PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 November, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 November, 2002, 12:00am

Commanding Heights: The Battle For The World Economy - The Agony Of Reform

Pearl, 9.30pm

In the 20th century, most of the world's nations tried to create prosperity through government control of their economies - from the totalitarian central planning of the communist world, to democratic nations that tried to develop their economies by nationalising industries and protecting them from foreign competition. Yet in the 1980s, those policies began to fail dramatically. The fall of the Berlin Wall unleashed an era of dramatic and turbulent economic reform around the world: in Russia and the Eastern bloc nations; in democracies such as India that had embraced central planning; and in Latin American countries, which had developed their own brand of government economic control.

The Agony Of Reform tells the story of how those economies failed and how new leaders embraced the idea of 'shock therapy': a rapid conversion to free-market capitalism. The programme focuses on Russia, Poland, India, Bolivia and Chile as they endured rapid change, dealing with new freedoms and the dangers of privatisation, deregulation and free-wheeling competition.