“THE BIG SHORT” (2015) managed to make entertaining drama out of the 2007-08 financial crisis, and win a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar to boot. Its director, Adam McKay, used humour and celebrity cameos to illustrate some of the more arcane financial jargon that might otherwise have bewildered audiences. Now he has brought an eight-part series of a similar nature to Amazon, called “This Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy”.
Despite the title, it is pretty clear from the first three programmes of the series (the ones The Economist has seen) that this is not a comprehensive look at the world economy. There is barely a mention of issues like technology, inequality and unemployment, trade flows, monetary policy and the like. Instead, this is a quirky set of snapshots, which generate some laughs and allow for some attractive cinematography. Kal Penn, the engaging and likeable presenter, travels the world from London to Washington, from Thailand to Cyprus. Perhaps his most memorable visit is to a dildo factory, which inevitably results in a panoply of penis puns. As with “The Big Short”, some famous figures explain some dull-sounding issues such as rent-seeking and futures markets.