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A Look at the European Financial Crisis


DebtocracyLast Saturday [August 13], the Progressive Film Club in Dublin held a screening of the documentary Debtocracy, a Greek film about the European banking and financial crisis.

Debtocracy looks at the origins of the Greek and wider European crisis in terms of the development of capitalism under the auspices of the European Union. It charts the development of the EU as an economic system wherein the ‘core’ countries such as Germany and France have used their considerable political power and influence to benefit greatly at the expense of the working class peoples of the ‘peripheral’ countries that include those countries that make up the PIIGS, i.e. Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. What clearly emerges from the economic and political overview provided by this film is the fact that the EU has been very good indeed for the ruling political elites and big-business interests in Europe.

The film also looks at the experience of a number of countries where the IMF has intervened. The cases of Argentina and Ecuador clearly show, in the former, how the IMF is used to deepen the penetration of neo-liberal policy and further the interests of the oligarchy, and in the latter, how a principled government can actually resist this plan and use the fact of intervention as a means to mobilise people against the excesses of capitalism.

What this film also does particularly well is explore the concept of ‘odious debt’. It looks at the historical precedent that exists for countries to repudiate debt that has been accumulated by the political and ruling classes in the name of the people but in contrary to their interests.

The issues tackled in Debtocracy make it a ‘must see’ film for all of those people who wish to better understand the nature of the crisis prone and contradiction-ridden economic and political system that is capitalism.


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