The London Paper – 27 Feb 2009
When I heard there was a film out with bankers as the baddies I rubbed my hands with glee and virtually sprinted to a press screening last week. ‘The International’ (released today in the UK) is the first film on banking since the credit crunch began and is likely to be one of the few beneficiaries of today’s current financial woes. Indeed, its star Clive Owen proudly called it ‘an incredibly timely movie’.
The film essentially suggests that the majority of the world’s woes are the direct result of a global conspiracy engineered by a bunch of ruthless bankers who are just as likely to assassinate you as refuse you an overdraft. These nasty toe-rags like to incite wars with the overall ambition of increasing a country’s debt, which is the ultimate source of their power. The bank behind it all, the IBBC, is referred to as ‘the very embodiment of capitalism’ and the film’s hero learns that ‘everyone is involved’ in its hideous scheming, from the CIA to Hezbollah.
Blimey. What a plot! Whilst I’m usually not one to defend bankers, blaming them for every political ill in the world seems an adolescent cop-out – especially since there’s a history of dodgy folk using such scapegoats to justify their tyranny. The Nazis claimed Jewish bankers lost the Germans the First World War and wannabe American fascists constantly justify their violent behaviour because there exists a ‘global banking plot’. Certain paranoid nutbags even believe that a shady organisation led by bankers called ‘The New World Order’ has been running the whole shebang for many decades through official organisations like The World Bank and the IMF.
And whilst some conspiracies are undoubtedly valid, anything on a major political scale would have so many people involved that it would be unlikely to remain unexposed for long. That’s why I’m more a believer in the ‘cock-up’ theory of history and why I’m generally sceptical about claims that huge organisations are running/ruining our lives.
People have been fighting wars and enslaving each other long before bankers emerged from the slime. As you know, I’m no fan of many aspects of the financial world, but an unquestioning belief in conspiracy theories annoys me because it devolves the rest of us of responsibility and encourages people not to bother trying to change the system because the odds are so stacked against us. Owen’s character alludes to this when he asks if we’re just ‘supposed to give up and accept this is the way of the world.’ I hope not.