Watched this doc on Netflix over the weekend. It makes a lot of poignant points, and the sequence at the beginning showing the fixed Monopoly game is especially good as an analogy. If anything, the documentary falls short because it doesn’t even show the full extent of the true wealth gap. Do people like the Rothschilds even register on the wealth radar anymore? Did they suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke? No, it’s almost like they got so rich that their vast empire is now broken up into a conglomerate of smaller business empires.
Anyhow, the documentary does do a decent job nonetheless at showing how such a small group of people really controls all the wealth, and how these people are in fact in control of the banking sector, as well as the legislature and it’s influence over things like the tax code via massive lobbying efforts, etc. I suppose the thing that just strikes me about it all, is that it simply shows how much of this stuff is absolutely not the stuff of “conspiracy theory” anymore. There is a ridiculous amount of public evidence to demonstrably show that America is not necessarily the “land of opportunity” that it is still be heralded as. In fact, one could argue that perhaps it never was, at least not in the way we typically think, when we are able to take a step back and get a reminder of just how much “wealth” is out there.
Of course, the point where I start to veer wildly from the perspective of such films is when it starts leaning into the familiar right/left partisan politics angle. It starts talking about the Koch dynasty and their financial contributions to the “tea party movement” and “smaller government” political ideology, etc. Basically at that point it turns into a smear against “Libertarian” views, most of which I’d probably have a lot of agreement with at least on a certain level, but then again, the film does a pretty good job of showing how in lot of ways Libertarianism is twisted in order to simply defend the “rights” of Billionaires to be Billionaires. The film actually starts talking about Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” and how Republican Paul Ryan is basically an Ayn Rand devotee…
Overall it is merely a continuation of the broader polarized narrative that I am increasingly trying to extricate myself from altogether. This is a fairly difficult thing to do, in many ways, since there are valid points to be made on each “side”, yet in the end, I find it to be the only worthwhile direction, because the more you examine all these issues, the more you eventually start to realize that it is really not a Republican vs. Democrat issue, nor a Capitalist vs. Socialist debate, or any of the ways we have been conditioned to approach the matter through some faulty, dichotomized lens. It isn’t even about “rich vs. poor”, at least not from the perspective of the Bible as Truth, because for those seeking the Kingdom of Heaven, we must remember that we are not to seek the type of riches of which “moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal”…
What happened in 2008 was real, and it was criminal, and it did impact the lives of millions of people around the world. Our family was being supported by employment in the Real Estate sector at the time, Commercial Escrow specifically. We got out just before the commercial sector followed the residential into the mud, and six months later the national company which had looked rock solid for so many years was suddenly belly up, it’s stock sold for pennies to a former competitor, who gobbled up the few remaining assets/talent and jettisoned the leftovers.
Economics is really such a bizarre thing, and even though I have been able to slowly understand it more over the years, I never really get used to it’s surreal nature, the ways that immaterial concepts and figures and contracts eventually manifest themselves in the real world, impacting things like putting real food on our plates, real gas in our cars, and real roofs over our heads. It’s not wrong, or sinful, to recognize the basic needs we all have, and even the desire to enjoy “luxuries”, like vacation or travel, or a nice home, etc. But in the end, I am always both convicted, and encouraged, every single time I read the words of Jesus, when He says;
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”