chongqing and I was never there. I would have preferred to see a little about some other cities(and other countries). This was about the best that could be done in four episodes though, so it is a very minor complaint.
I, my wife, and my 18 year old brother enjoyed this very much though. Can't wait to see more on China and more on other countries.
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.
Let me recommend three other documentaries:
-- Last Train Home
-- From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China (and be sure to watch the extra features)
-- Manufactured Landscapes
Ted Koppel's interview is, regrettably, the only extra feature. It is certainly worth watching, if nothing else to give Mr Koppel plenty of credibility as a reporter of China, but also to help put into perspective and amplify some parts of the series.
Highly recommended. Not just in 2014, but always, for those trying to understand this most remarkable country.
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