“Plain Old Greed”, Exandas new documentary film, is an “economic thriller” or, rather, a social horror movie which is timelier than ever. Through the saddening stories of those who lose their homes because of the savage bank raid emerges the famous “housing crisis” which torments the US economy and causes huge damage at a global level. However, what is more important is the unveiling of the logic of modern globalized economy and its “secret mechanisms”. In other words, the money market's new way of making money… out of thin air!
In December 2001, in Buenos Aires, great crowds of people are heading towards the historic square Plaza de Mayo. Argentina, once amongst the richest economies in the world, has gone bankrupt. The government has resigned and Argentina's president, Fernando de la Rua, flees from the presidential residency in a helicopter, amidst a storm of enraged people clashing with the police, breaking banks, looting super markets and shouting “Out with the lot of them!” The 2001 social explosion marked the end of a neoliberal economic model which lasted 10 years and left a toll of 35 deaths (murdered by the police and the private guards of the banks), 30,000 collateral damages (suicides, heart and brain attacks) and approximately 20,000,000 (over half the population) submerged in poverty and misery.
Almost 10 years later, the Greek documentary filmmaker Yorgos Avgeropoulos, who had been working in Argentina in 2001-2002 during the crisis, returns for a new autopsy of the country's economy and political and social situation.
It was an unprecedented occurrence in world history. Nowhere and never in well-governed democratic states, had the public broadcaster been silenced in such a manner that was characterized as “autocratic” and “undemocratic”.
Within five hours, on the evening of June 11, 2013, the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras turned off the switches of ERT, Greece’s public broadcaster, after 75 years of continuous operation. Both TV and radio frequencies fell silent, making screens broadcast black and the FM to buzz.
The closure of ERT was an unheard-of political act that shocked Greek citizens bringing back memories from the dark period of the dictatorship. It also caused a fierce international outrage from all around the world.
Why did the public broadcaster have to die?
For almost two decades, Ireland had been a global model of neoliberal development. A test lab to legitimize its application, with the country's cheap and specialized labor force as the guinea pig. The government, banks and constructors were intoxicated by the nectar of money, dragging along with them the reflexes of the entire social tissue. The “Celtic Tiger”, as the Irish economy was named, was openhandedly promising prosperity to a society that has historically suffered from poverty, immigration and unemployment. And it was doing just fine, as it seemed!
However, after years of impressive growth rates, the country has suddenly and roughly landed in the arms of the European support mechanism and the IMF. It now finds itself in the same position as Greece and Portugal, albeit for different reasons which, nevertheless, caused the same result: from being at the top, a true model to be followed, Ireland suddenly woke up on the brink of bankruptcy.
In 2008, Iceland was confronted with an unprecedented economic disaster. The country's three banks collapsed, dragging with them to ruin the country's whole social, economic and political life.
Four years later, in 2012, Iceland has begun to show signs of recovery. Unemployment rates are declining and growth rates have reached approximately a 2,5%. However, in order to reach this positive outcome, some quite unorthodox methods were implemented. The measures taken were completely different from what the E.U. and the IMF enforce on member states of the Eurozone that suffer from the effects of the recession. Many times, these handlings brought Iceland up against the International Community and the markets. Nowadays, even the IMF admits that the different methods used in handling the crisis in Iceland have come into fruition. How did the Vikings' descendants achieve these results?