Saturday, 30 January 2016

Discussion Point: The Big Short


So, thanks to a good mate of mine I recently had the pleasure of checking out the The Big Short. An excellent film, for all the reasons which makes an excellent film just that.

Films like this extend the conversation beyond “the ball game”, to quote Steve Carell, not to mention various other luxuries we as occupants of the Western World are afforded.

I’m not going to get into the nuts and bolts of The Big Short. I don’t often frequent in watching films, although I know I should be doing better on that front. The fact that Ryan Gosling is a mighty fine actor; the fact that the film provides snappy dialogue and a good balance between cutting-edge and raw cinematography. Other sites and blogs will provide far more articulate commentary on the subject.

This post is mainly to present some observations after watching The Big Short. You might think it’s complete and utter bullshit. Maybe not, however the important thing is that people are having the conversation. Here are some points to consider: 
  • What’s to stop this mass catastrophe from happening again? The government bailed out these crooks with tax payers’ money. What’s stopping them from doing it again? I’d imagine bankers’ egos would be a similar size to their bank balances, so I wouldn’t put it past a collective group of educated criminals pulling a similar stunt.
  • Governments don’t run countries in the Western World; banks do. They always have and always will, which leads me to believe that a similar stunt could happen in the near future. If not by the same methods, but certainly the same outcome. 
  • Speaking of government’s, Barack Obama’s omission from the wrath is interesting. After all, Goldman Sachs was a major contributor to his campaign fund. For more information on that, check this out. Although speculative, I’d hedge my bets and say they are still lining his pockets in some way, shape, or form. I wouldn’t put it past the other major banks doing something similar. 
  • While I say it’s interesting that the President of the United States of America escapes any verbal fury, it wasn’t Adam McKay’s and Charles Randolph’s intention to draw upon this facet in the long line of greed and that’s fair enough. They remained on their artistic course and didn’t contaminate the core of the story by railroading it. However, by the same token it almost feels like the elephant in the room. It’s okay to call a democratic leader out. It really is and while there are a lot of shy conservatives about, there’s just as many shy leftists afraid to call out the man who wrapped a package of "hope" and sold it to the world, as false as it is now. In fact, it always was. Whichever your political persuasion, the left are certainly not immune from parasitic tendencies and suffice to say Obama is in the long line of parasites known as politicians. In fact, the cynic in me says that this is somewhat of an oxymoron. What was it that Philip Kerr’s character, Bernie Gunther, once said? “Politicians are more crooked than the crooks”. Very true. 
  • Although a platitude, it’s worth pointing out. There’s too much money in the world. Don’t agree? Well how about this. In terms of the world’s population, the richest 1 per cent own 50 per cent of the world’s total wealth. Still don’t agree? You must be wealthy. I am a believer that money should be distributed fairly throughout all social demographics. And before you ask: no, I’m not a socialist. I just believe in fairness. The problem here, however, is the world ostensibly hinges on this perpetuating ideology that there must be the rich and there must be the poor. If this simplistic view held by mass culture can’t change, then taking money from the global economy won’t affect the poor, simply because they haven’t got – or had - any to begin with. Which begs the question, why should the rich prosper from endless amounts of the stuff? 1 per cent of the world’s population own 50 per cent of the world’s total wealth. I know I’m repeating myself, but that’s worrying as much as it is staggering. Obviously this idea won’t materialise, though, because like the mortgage scam so succinctly exposed during The Big Short, banks and governments will always find a way for the rich to prosper, just like they will find a way to crush any spirit those of the lower socio-economic and working class still have. In fact, by this point, another film will probably be made on the very subject. 
  • There’s a lot of talk during the film about the possibility and probability of things. Well, I’d say the probability of Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling et al voting for Obama back in 2009 is above that 5 per cent mark Steve Carell pointed out during the film. Paradox? Welcome to the life we live, folks; one convoluted headfuck where the contradictions actually contradict themselves.

 By Simon K.