The programme explains how we changed our attitude to risk, learnt to live with debt and, above all, how governments stepped back from regulating any of it. At the heart of the story is Alan Greenspan, who for 20 years was one of the most powerful people in the world. In October 2008, weeks after the catastrophic collapse of Lehman Brothers, the man whose ideas influenced the world admitted he might have been 'partially' wrong.
In the autumn of 2007, Matthew Lee, a worried accounting executive at Lehman Brothers, began to notice serious financial irregularities in the company's practices. When he refused to approve tens of billions of dollars' worth of suspicious transactions, he was fired. Six months later, Lehman Brothers sank with 631 billion dollars of debt. Lee, who has since emerged as a crucial figure in Lehman's downfall, and other whistleblowers recount their personal stories of fraud and deception that went right to the top of the bank. Ultimately, they paid the price for trying to expose the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis.
Part two explores how those in power in post-war America used Freud's ideas about the unconscious mind to try and control the masses. Politicians and planners came to believe Freud's underlying premise that deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires.
This is the story of how the world's leading economy sinks into the Great Depression, with repercussions that allow Hitler to rise to power. Eventually, President Franklin D. Roosevelt brings hope and optimism back into the hearts of the US population.