Critique of “Money Heist”: a bizarre political ideology

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Money theft (Netflix Image / Trailer via YouTube)

Instead of acknowledging the root cause of Spain’s economic woes, the series advocates a left-wing revolution against a democratic state.

Om On September 3, Netflix released the first part of the fifth and final season of La casa de papel (Money theft), one of the streaming service’s most popular shows of all time. It’s a gripping drama of a group of thieves carrying out nearly impossible heists of the heavily fortified Royal Spanish Mint (seasons 1-2) and the Bank of Spain (seasons 3-5), meticulously planned. by a brilliant brain, known as “The Professor,” interspersed with intense relationship drama. However, the problematic political ideology behind the series is generally ignored by viewers and critics. The main song sung throughout the series by the characters after the teacher teaches them is the anti-fascist hymn “Bella Ciao”, a song by the Italian partisans, who led the struggle against Nazi Germany and the Mussolini regime in World War II Thanks to the popularity of the series, “Bella Ciao” was listed in many countries in 2018.

A central theme is that thieves are the modern reincarnation of the Italian anti-fascist resistance. The idea of ​​thieves as “the resistance” becomes more glaring in Season 3, which begins after one of the thieves is captured on the tropical island where he resides after the successful heist of the Royal Mint and is sent to the foreigner to be tortured instead of being sent back to Spain to be tried. The professor specifically declares war on the system, and unlike the first two seasons, where there are “good guys” among the police, in season 3 the police are portrayed as vile torturers, and we are introduced to César Gandía, the head of security at the Bank of Spain, who is a creepy racist. In season 4, we learn that the most virulent former hostage in his hatred of robbers, Arturo, is, in fact, a rapist.

Throughout the series, the popularity of the robbers with the public is emphasized. We see large crowds in Madrid dressed as the thieves and protesting on their behalf, and the thieves are further increasing their popularity by raining over 100 million euros from an airship on the streets of Madrid. The professor proudly notes that Salvador Dalí’s mask, worn by robbers during robberies, has become a symbol of resistance around the world and that their actions have inspired protests against corruption in Brazil and marches for human rights. women in several countries. Their supporters have packed stadiums in France and Saudi Arabia, and protesters are even seen at the G-20 summit in Hamburg dressed in Dalí masks waving the Antifa flag.

Considering the heroism of thieves and the wickedness of those opposed to them, one would have thought that Mussolini had resurrected and declared himself Emperor for life over all of Spain. But alas, Spain today is a pluralist democracy which guarantees the rights of all its citizens. For example, even the left-wing NGO Freedom House, which has assessed political rights and freedom since 1941 on a scale of zero to 100, gives Spain a full score in response to questions such as “different segments of the population. the population (including ethnic, ethnic, religious, gender, LGBT and other relevant groups) have all political rights and electoral opportunities ”, and if the Spanish government“ acts with openness and transparency ”, guarantees freedom of religion, protects citizens against domestic violence and ensures that NGOs and workers unions have the freedom to organize. In addition, he notes that women are well represented in politics, holding 43% and 38% of seats in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate respectively.

Over the first four seasons, the show’s great political paradox is too obvious to ignore: the evil “system” that thieves resist is the only reason they’ve managed to stay alive and carry out. their breaks. A dictatorial regime is said to have stormed the Royal Mint and killed all thieves with no regard for civilian victims, and the professor is using his mastery of the Spanish legal code to his advantage. In season 5, however, the notion of the Spanish state as a state constrained by law disappears altogether, as Colonel Tamayo, one of the show’s main antagonists, calls on the military to take over. assault the Bank of Spain and is very explicit that it could not ‘Never mind that the hostages are killed.

Likewise, the show’s creators lack even a rudimentary understanding of economics as they describe seizing the Royal Mint to print nearly $ 1 billion as a victimless crime that is no different. quantitative easing. As the Professor argues in Season 2, Episode 8:

But what we do is right for you when others do. In 2011, the European Central Bank made 171 billion euros out of nowhere. . . just like we do, but bigger. 185 billion in 2012. 145 billion euros in 2013. Do you know where all this money went? To the banks. Straight from the factory to the pockets of the rich. Has anyone called the European Central Bank a thief? “Injections of liquidity,” they called it. And they pulled him out of nowhere, Raquel. Out of nowhere.

This is insane. If everyone starts printing money and dropping it from airships, then the money will have no value and Spain will experience Venezuela’s hyperinflation. In addition, quantitative easing has actually been very damaging to banks because its aim is to lower long-term interest rates, and banks are making money on the spread between short-term and short-term rates. long-term.

There is, however, one aspect of Spanish politics which La casa de papel gets right. The Spanish public, and in particular the Spanish youth, have reason to be disillusioned. Youth unemployment in Spain was 35.1% in July 2021 and 31.4% before the pandemic, compared to 9.2% in the United States in July 2021 and 8.3% before the pandemic. Total unemployment in Spain was 14.3% in July 2021 and 13.9% before the pandemic compared to 5.4% in the United States in July 2021 and 3.5% before the pandemic. The obvious solution to these problems, which La casa de papel unsurprisingly ignored is economic liberalization. Spain is known for its rigid labor laws, which stifle entrepreneurship, discourage hiring and create a two-tier labor market, and its exaggerated state, with a tax-to-GDP ratio of 34.6% against 24.5% for the United States. The OECD ranks employment flexibility in the US as better than any EU or OECD country, with a score of 92.4 out of 100, while Spain is ranked 26th with a score of 60.8 out of 100. Moreover, while the global left presents itself as the defender of immigrants, the immigrant unemployment rate is 18.9% in Spain, compared to 3.1% in the United States. Onerous sales tax of 16 percent, compared to an average of 6.6 percent in the United States. Even American progressives tend to oppose high sales taxes because they are regressive.

The jobs crisis in Spain demonstrates many of the fundamental problems of the European Social Democratic economic model, but instead of acknowledging the root cause of Spain’s difficulties, the series advocates an Antifa-style revolution. Indeed, the ultimate irony of the series is that while it claims to draw inspiration from 20th-century European history by portraying thieves as modern-day Italian supporters, its creators failed to pull it off. one of the most important lessons of the last century of European history, and which can be easily gleaned by comparing the unemployment rates of young people and of Spanish and American immigrants: the statist economic ideology denies the opportunity to the most vulnerable of the society.


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