“Boom Bust Boom”is at its best when illustrating some of history’s worst economic meltdowns. It has informative and fun depictions of the 1637 tulip mania in the Netherlands, the crash of the South Sea Company in early 18th-century Britain, and the 19th-century speculation in (and fantastic crash of) British railroad stock. It also describes how the heights of speculation in the 1920s led to the lows of the Great Depression, and, finally, the hard lessons of the 2008 mortgage crisis. Every time is the same: Euphoria over rising prices leads to speculation, which ends with a crash.
Humans are not rational, the movie tells us. We are hardwired, from the time of our primate ancestors, to have certain biases and blind spots. When it comes to capitalism, those blind spots lead to financial crises. And when someone sees the issue clearly, they are often disregarded until long after it’s too late.
The problem is, the film doesn’t take the next step and ask why policymakers and economists continue to think the same way and follow the same patterns from one crisis to another.
Terry Jones presents Boom Bust Boom. The result of a meeting between writer, director, historian and Python Terry Jones and economics professor and entrepreneur Theo Kocken. Co-written by Jones and Kocken and featuring John Cusack, Nobel Prize winners Daniel Kahneman, Robert J. Shiller and Paul Krugman, the film is part of a global movement to change the economic system through education to protect the world from boom and bust. A unique look at why economic crashes happen, Boom Bust Boom