Worldwide Debt, Audit Committees, Choppers.

English: The poster of the Greek documentary &...
English: The poster of the Greek documentary “Debtocracy”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posted October 5, 2013

by Jerry Alatalo

Debtocracy is a powerful documentary from 2011 which contains a number of very important messages. Those who made the effort to produce the film met the goals they set out to accomplish. Documentary is defined as a film or TV program based on factual subjects. Debtocracy’s creators set out to portray events experienced by nations across the world who have come to possess a collective debt.  This would include a majority of the world’s countries.

Let me first say that I discovered the film at a fellow blogger’s site, and expressions of gratitude are in order. Thank you to the producers of this vitally important, profound documentary, those men and women who have posted the film on YouTube with a number of language subtitles, and bloggers like Skywanderer and others who have put the film out there for even more people around the world.

One can get carried away at times when recommending books, films, television or radio programs. How often do we hear about this film that you “must see” and “everybody has to read this book”? We are all aware of Hollywood movie advertisements with the quotes of famous and not-so-famous critics, exclaiming that the film is “the greatest”, “powerful”, and “intense”.

Does Debtocracy rise to reach the definition of “must see”? There are many and varied interpretations from men and women of the term “must see”. For this writer Debtocracy easily reaches the definition and should be required viewing and seen by as many people on this Earth as possible. In the world of documentary films there are many that deserve praise and share realities which increase the awareness of viewers. Doc films have been created which focus on a variety of issues that are of  importance for humanity.

For example one can find docs on the world of dog shows, pro football, presidential elections, food production, musical performances, oceans and environmental change, and on and on. The subjects and issues dealt with by filmmakers run the gamut of human experience. Must see films are those which deal with subjects and issues which are important for pretty much the entire human race.

Debtocracy has message(s) important for the entire human race.

The film begins by describing the “MDs of the International Monetary Fund“. These “MDs” arrive at the capitols of in-debt nations when there is a problem with repayment of those debts. These financial doctors advise the “patient” that in order to cure the “disease” the nation’s leaders must postpone tax cuts, “tidy up your house”, enact cuts to health, education, infrastructure improvements, consider selling natural resources at a low-cost to earn export revenue to pay debt, and privatize your state-owned industries.

Most people have become aware of “austerity” programs devised by international financial institutions’ representatives and conveyed to each nation to pay off their debts owed to the IMF, World Bank and other nations. It has come to the point where finance industry actions are available which gamble that certain nation-states will go bankrupt. Finance industry employees can make bets, and make large amounts of money in the process, that a nation will go under. Finance corporations can take actions which assures a nation’s failure and at the same time place bets that the failure will happen.

The film then describes the history of events which led nations to become indebted, assure immense corporate profits, but destroy the financial condition of the state/government. Those events are classified as policies of a neoliberal, or upper-class, variety. Those policies have led to a situation where the owners of capital benefit mightily at the expense of most average citizens in many countries and regions.

One of the commentators describes the International Monetary Fund as a “zombie” institution, which nobody can kill, applying vicious and terrifying austerity after it comes to a nation’s “rescue”. The imposing of neoliberal/upper-class policies in the European Union and elsewhere have a tragic impact on people’s lives, while benefitting banks and large corporations.

Next the film describes the events which occurred in Argentina that led to the leader of that country entering a chopper and flying away from an enraged citizenry. Throughout the film  a number of insightful comments are given about harsh austerity measures, the numbers of hungry and homeless, elders having to decide between food or medicine, and lowered life expectancy statistics from every IMF “supported” nation.

The viewer learns that capitalism resorts to violence and harsh action(s) to deal with crises, popular dissent and dissatisfaction. And that the neoliberal/upper-class have no desire or intent to pay for crises they have created. The example which comes to mind is the total lack of prosecutions of those who engaged in massive frauds and corruption causing the worldwide economic crisis begun in 2008, lasting to this day.

Debtocracy then explains what is termed “odious debt”. For debt to become considered odious, and therefore illegitimate, it must:

be the result of governments loan(s) entered into without the knowledge of the people

involve loans where the borrower and lender were fully aware that the loans did not benefit the people

involve borrowers and lenders’ awareness that the loan(s) benefit(ted) special interests

God only knows the total amount of corrupt activity through history between government officials, representatives of banks, and representatives of multinational corporations. Until there is a worldwide creation of national audit committees to determine/identify odious debt attributable to bribery, special favors, cronyism, under-the-table deals and other likewise corrupt activities, only God will know.

The film describes the US government’s successful attempt to eliminate the country of Iraq’s odious debt after the war in that country, removing responsibility from the Iraqi people to repay debts incurred by Saddam Hussein. The film goes on to describe the “sweeping under the rug” news of the odious debt write-off which tried to keep the “can of worms”, opened through the action, out of the view of other nations who would try to replicate and remove their own responsibility for odious/illegitimate debt repayment.

The film then describes the election of Ecuador’s President Correa, who studied economics and removed IMF  and World Bank representatives from any dealings/transactions in his country’s central bank. Mr. Correa fully understands the concept of odious debt and acted in the best interests of the people of Equador, joining Iceland as strong examples for nations around the world.

An important part of the effort in Equador to show and remove the responsibility for that country’s odious/illegitimate debt was the formation of an independent “audit committee” that spent fourteen months going through every one of Equador’s  debt contracts with the IMF, World Bank, and other nations. What that committee discovered, and was then conveyed to the people, was that a large percentage of Equador’s debt was indeed odious and illegitimate.

Debtocracy conveys a very important message to humanity.

Every nation and its people on Earth must establish an “account committee” to identify and prove that part of their debt which is odious and therefore illegitimate. As mentioned, at this point only God knows. Men and women around this world can guess at the total amount of their countries’ odious debt. That debt which was incurred through government loans without the knowledge of the citizens, where government borrowers as well as lenders knew the loans were not in the best interest of the people, and the borrowers and lenders knew the loan proceeds were used to benefit special interests.

One can guess that a very large portion of debt which all nations, large and small, around the world are facing is indeed odious and illegitimate-no longer the responsibility of the people to repay. Until every debt contract is thoroughly examined, the true extent of odious debt will remain unknown by all.

Until then, only God will know.



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