Financial Crises and Socio-Economic Outlook in Three Documentaries

By Alpaslan Pasaoglu /
Feb 12, 2022
Financial Crises and Socio-Economic Outlook in Three Documentaries

1- Requiem for the American Dream (2015)

Activist, thinker, historian, linguist Noam Chomsky describes the socioeconomic landscape of the USA; Co-directed and scripted by Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott, this impressive documentary is also Chomsky's last long interview due to his advancing age.

The ideas that Chomsky systematically addressed in the documentary were compiled in 2017 in the book  Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power . This text, which we can translate as the 10 Principles of Wealth and Power Concentration , reveals that the elite and powerful minority, who thinks of their own interests, as discussed in the documentary, actually confines the American society to a wealth cycle with axioms that seem like idealistic principles.

According to Chomsky, this cycle manifests in 10 different ways:

  1. Undermining democracy
  2. Shaping Ideologies, Ideas
  3. Redesigning and redesigning the economic system
  4. Shifting the financial burden from plutonomy to precariat by creating inequalities between economic classes through the tax system
  5. To prevent social solidarity with social security policies
  6. In an economic crisis that will occur in the country, to take so-called financial measures to ensure the flow of wealth in the hands of the precariat under the name of the bailout package.
  7. Manipulating elections through regulators and capital
  8. Dragging the society into misconsumption through advertisements
  9. To prevent or control organization and unionization (unionized workers in the US private sector only 7% of total workers)
  10. Marginalizing different segments of society


2- Princes of the Yen (2014)

Princes of the Yen , an earlier project of Michael Oswald, which attracted all the attention in the United Kingdom with his impressive documentary The Spider's Web: Britain's Second Empire (2017), takes place in 20th century Japan. Based on the work of Professor Richard Werner, who has important publications on banking and development policies, the documentary discusses the role and power of Central Banks in changing the economic, political and social structure of a country.

In the documentary, especially in the financial collapse of 1980s Japan, important traces of how the country's economy was deliberately sabotaged by the Central Bank can be seen. Contrary to popular belief, Japan's economy, which was destroyed after the Second World War, did not develop with a free market economic system. The system, which the government of the period called "window guidance", which foresees the concentration of capital flow on certain sectors, was a development program contrary to neo-classical economic models. But this program has enabled Japan to become the world's second largest economy, albeit fragile. The documentary shows that Japan's economy, which seems strong, actually does not have a very solid foundation. The shift of the excess money circulating in the country to the construction sector, as a result of the large amount of credit pumped through the banks with the guidance of the Central Bank, is seen as the main reason for the huge real estate crisis in the 1980s. For example, interesting nuances such as the value of the gardens located around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, together with the maintenance costs, almost correspond to the financial value of the US state of California at that time, are also discussed. In the documentary, you can also see the story of the 84% depreciation of real estate prices, 80% of the stock market, and the collapse of 212,000 companies during the crisis that Japan went through between 1990 and 2003.


3- Laboratory Greece: The Crisis That Changed Our Lives (2019)

Another documentary on financial crises is Laboratory Greece: The Crisis That Changed Our Lives (2019). October 1944 is a date when the insurgents who wanted to establish a democratic government in Greece were not welcomed by Winston Churchill, when British troops invaded the country, arrested the insurgents, tried to eliminate them and tried to restore King George II to the throne. Italian director Jacopo Brogi, with his documentary Laboratory Greece , deals with the beginning of the development/development process of Greece, which extends to the present, with this date. After Churchill's failure, then-US President Truman brings hundreds of Greek intelligence officers to the United States to be trained by the CIA's premier OSS (Office of Strategic Services). The functionality of this intelligence network, which provided the establishment of the Greek dictatorship that would continue to exist between 1967-74, is also revealed.

Brogi in the documentary makes comparisons that the military, intelligence and US-UK domination of the country after World War II continues today with economic devices such as the IMF and the European Central Bank. The documentary examines how the worldwide economic crisis of 2008 manifested in Greece. It examines how the debt repayment program, which the IMF, ECB and European Commission, which is likened to the troika, implemented on Greece and which will cause a major austerity program in the country, was implemented and the political corruption that brought the situation to this point. It is sadly seen that the financial equivalent of the Troika's loans to Greece to repay its debts corresponds to almost all Greek public assets, the privatization of public services, the closure of hospitals and schools, and the reduction of pensions and other unemployment benefits. In addition, we witness the mass brain drain that increased as a result of the unemployment rate exceeding 25% throughout the country in this process, and the tragic stories of thousands of people who died due to malnutrition and lack of treatment opportunities, and the homeless.


For different monitoring recommendations, see

  • Even The Rain (dir: Icíar Bollaín, 2010)
  • The Four Horsemen (dir: Ross Ashcroft, 2012)
  • The Big Short (dir: Adam McKay, 2015)
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