25 Aug 2009

The Open University and the BBC take a unique look behind the scenes of the 2008 financial crash in The Love of Money

Lehman Brothers

Lehman Brothers

The Love of Money: three one hour factual programmes starting on 10 September at 9pm on BBC2 marks the near anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which precipitated the global recession. The Open University and the BBC Factual have collaborated to produce this definitive behind the scenes account of what happened, why and how generations to come will be affected by its legacy.

The Love of Money charts how the contagion spread from sub-prime mortgages sold and re-packaged in -America to Wall Street, the City of London and then throughout the entire global economic system. The first programme explores the collapse of Lehman Brothers whose fall precipitated the global recession. The series contains the views of the main players including Alan Greenspan, Timothy Geithner, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling who weave a complex tale into an informative and insightful programme about one of the most dramatic moments in economic and financial history.

Leslie Budd, Reader in Social Enterprise, The Open University Business School said: “Karl Marx said that history repeated itself the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce. Well tragedy and farce were at play in the case of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers.

Love and money; tragedy and farce all seem parts of the financial dance that is no longer merry. This new series may just teach us some new steps as it provides a broad and deeper understanding of the causes and future implications of the crash."

The second programme features a major interview with Alan Greenspan and puts the current economic crisis in the context of the last two decades of history. We examine the confidence underpinning two decades of unsustainable boom. It shows how we changed our attitude to risk as consumers borrowed more, banks lent more and governments stepped back from directly regulating the financial system.

The third programme tells the story of how close the world came to the brink of a total economic collapse last autumn. For the first time the key players tell how they battled to prevent a new Great Depression and looks at what this has cost the world. Even today few realise how close we came to a collapse of the very foundation of the modern world. The story is told by the people who took the decisions: Gordon Brown, Brazil’s President Lula, finance ministers including America’s Tim Geithner, Alistair Darling, Germany’s Peer Steinbruck, France’s Christine Lagarde, and Brian Lenihan from Ireland.

Alan Shipman, Lecturer in Economics, The Open University said: “Having already reported the business-model flaws and financial engineering mistakes that contributed to crisis, the BBC and Open University now add a crucial human element to the story. Starting with embattled Lehman Brothers’ chief executive Richard Fuld, and moving through the central bankers and financial regulators to the top political decision makers, key players get a chance to explain how an apparently familiar problem in one bank turned into an escalating global crisis.”

The Love of Money is a co-production between BBC Factual and The Open University starting on the 10 September on BBC 2 at 9pm.

The Love of Money is executive produced by Dominic Crossley-Holland and series produced by Michael Tuft.

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