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    • CommentAuthorTimbo
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
    Did anyone catch this documentary on BBC yesterday?

    It was all about politics, high finance ,Ayn Rand, globalisation and COMPUTERS.

    I am still trying to get my head around it as it encompasses the 1950's to the present day.

    What did everyone think?
  1.  (9891.2)
    EDIT: Oops wrong thread. But, do you have a link to this, it sounds fascinating?
    • CommentAuthorTimbo
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
    Sorry here is a link.

    sorry could not add it live using the /link

    Not sure if the iplayer works outside the US.

    Below is Blurb from site

    A series of films about how humans have been colonised by the machines they have built. Although we don't realise it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers.

    This is the story of the dream that rose up in the 1990s that computers could create a new kind of stable world. They would bring about a new kind global capitalism free of all risk and without the boom and bust of the past. They would also abolish political power and create a new kind of democracy through the internet where millions of individuals would be connected as nodes in cybernetic systems - without hierarchy.

    The film tells the story of two perfect worlds. One is the small group of disciples around the novelist Ayn Rand in the 1950s. They saw themselves as a prototype for a future society where everyone could follow their own selfish desires. The other is the global utopia that digital entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley set out to create in the 1990s. Many of them were also disciples of Ayn Rand. They believed that the new computer networks would allow the creation of a society where everyone could follow their own desires, yet there would not be anarchy. They were joined by Alan Greenspan who had also been a disciple of Ayn Rand. He became convinced that the computers were creating a new kind of stable capitalism - "Like a New Planet", he said.

    But the dream of stability in both worlds would be torn apart by the two dynamic human forces - love and power
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
    It's an Adam Curtis thing, his stuff is always brain bending. 'The Power of Nightmares' really should be required viewing.
  2.  (9891.5)
    I binged on all his previous works last week in prep for this and loved them unreservedly. But this... it seems an awful lot like he's trying to force his own lack of comprehension/fear of non-hierarchical networks into his existing theories, with dodgy results. Half smart connections - half get-off-my-lawn. Where he's right, he's very right - the pernicious influence of Rand in Silicon Valley is certainly an aspect of that culture - but he stretches that, I think, way too far.
  3.  (9891.6)
    'The Power of Nightmares' really should be required viewing.

    in all schools everywhere.

    saving this new one for the weekend when i have more brainspace.
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
    Shhh... watching it right now...
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
    Just watched it...not great. Somewhat disappointingly vague and forced, occasionally.
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
    just watched it too. I didn't know about the link between Greenspan and Ayn Rand. And the parts about Rand's life and Silicon valley culture was fascinating.

    But I will say that the linking of The 90's economic crisis in SE Asia and The Monica Lewinsky Affair as part of a connected repulsion of Randian idealology and rational stability was tenacious at best.

    Great choices on the music though....
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
    For all the our American friends missing out ..apparently its on the net.....

    All Watched over by Machines of Loving Grace [ep1]-

    Remember this is a series.Not a standalone documentary.
    And it starts slow and knits knits knits things together.I watched
    it analogue stylee when it aired, and it's no less awesome.

    They just need to release a big comprehensive
    Adam Curtis Blu-ray/dvd box set.

    What I got from watching this all the way through was Rand was basically
    a very very lonely person. But unlike other lonely people she had the intellect to
    construct a philosphy around her loneliness.She used it to create the facade that
    humans didn't need anyone. A sort of defiance against the loneliness.

    Thing is everyone else ran with it. And extrapoliated on it
    and it became something else.

    I felt she was vunerable person putting up a hard was shown to be a
    facade when it crumbled when she had that weird affair.

    Heri Mkocha
  4.  (9891.11)
    Haven't watched this doco but I've noticed a lot of people like to make a bigger deal out of Greenspan's association with Rand than was really there.

    Greenspan was part of Rand's "Inner Circle" for a bit less than 18 months. While he was associated with Rand he penned an article which decried central banking in general, the Federal Reserve in particular, and called for a return of the gold standard. After he left Rand's circle he apparently also abandoned his opposition to central banking and joined the "monetarist" camp of free-marketers of which Milton Friedman was the best-known advocate. The monetarists support central banking and only criticize the Fed for sometimes getting things wrong. Rand, on the contrary, was closer to the so-called "Austrian School" of free-marketers, so-called because their leading advocates (Hayek, Von Mises) hailed from Vienna but were forced to flee to Britain and the U.S., respectively, by the Nazis. Greenspan's change of direction was certainly a good career move for himself -- not so much for the rest of us.

    The differences between the monetarists and the Austrians probably seem quite trivial to socialists, but among the free-marketers, it is very deep divide. Essentially, the banking system failure of 2008 vindicated the contention of the Austrians that central-banking manipulations create a series of booms and busts that must eventually result in a snow-balling of desperate measures to ward off recession, leading finally to monetary collapse.
  5.  (9891.12)
    Has the second part, "How the idea of the ecosystem worked" aired on the BBC?

    I do agree with bob. How exactly does the Lewinsky scandal tie to the SE Asia crisis, except that they both happened at the same time, but both had no effect on the other?

    Also, why didn't the doc peek in Ayn's life, before she began writing? I would love to know why she believed in her ideologies, since it looks like it was based upon her previous experiences.
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011 edited
    @lemon laser betty -that is the first and only episode so far till next weeks.

    I agree that i'd like to know about her upbringing and social life.
    Ayn Rand seemed very hard on the outside, but those sad eyes gave it away.
    She didn't really want to be an all conquering, heroic,rational loner.
    No matter what she said.

    And as her circle fell apart, this became more apparent.

    This doesn't dilute any achievements by the people inspired by her
    ideas and books.Just saying she was lonely and in that wierd human
    spiteful way of saying "I don't need anyone!" after your spouse leaves,
    her huge mind created a movement.

    Heri Mkocha
  6.  (9891.14)
    Really looking forward to this, and I'll watch it as soon as I have the chance.

    I'm not all that surprised that it seems like he's 'stretching' at times. I really loved The Trap, but I certainly felt like every now and then he made some odd jumps that didn't exactly ring true. So I think I'll probably take a lot away from it, but I won't buy into it all and I'll enjoy his actual 'films' for the fantastic dream-like art that they are in themselves.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
    On the ties between the Lewinsky Affair and the S.E. Asia Crisis: I don't think the implication is that one caused, or even directly affected, the other, but rather that, because the Affair was taking up so much of the President's time and energy, that little could be done to wrest power back from the Treasury and possibly stabilize the crisis in Asia.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2011
    The source of the title:

    "The other is the global utopia that digital entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley set out to create in the 1990s. Many of them were also disciples of Ayn Rand."

    I don't buy it. I followed all that cyber revolution stuff pretty closely in the 1990s. I worked in Silicon Valley. I also know a few Objectivists. Yeah, there may be a bit of Venn Diagram connectivity there, but the intersection is really shallow.

    We're talking about two very different types of crazy.
      CommentAuthorCat Vincent
    • CommentTimeMay 25th 2011 edited
    Concur re. the Silly Valley crowd. Spent time out there when dating the lady who was to become wife-the-shaman, who lived in a nerd colony in Cupertino in early 90's, 5 minutes walk from Apple HQ. Though there was a lot of arrogance & Horatio Alger up-by-the-bootstraps thinking (it was the first place where I heard someone refer to the US as a meritocracy, with no irony), the trend was usually far more towards Heinlein-libertarianism than the Randian kind.
    (Now if he'd done a piece on Heinlein's influence on geeks...)
  7.  (9891.18)
    (Now if he'd done a piece on Heinlein's influence on geeks...)

    You'd probably want to start lining Heinlein readers against a wall....

    I'm going to watch All Watched Over this afternoon because I'm delaying a trip to a botanical garden until the weather isn't threatening to piss it down while I'm reading under a tree.
  8.  (9891.19)
    Like the saying goes... there's 2 kinds of libertarian - the kind that don't realise Heinlein wrote fiction and the kind that don't realise Rand wrote fiction.
  9.  (9891.20)
    Just watched it...not great. Somewhat disappointingly vague and forced, occasionally.

    Yeah, that's how I feel about All Watched Over. It's somewhere above a Michael Moore documentary. As Cat said, when he's right he's right, but also not saying anything new. On the basis of the first episode, it's a polemic, and not a documentary. I'd like to see more evidence being presented in All Watched Over instead of hip-hop montages and awkwardly edited interviews. It would be boring, not a piece of infotainment, instead it would be accurate.