I've just finished watching episode one of PBS's magnificent documentary based on the book by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, and I have to say that I can't recommend it highly enough; I find it difficult to imagine that any television documentary could give a better overview of the history of economic thinking in the 20th century than this.
It's very tempting for those who adhere to left-wing political values to imagine that the victories of politicians like Thatcher and Reagan owed everything to ignorance and stupidity on the part of voters, but I think that this documentary should prove quite an eye-opener in explaining why it was the British and American electorates finally bought into what these apostles of Hayek had to say, having seen the traditional left-wing formula of high taxes, strong unions, heavy regulation, government ownership and Keynesian demand-management hit the wall. There are many people for whom facts are nothing more than inconveniences standing in the way of their daydreams, but for those who don't buy into the left's own version of the "and a pony" fallacy, this documentary will hopefully act to sow a seed of doubt about long held orthodoxies, and perhaps even lead the viewers to search out more material that doesn't gibe with what they've always thought they knew. Just because a policy is implemented to benefit "the working poor" doesn't mean it actually does anything of the sort, any more than the practice of trepanation had the intended beneficial effect on its victims.
In summary, let me close by saying this: if you believe yourself to be a person of the left, and you think yourself a person with a mind receptive to empirical evidence, by all means take the time to watch this documentary. PBS is no right-wing propaganda outfit, and the treatment the topic is given is scrupulously fair, with quite a few prominent left-leaning economists and politicians given room to express their views - and some candidly admitting where their own side lost the argument. At this juncture in history, there can be no disputing that markets work, and that the best way to ensure prosperity for the average person is to provide an environment in which personal initiative receives the appropriate incentives.