“Commanding Heights” Documentary by Yergin and Stanislaw


The changes that the process of globalization brought into the world and, specifically, into its economic realm, were quite frightening to most American citizens in the beginning. Indicating that an entirely new way of building relationships and, particularly, the concept of cross-cultural collaboration, were about to be introduced into every aspect of their lives created quite a strain within society. Therefore, the documentary by Yergin and Stanislaw (1998), which explores the nature of the present economic relationships and the development of the U.S. market offers a particularly interesting perspective. By incorporating historical analysis into the overview, the film allows charting the further path for U.S. economic development.


The idea of addressing the threats of global economy as opposed to solely lauding it without accounting for the challenges that its application will entail is unlikely to lead to strictly positive outcomes, which is why the documentary is so crucial for the further understanding of the economic development of the U.S. While the current state of affairs indicates that the future development will be geared toward progress and innovation, the risks associated with the prevention of crises and the development of accurate forecasts remain present in the current globalized context (Mankiw, 2019). Therefore, opportunities for developing both public and private sectors, as well as expanding business relationships with other states, should be defined as priorities for the U.S. economy.

Therefore, while being quite somber, the overall tone of the movie and the implied concept of focusing solely on the existing demand can be seen as quite outdated in the context of the contemporary global market. What the authors of the video pinpoint with extraordinary precision is the fact that the described change in economy observed currently on the global level would not have been attained without the revolution in ideas (Mankiw, 2019). The transformation of the market as the product of not only the immediate response to the changes in shifting demand but also a reasonable, well thought-out solution to the economic conundrum that the U.S. was facing at the time is a legitimate and important perspective.

In addition, the sentiment concerning the socialist ideas being viewed as the source of justice and the development of a society based on the ideas of equality is quite easy to relate to, as the video in question shows. The lack of equity is particularly relatable for the members of contemporary society, where the rift created by unequal wealth distribution and the continuous marginalization of minority groups remains a problem concurrent with the increase in the influence of global corporation (Mankiw, 2019)s. However, due to the futile efforts of the previous generations and the ultimate disappointment in the Socialist ideas as an idealistic perception of economic relationships, the specified philosophy is presently rendered unsuitable for the American community, particularly, the economic relationships within it. Therefore, the aspirations expressed by people at the dawn of the development of trade-based relationships in the U.S. appear to be particularly naïve, yet they allow understanding the key premises based on which the current principles of economic interactions are built.


The narrative of the movie ties strongly into the principles of the Keynesian economy. The underlying narrative of the movie, which suggests that the specified economic perspective has proven to be the dominant and the most promising framework, suggests that the focus on the market demand should be placed at the foundation of the economic undertakings of organizations within a state (Mankiw, 2019). However, the specified perspective is quite debatable. Although it might work at the time of crisis, it is unlikely to serve as the premise for a long-term market development since it denies organizations the opportunity to promote innovativeness. As a result, the creation of an original product and, therefore, the further progress within a business setting becomes impossible, causing another spiral of economic recession.

In addition, the movie raises the theme of the connectivity between economics and politics, emphasizing the mutual effects that the two areas have on each other. Specifically, the links between economic recession and a political crisis have been spotted in the documentary, revealing that drastic changes in the political context define the further development of the economy (Mankiw, 2019). In this regard, the concept of inflation as the inevitable effect of decreasing economy is addressed in the film in substantial detail. Namely, the documentary examines the economic depression that Germany and, ultimately, the entire world began to face after the end of the WWII. As the narrator explains, with the Soviet Union beginning to increase its grip on the occupied parts of Germany and reinforcing its political and economic power, Europe and the U.S. started facing the increasing threat of the Socialist regime affecting the development of the global trade relationships.

Lessons Learned

The authors of the documentary have shown quite explicitly that the promotion of globalization ideas and the need for the increase in the efficacy of international trade are instrumental in the development of strong economy. Another important lesson that the film has taught is the necessity to be prepared for a crisis and developing the tools for addressing it as promptly and consistently as possible. By outlining the connection between economic growth and a plethora of other factors tied to the political changes, sociocultural alterations, and an array of other influences that define economic development, the documentary indicated that preparedness toward a crisis is instrumental for building a viable economy. For this reason, a substantial number of resources needs to be spent on the reinforcement of the economic well-being of a state.

Likewise, the link between economy and a range of other factors, which has only been amplified with the rise in the globalization pace, has pointed to the need to collect data related to changes in the specified domains meticulously and incorporate it into the analysis for the key economic trends and future forecasts accordingly. Thus, changes in the economic landscape can be predicted with a substantial amount for precision. Overall, the movie can be seen as an indirect support for the promotion of globalization as the only viable solution to sustainable economy and the further economic development. Although the current trends of overconsumption have produced a tremendously negative effect on the well-being of the population on a global scale, the further enhancement of globalization and the support for global cooperation must be deemed as a necessity.


By incorporating key economic theories into the analysis of the main trends observed in the American and global economy since the dawn of the 20th century, the documentary “Commanding Heights” has provided a very accurate and detailed analysis of the current situation. Furthermore, the authors have managed to incorporate forecasts for the future changes to be expected in the global context in the observable future. Providing a sharp insight into the historical context of the globalization movement and explaining the main reasons for the previous approaches toward boosting the economy to fail, the documentary sheds light in the factors that contribute to economic growth.


Mankiw, G. (2019). Principles of economics (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Yergin, D., & Stanislaw, J. (1998). The commanding heights. Web.