The Party's Over: How the West Went Bust

Still wondering how the world got to where it is today? The West is still mired in the aftermath of the global financial crisis; particularly in Europe where the financial crisis went from a banking crisis to a sovereign debt crisis as governments had to bail out banks, and as years of fiscal irresponsibility came home to roost. But it's not just hard times, it's also changing times, in China it's almost like the opposite was happening; the government saw surpluses, people saved a high proportion of their income, and as a result today China is apparently in a much better financial position than the old strongholds in Europe. This documentary looks at some of these imbalances and more. For UK viewers see it on the BBC website.

In the teeth of the worst financial crisis in living memory, BBC business editor Robert Peston examines how the world got to this point and how the collossal imbalances in the global economy have left the UK in need of a radical economic overhaul. In this first of two programmes Peston examines how, thirty years ago, momentous decisions were taken which shaped the world we live in today. In China, Deng Xiao Ping opened up the country to foreign capitalists; in Britain and America, the free market revolution was unleashed by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. The Party's Over compares the lives of workers in a Chinese company with their co-workers in Britain. Robert Peston interviews bankers, politicians and economists, and concludes that the boom we enjoyed before the crash was based on an illusion, and that the world's economy is now so unbalanced that in the West we face a sobering wake-up call.

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