The Council on Foreign Relations was the setting last night for a sneak preview of the upcoming Koppel on Discovery series, “The People’s Republic of Capitalism.” The four one-hour specials, beginning July 9 at 10pmET, take a fascinating look at how China has developed from abject poverty to global economic powerhouse in just the last 30 years. It’s a trend that Koppel told the crowd could result in, “a colossal economic train wreck [with the U.S.] in the next five years.”
In the series you’ll meet an American architect who is rebuilding an entire city; an American manufacturer producing engines at a fraction of the cost of making them in the U.S.; and a 20-something Chinese fashion photographer who enjoys the good life, has become a Christian and unashamedly trusts the Communist central government.
The series was eight months in the making. “The good news,” Koppel joked, “is it’s four hours over four nights. It’s a lot to swallow at one time.”
Koppel’s right hand man of more than 15 years, Tom Bettag told TVNewser this is the best project he’s ever done, with a cautionary tale about what the team learned: “Your economic future, depends on their economic future,” Bettag said.
The series is dedicated to one of Koppel’s producers, John Alexander who volunteered to live in China as the team put the series together. Alexander died from heart failure last Decemeber believed to have been brought on by a virus. He was just 26.
Koppel arrived at the CFR reception from taping last night’s Daily Show, with his daughter’s dog in tow. More on that in a clip after the jump.
• Earlier: 5 questions for Ted Koppel…