In his international bestseller In Defense of Global Capitalism, published by the Cato Institute back in 2003, senior fellow Johan Norberg helped change the course of the globalization debate at a time when anti-free-trade protests were pervasive. Since then, this "glamorous young pro-capitalist," as the Washington Post called him, has become the youngest ever board member of the Mont Pelerin Society. He’s won numerous awards for his trailblazing work. And he’s released a series of documentaries on economic development, each more insightful than the last.
In Power to the People, which premiered on public television stations in January, Norberg investigates the challenges involved in supplying power to a developing and growing world. He travels from Morocco — where the bazaars in Marrakesh, having functioned for eons without modern conveniences, now use computers, cell phones, and credit cards — to the United States — where cities such as New York now consume far less energy per capita than the rest of the country.
"The highest standard of living the world has ever known has been built on an ever increasing use of energy — and there is no end in sight," he says. Throughout his journey, Norberg explores everything from the benefits of natural gas to the panic surrounding global warming, ultimately offering a unique perspective on the emerging energy landscape.
This comes on the heels of his 2013 documentary, Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives, which profiled inspiring entrepreneurs from around the globe, demonstrating how the rise in economic liberty in recent decades has led to improvements in the well-being of hundreds of millions of people. In Free or Equal, from 2011, Norberg retraces Milton Friedman’s steps in the path-breaking 1980 documentary Free to Choose to see what actually happened in those places his ideas helped transform.
Later this year Norberg’s documentary India Awakes will be released, which will look at how globalization and economic liberalization are unlocking the human potential of India’s poor and moving millions of people out of poverty. Last September, Norberg began shooting in Paris for a documentary called Markets, Morality, and Adam Smith.