2012, Economics  -   89 Comments
Ratings: 7.82/10 from 45 users.

CatastroikaThe creators of Debtocracy analyze the shifting of state assets to private hands. They travel round the world gathering data on privatization in developed countries and search for clues on the day after Greece’s massive privatization program.

The documentary uncovers the forthcoming results of the current sell-off of the Greek public assets, demanded in order to face the country’s enormous sovereign debt.

Turning to the examples of London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow and Rome, Catastroika predicts what will happen, if the model imposed in these areas is imported in a country under international financial tutelage.

Slavoj Zizek, Naomi Klein, Luis Sepulveda, Ken Loach and Greg Palast talk about the austerity measures, the Greek government as well as the attack against Democracy on Europe, after the general spreading of the financial crisis.

Academics and specialists like Dani Rodrik, Alex Callinicos, Ben Fine, Costas Douzinas, Dean Baker and Aditya Chakrabortty present unknown aspects of the privatization programs in Greece and abroad.

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89 Comments / User Reviews

  1. jaydeepee

    All privatisation is simply the transfer of public assets and infrastructure into private pockets at a minimal price.A failed ideology, Thatcher.

    1. ευριπιδης

      I love that failed ideology very much. Affluence, progress and all other hellish things in the eyes some lesser endowed

    2. commonsenseforcommongoodcom

      You refer to the lesser endowed whose affluence has been appropriated and transferred to the 1%, obviously.

    3. ευριπιδης

      one can say that chess is an unfair game as it favours the brighter player, Dwell on it.

    4. commonsenseforcommongoodcom

      Your analogy is a disconnect, unless you believe that lying, cheating, theft and murder are all traits and indicators of intelligence. By contrast, I believe that the less bright have to resort to such character weaknesses because they aren't able to flourish if abiding the norms and rules of society at large. Let it wrap around your brain and marinate, instead of trying to open your mind to new possibilities. The outcome might be the same, under only optimal results. Although, I do admire your phraseology.

    5. ευριπιδης

      when you win your cause and the "Day of YOUR Judgement" cometh remind me to wear my underpants on my head as a mark of honour.

    6. commonsenseforcommongoodcom

      This "cause" against the "baser" aspects of human nature has no end. It requires constant vigilance to harness the more social parts of human nature into agreeable society and civilization. I take no pride of victory in the necessary effort, much like wiping my ass when necessary each day.

    7. Dridstar

      Good points ;)

    8. Daniel Covington

      Indeed, it is an ideology that is so false that the world runs on it.

    9. commonsenseforcommongoodcom

      To the contrary, it "is so false that the world (fails) on it." Think "mortgage crisis," international banking crisis," "too big to fail investment bank" collapses, insurance company insolvencies, Enrons, AIGs, on and on... Why you have come out of the -wordwork- to spin this issue at this late date is alarming. I'm looking over my financial shoulder as I type, for whatever you might be here greasing the road for.

  2. Katinka Comrac

    @ Nathan:
    Naomi Klein doesn't say "corny liberal", but "core neoliberal", and this is technically correct.

    Wikipedia's definition of neoliberalism:
    Neoliberalism is a political philosophy whose advocates support economic liberalization, free trade and open markets, privatization, deregulation, and decreasing the size of the public sector while increasing the role of the private sector in modern society."

    So it has nothing to do with the political/moral liberalism associated with the Democratic Party in the U.S..

    David Graeber comments on the term in his book "The Democracy Project":
    "In most of the world, in fact, people talk about America as the home of a certain philosophy of political life, which involves, among other things, that we are basically economic beings: that democracy *is* the market, that the creation of an ever-growing world of consumer abundance is the only measure of national success.
    In most parts of the world this has come to be known as 'neoliberalism', and it is seen as one philosophy among many, and its merits are a matter of public debate.
    In America, we never really use the word.
    We can only speak about such matters through propaganda terms: 'freedom', 'the free market', 'free trade', 'free enterprise', 'the American way of life'."

    Hope this helps :-)

    1. Michael Jay Burns

      the term "neo-liberal" is the hi-jacking of an ideological brand by those directly opposed to it. "Neo-Conservative" became "neo liberal" when the former lost all credibility and a re-labeling was needed. It is simply the nom de jure of fascism

  3. Nathan (aka) yhwhzson

    I am puzzled or more so suspicious of this Naomi Klein. Because at 7:50 of this documentary she makes a very bizarre statement that "the corny LIBERAL policy of privatization and deregulation, cuts to social spending often accompanied by increases in defense spending...

    Maybe she made a HUGE mistake in speaking! But these are conservative policies. REMEMBER small government! Well privatization and deregulation, is in the words of that Presidential actor Deregulation Reg's famous quote "government (regulation) is the problem", was the master of deregulation. Deregulation, or more simply, wronging a right is a conservative policy. Not that I give a damn about liberal or conservative. They both are fruit from the same poisonous tree. But for the sake of getting at least which snake is which right let us not try and deregulate history!

    So I don't know if she made a mistake or just purposely tried to make an ass out of the people.
    But I will hand this to her, now that I have corrected her statement. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. "CIA DIRECTOR" Bush accelerated the privatization and deregulation knowing full well that...

    in the words of Naomi Klein ...these policies were first imposed under dictatorships!

    If I were anyone out there I would be very cognizant of this Klein or should I say "Klown woman"!

    1. Daniel Covington

      Those policies were considered liberal in the late 1700's.

  4. Terry Beaton

    American Health Care is privatized. Compared to other developed countries it is terribly inefficient and expensive, (and getting worse all the time). When profits are the goal, how can public good ever be a priority? Imagine the moon being owned by Exxon. Or Elections being brought to you by Coca-Cola.

    1. Daniel Covington

      The American health care industry is distorted by massive government intervention in the form of Medicare and Medicaid, in addition to market distorting influences imposed on the insurance industry.

  5. Lovro Šari? Kora?evi?

    I had to watch it on YouTube because queen Elizabeth kept crashing it on DailyM.

  6. Daniel Covington

    In case you are paying attention, the global financial crisis was caused by government, which is PUBLIC. The Greeks in this video are whining about how they paid for everything and now it is being privatised. That is because they did not pay BONDHOLDERS, WHO LENT THEM THE MONEY IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!! Beware of the propaganda in this video. Privatization is the only path forward and the true path to individual freedom. The best part of this documentary was the quote from Thucydides. Either stay silent, or fight. Fight as a consumer, with your money. Fight as a shareholder, with your voting rights. Fight as a producer, with your products. Economics 101.

    1. commonsenseforcommongoodcom

      Bulls*it! The government you reference is corporate pretending to be "PUBLIC." The "bonds" you reference are merely certificates of corporate theft which they are attempting to hold the public responsible for. That debt was never authorized by the "PUBLIC" nor spent for the "PUBLIC'S" benefit, therefore it is not legitimately "PUBLIC" debt. Let the corporations, the BANKING FRAUDSTERS pay off those debts which they ultimately generated and exclusively benefitted from. Economics 101, 102 & 103...

    2. Daniel Covington

      Greek citizens did, in fact, authorize the government bonds that were defaulted upon by the Greek government. The individuals that occupied government positions during the sale of those bonds were voted in by the public, therefore, the public indirectly authorized those bond sales. Greek debt was not built up to its maximum amount overnight, so there was plenty of time for voters to take action and remove the individuals in government responsible for indebting the country to that degree. Banks do not act as underwriters in a primary market government bond offering. Rather, they act as BUYERS, and will later decide whether or not to sell the bonds into the secondary market, or hold them to maturity. A private entity can try to get someone to buy bonds from the entity, but when a government sells a bond, it indebts the taxpayers that are bound by law to fund the government. The banks that sold risky mortgage instruments would have never attempted to sell them without government debt guarantees. The main difference that you must understand is that governments have the force of law and private entities do not. Private entities will almost always attempt to payoff governments since most private entities usually have money at their disposal which is far in excess of most government provided salaries. Changing who is in government will almost never work, since the characteristic of humans to give into temptation almost never changes. The only logical decision is to weaken the lawful power of governments through the ballot box. Goldman Sachs never stole a dime from me (arguable since they are a large, powerful corporation and surely take advantage of tax strategies, amongst other things, that cost me money) until they used the force of law through the US government to buy their assets and recapitalize their balance sheet in 2008. The point is, humans, by their nature, are greedy, and freedom allows the greed of one person to counterbalance the greed of another.

    3. commonsenseforcommongoodcom

      Learned and misdirected citizen, you cite as though Greek elected officials were more responsive to the direct needs, wills and desires of the Greek people who elected them than U.S. elected officials have been since our country's founding. U.S. Government, by design and limited entitlement, is to be the collective face, voice and body of the public, and if legitimately structured so, it can not be too big or powerful. How can the people make too great of an effort to do for themselves collectively, what no one of them can do singularly?

      The problem is the eternally corruptible humankind which populate government, (which you adroitly refer to), who nourish a cancerous tradition of treasonous betrayal of the public for the proverbial "40 pieces of (corporate/special interest) silver." It remains a problem due to lack of sufficient means of holding legislators accountable to the voting public. Not voting a corrupt politician back into office after they already have sold the public down the river of rape, pillage, death and destruction, is hardly sufficient remedy for the type of treason being referred to. Such offenders of public trust deserve the harshest penalties available to the people, the death penalty.

      When banks and Wall Street, otherwise, control government, it's law writing and enforcement, to the disadvantage and loss of the country and it's citizens, what justification can be offered to criminal corporations? Certainly not "lawfulness," because that form of lawfulness doesn't derive from the will and intent of the voting public. Along with the Electoral College, most corporate will derived new legislation is typically the antithesis of the public's will and intent. Your post of articulate phrases mean nothing in this atmosphere of legislative treachery and government charades.

    4. Daniel Covington

      Obviously you miss the point. Crooks are everywhere. The difference between a crook sitting in the CEO's office of a company and a crook sitting in the White House is that the crook running a company has to entice me to buy a good or service, and the crook in the White House can use the force of law to make me do things. If you take away the force of law, you take away the power of the crooks in government. This is why freedom works and this is why capitalism works. If the United States abandons capitalism, other countries will exploit the opportunities we ignore and they will rise to the top.

    5. commonsenseforcommongoodcom

      Daniel, which form of capitalism are you contemplating someone wants to get rid of? Hopefully the NON free market type which has been practiced in the U.S. since Jefferson and Franklin went to France. Hopefully the "Nanny State" publicly subsidized with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, State Department, Pentagon, CIA and NSA form of capitalism? Because most of us the current corporate right rants about would like to see a free market capitalism established in the U.S. for the first time in history. Wouldn't you?

    6. Daniel Covington

      Perhaps I should have been more thorough. I too want free market capitalism, devoid of most laws restricting entrepreneurship. I simply refer to it as capitalism.

    7. commonsenseforcommongoodcom

      It seems inevitable, at best, that we must always tread that high wire between laws restricting entrepreneurship and laws restricting entrepreneurs from unethically or immorally preying on the consumer, the public sector as a whole, as well as the nation.

    8. Daniel Covington

      I place my faith in technology narrowing the gap between unethical behavior and exceptional behavior.

    9. commonsenseforcommongoodcom

      I don't understand what you mean relative to our prior posts, and the inability of technology to alter or modify human nature, legally.

      I can foresee how technology can be used ever more exceptionally unethical, however.

    10. Daniel Covington

      I think that, as technology improves, it takes less and less time to expose unethical behavior to consumers.

    11. Michael Jay Burns

      But as the grip of the financial elite on government becomes stronger and stronger
      punishment for those transgressions grows rarer and rarer.

      The Attorney General of the United States
      sent “hands off the big guys” emails to those whose job it is to enforce the law meant to protect the public from the abuses of the financial sector, as part of the “too big to jail” policy of the current administration (which is an extension of the polices of the two previous administrations).

      What you consistently ignore in your Ayn Rand delusional world-view is that money and power buys government and the system
      you adore (fascism) has poured so much money and power into the extreme top of the food chain that the government of this country has become their de facto surrogate.

    12. Michael Jay Burns

      The more leaned call it fascism.

    13. Michael Jay Burns

      The Greek economy was the victim of Goldman Sachs. Give up your attempt to curry the favor of the Masters. They don't want you, they can buy much smarter Quislings.

    14. Daniel Covington

      I would argue that the recent Greek economic disaster was due to collectivism.

    15. Michael Jay Burns

      Of course YOU would. And the transfer of pubic property into private hands that resulted was just a lucky break for the financial elite. Or perhaps you are of the "Elect" frame of mind and see divine intervention on behalf of the "Chosen" here. That way of thinking was very popular among the slave owners.

    16. Rocky Racoon

      The government took it's marching orders from Wall Street it was the democrat Rubin under Clinton who really threw a f87k into the works with the Modernization Act and Workfare....just two backward steps that helped the 1% increase their wealth beyond the comprehension of most human beings on this planet.

    17. Daniel Covington

      Yes, but those are LAWS, enacted by CONGRESS. Citigroup doesn't sign anything into law.

    18. tapp

      that is why we live in pure oligarchy, cause we think its democracy

  7. Mattias Falkenström

    Interesting documentary. I do think it is very well made, wonderfully shot und zu weiter... I do not agree with everything that is said however. I agree that privatization is not always a good thing and it is a very difficult undertaking that can lead to both improvements and problems. I agree with the film-maker to some extent here. However, I do believe that one hugely important reason to why Greece has these problems now and why other similar countries has these problems stems from the fact that they used to be communistic, exiting communism is not an easy thing to do and this will in theory lead to lot of the problems shown in the documentary. It does not explain all of the problems. But a lot of them. The other part is that you CANNOT, and I want to stress this point especially, you CANNOT spend money you don't have for a long time, this will lead to high debt, obviously! By the way... The whole world is funded by debt. Our civilization rely on debt. Without loans we would be stuck in the 17th century. Banking is the essence of having a developed country.

    Nevertheless. Good documentary. It raises some interesting questions. It made me think a bit. Maybe I sound like a neoliberal. Not sure what that is actually. I like Thatcher and Helmut Kohl, so maybe I am! But, I do believe in people and freedom and democracy. And I do think freedom will prevail! And I KNOW, the road to freedom does not go via communism!

    I love the end by the way. Great quote. Thanks for posting this film. I enjoyed it. Greetings from Sweden.

    1. tapp

      Greece used to be communistic ?!?!!?!

  8. Prachtbursche

    It's a fantastic documentary.

  9. kompikos

    Seconds before the documentary ended, I came up with a comment I wanted to post here after I had finished watching it and this was: "I dream of the day that Greece stops fighting in it's long history and finally rests and lives in tranquility". After watching the last seconds of the documentary I saw the quote of Thucydides spoken by the late Greek philosopher Cornelius Castoriades (1990): "You are either going to be free or tranquil". This explains precisely why Greeks are always fighting through history, never resting. We want to be and stay free. Freedom is the ultimate virtue pursued by this Nation and always has been, under ANY circumstances and against any TYPE of aggressor. I prefer it this way. We should keep fighting. Tranquility is way over-estimated and serves backstage manipulations.

  10. Robert Fairhurst

    A stunning documentary. Visually brilliant and perfectly argued. Very similar in style to The Shock Doctrine and I enjoyed it immensely. One slight irritation was the very occasional mistakes in the translation, but otherwise brilliant

  11. PaddySneacta

    Very interesting situation in Greece. Greece in the last century had been turned into a battle front during WW2. They were subjected to a Civil War between a left and right factions, which devasted the country. The American led 'Marshall Plan' and American supported 'Military Junta' created rapid econimic groth for nearly 30 years. Ironically the latter created the basis for corruption, many associate with Greece today.

    Greece are a relatively new country to democrary. The corrupt traditions of the junta has been something Greece has struggled to shrug off. An undiverse weak private sector, which relies heavily on Shipping and Tourism was a major reason the government, pumped so much into the public sector, making jobs more lucrative and accessible to the ordinary person. Major mistake. Thinking that the more they borrowed the more profitable they would become.The Greek government squanders all the profits, while a weakened private sector is crippled without much needed investment.The collapse of Lehman Brothers only meant one thing for Greece.

    Tax evasion has be rampant in Greece especially over the last 10 years, however a factor in their major economic problems, not the only one. Unlike the US, the majority of Greeces workforce pay tax at source. The problem here is that Greece has or had given the present circumstances a much bigger than average self employed sector than any other EU country. A huge tax free threshold along with that was basically like giving thousands of people an excuse to evade tax.. The Greece government has no one else to blame for this. This is why they have over 4000 major tax dodgers accounting for over 14bn in uncollected tax.

    Simply the privatisation of state assets is the only way Greece will regain any economic credibility in the future.

    1. Nicholas Shaw

      Greece are a relatively new country to democracy lol!

  12. Rainmaker

    IMF and Worldbank are like Death / Ripper that comes to a very sick person. Instead of fighting the IMF-Ripper, Greeks should understand why their country is sick: they should accept that they are responsible for what's going on with the country, assume the responsibility and try to change some very obvious and easy to fix things.

    We all know well what IMF and Worldbank are, so there is no point of discussing this. The only way to avoid to be ripped off by those banks is to avoid what Greece has created itself.

    If Greek continue blaming everyone else but themselves (other EU members, Euro, ECB, IMF, their government, etc.), the country will end up really bad, just because the cause of all this was avoided and the problems were not addressed.

  13. stepitup_onenotch

    There are alot of people out there who believe all they hear and read in mainstream media. How is it possible that we survived with public electricty, water and rail companies since the turn of the century if they were not well run organizations? These are national assets and national resources that belong to the people, in the first instance they were built with public money. What about the banks and insurance companies that have failed in the past 5 years? How is that for an example of private companies that are not managed properly and should maybe be nationalized?

    The Greek public service does not earn any more money than the other EU countries. There is no more tax evasion in Greece than there is in the USA for example. The problems in Greece and Ireland and Iceland are all due to an out of control finance sector. A sector that pervades every single western government in the form of economic advisors. And now western interests (led by the IMF and Worldbank) are circling like vultures to get their hands on anything not yet privatised in Greece.

    There is not one example anywhere in the world where the people of a country are better off after accepting the terms of the IMF or the Worldbank, not one example.

    We are so quick to bail out the banks, we do it over a week-end and we get grave presidential speeches about how important this is. But we won't bail out a country, we want to nail them to the wall and take all their assets and make them pay for generations. And the media just gets everyone on board with the program.

    1. Rainmaker

      Partially true, the problem is that you put everything in one pile, so the core subject is lost. ;)

      We are talking here about Greece, and it's not IMF, Worldbank or some other financial institution that did this to Greek economy. The country itself is not manufacturing much, and is barely exporting, it simply lost to the globalization and could not handle international competition. Just like Spain and Portugal that lost their competitive edges, but not in the way Greece did. Greece is an extreme example of how a developed country did not do much except playing with mortgages, real estate and financial markets. Those countries that abandoned their industries and nearly stopped manufacturing (GB, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece), while enjoying the easy money coming from the financial sector, took the full impact of the financial crisis. Just a few years ago England used to make fun of Germany for its heavy focus on manufacturing; it doesn't anymore.

      In addition to that, Greece managed to screw even the easiest industry it could get lots of money from - tourism. I've been to Greece twice for business, and saw with my own eyes how everything is "organized" there, all products and services overpriced, you can never get a receipt because very few companies do the bookkeeping and pay taxes, inadequate service, etc. etc. Turkey, the neighbor of Greece and its historical rival, is doing everything totally different, and is flooded with tourists, primarily from Europe. Italy and Spain are also good at this.

    2. Devon Griffiths

      Well, its not like Germany was particularly prescient ... West Germany went through the same de-industrialization schemes as Britain, at the same time. That is, just before the Wall came down. When it did, Germany inheirited East Germany and its heavily industrial economy and a highly educated industrial workforce; East Germany had been a very important centre of industry for the Soviet bloc.

      It wasn't because they thought manufacturing would be particularly important. East Germany didn't have any of the precursors for a "post-industrial" economy, so they had to keep the manufacturing sector going. Nothing more than a happy accident for Germany.

    3. Lucy Saw

      Actually Brazil. Brazil borrowed from the IMF and World Bank and were able to pay back their loans and came out ahead.

    4. Narain Jasodanand

      Why not cite the examples of Argentina, Russia in the 90's and recently Iceland who have all defaulted on their debts and are well -off now. Greece should refuse to honour its debts as it is the IMF, World Bank and others who pushed it to import, consume and waste money borrowed from these financial institutions.

    5. Leonardo Castellar

      Wrong! Brazil was only able to pay their loans when it changed from a neoliberal government to a interventionist government (happened in 2002). So, it was only able to pay IMF when it stopped following IMF policies...

    6. Devon Griffiths

      Indeed. As far as Greece goes, most of the explanations that have been advanced seem to simply try to rationalize their way out of the obvious: it was the result of speculation, pure and simple. The logic of the markets is not logic at all, any more than any other trend-based social process. Investors spread and hold certain fashions in their beliefs, like clothing going in and out of style. Greece and its policies became the equivalent of bell-bottoms or leg warmers.

      40 years ago, the exact same policies, the exact same fiscal situation, would have had investors flocking to Greece in droves.

      If you want to survive in today's world, you (and your policies) have to be ... well ... trendy to investors. It's that simple.

  14. Rainmaker

    What happens when you personally are almost broke and lose your job? You cut your spendings and expenses first and try to find ANY available job, right?! The same is for the whole country's economy.

    Greece should ambrace heavy austerity and slowly climb back with a minor help from outside, focus on what it is doing or can do well (e.g. agriculture, tourism), get agricultural subsidies from EU, etc. etc. It's a slow process, but it's safe, and at least does not involve selling out the whole country.

    Greece ,as we know it, is over, finished. Now, they have 2 solutions: (1) quit EUR, re-adopt drahma and slowly climb out of this mess and keep country intact; or (2) sell out the country, privatize all they can, take a bunch of more loans for no specific projects or repayment of old loans, etc.

    The second "solution" is less painful in the beginning, but will be fatal for country's future. Another Argentina, but in Europe.

  15. Rainmaker

    Yes, IMF and World bank are evil, but lets not forget that Greece started it all by itself by frivolously and carelessly living under Euro's umbrella, descending into corruption and financial fraud without any effort to resist whatsoever, Greek public sector enjyoing huge salaries and various benefits beyond limits of most other EUR countries, too low retirement age, high pensions, tax fraud, everyone avoiding paying taxes and the government not doing much to control the situation, the Greek government itself lying to other EU members and falsifying its financial records, the list can go on and on...

    In other words, it's Greece itself who is the biggest trouble-maker, they (every single Greek who "played along" and contributed) created all this mess, and it's they who should ACCEPT / ADMIT THIS FIRST and then try to deal with it. At the moment, everyone in Greece is blaming IMF, other EU members, Euro, the government, but never themselves. Yes, IMF is no good news, and evryone should stay away from it, but IMF and other international banks are not the core of the problem.

  16. ?????????? ????????

    This is an incredibly distorting account of the Greek situation and its causes. I really tried hard to find one or two representations of Greek reality through this piece of sheer propaganda. However, it is masterfully made and if I were myself a public servant or employed in a state-owned enterprise I would really feel even more compulsion and strength to fight to the end for my exhorbitant priviledges, my above average salary and my right to present myself to work whenever I feel, whithout any risk of punishment. The issue here is that this sort of brainwashing and fraudstery goes completely unanswered - the other (reality) side never being put forward firmly. This lack of conviction and spineless attitude of the pro-Europe political/social forces in Greece against the all-out brainwashing attack by a (kind of) lefty-like drachma-lovers will lead Greece to the tragic end.

  17. harry nutzack

    it seems to me to be stating the obvious, and yet no one appears to mention it, either in the film, or commentary by viewers. privatization CAN NOT bring lower cost to the end user. governments dont make profit, not honest ones anyway. so, in order for privatization to be economically viable for a corporation, at least 1 of the following must occur, and often many do: 1. prices must inflate. 2. services must be curtailed. 3. workers must take wage cuts for the same job. 4. workers must be laid off. 5. maintainence must be minimized. it doesnt matter what industry, it doesnt matter where geographically.if you add a mouth gobbling at the pie to the equation, it means less pie for all those previously dining. either an equivalent mouth must vacate the banquet, or everybody has to receive smaller portions. best case scenario is the public suffering due to the selloff is minimalized, with no actual benefit. for those who are about to say "but privatization ISNT about less cost to the end user", i take the position that in the grand scheme, it has to be. the impetus for privatization is the reduction of expenditure that is financed by the public. if your taxes go down 20 dollars, but your expenditure increases by 80, you would have been much better off paying 20 more in taxes and pushing the state service to a "break even" point. standard of living is maintained. employment rate is maintained. level and quality of service is maintained.
    deregulation is basically putting a sign that says "we welcome the morbidly obese" on the windows of an all you can eat buffet shop. if you charge 10 bucks for the buffet, and your average diner consumes 50 bucks of food, how long will you last in business without either charging more than 50 bucks, charging by the plate, or limiting the house definition of "all you can eat"? the global economic near collapse of a few years past was the direct result of deregulation of but a single industry (banking), in a single country (the usa). greed and cronyism drove that single example to very nearly bankrupt the planet, at least on paper.
    as a final thought, id like to point out that putting bankers in charge of state economies is akin to putting pedophiles in charge of your local orphanage.

    1. Ta Merian Moor

      Your analysis and deduction is thoroughly on point. Salute.

    2. c251063

      so your point is that the government CAN BE a better manager of assets than a private company. please, please, please, show me three examples of your claim and support them with sound numbers. please. let me make it easy for you. you cannot and will not, ever find such an instance. government management does not work. private management does work - and if not, at least it can fail. that's how things work. either a service/product is useful and you can turn a profit by properly managing the asset. or it is not useful and then no matter how you manage it - it must go bankrupt. the economic realities of this world do not care about your subjective assessment of specific prices.

    3. harry nutzack

      no, my point is a national asset has to be looked at with different criteria than a hotdog stand. an unprofitable public transportation system that allows workers to commute to profitable businesses that keep the economy rolling is an asset, a profitable one that has such strictly curtailed service as to be useless is a detriment. a publicly owned water company that operates in the red yet provides clean affordable water to ALL is an asset, one that turns a profit but raises prices to the point that folks find water unaffordable is a detriment. neither example includes the added drain on the economy of laid off former workers, nor the impact on the economy imposed by the lowered standard of living of those still employed, albeit with reduced wages. the ledger book of the individual entity has to be examined with a completely different mindset than that of a "standalone" like walmart.the red ink of the waterworks has to be perused with an eye on what black ink the red stimulates (if water costs twice as much, and the local breweries close shop, does the profitablity of the waterworks offset the loss in taxes from brewery and employees? does it offset the costs borne by the state in supporting those idled workers?) infrastructure is not "business", but rather it's a part of the basic overhead of civilized living.

    4. devlinwaugh

      well look at england ,all the national companies were sold to private investors.Now the English people not only have to subsidies the private companies but the service is worse and it costs more money.The next time you comment on anything please make sure you have facts not FICTION !!... c251063 you get the worst comment and uneducated award of the week.

    5. harry nutzack

      now, let's deal with "non infrastructure national assets", say a company that produces light bulbs, and one that produces automobiles and trucks. both companies are supplied with raw materials, and certain subassemblies by non state vendors. the autoworks is privatized, and the bean counters, executives, and designers of the corporate owners come to the conclusion that certain models in the product line show no chance of profitability, while others have enough demand in the market to turn a profit. the unprofitable models are cut, the potentially profitable ones are retained. the various plants of the autoworks are "streamlined" to produce the profitable, meaning closed lines in some plants, and some plants shuttered entirely.this, of course, forces a "ripple effect" to the private sector vendors. the steel vendor sees reduced demand for sheet metal, structural steel, and raw forgings DIRECTLY from the autoworks, but also a reduction in demand from the the vendor that provides bolts and screws. a further reduction in demand is seen across the gamut of subassemby vendors. thus, the INCREASE in profitability of the single entity causes a marked DECREASE in profitability across many entities, and thus causes a sum total negative impact on the economy, so not only are the "redundant" employees of the autoworks idled, but so are the newly "redundant" employees of all vendors. economically, the state LOSES. the same happens at the light bulb company, but it's bottom line is further impacted by the reduction of demand for bulbs at the autoworks. both privatized entities then further "ripple" LOSSES to cartage firms, the local energy supplier (whether state or privately run), construction/maintainence companies, the transportation system, and a host of other folks DIRECTLY involved in the processes of handling the daily demands of the companies and their employees. these losses all add up to an INDIRECT negative impact on completely unrelated industries. supermarkets see less demand, and this lowered demand stimulates drops in prices of food raw materials (but NOT shelf prices, as the markets must maintain profit). the providers of work clothing see a drop in demand. the providers of "luxury goods" see a marked drop in demand. the cycle will, of course, repeat, as there will be a reduced demand in the local economy for ALL products of both companies. though our 2 exemplar companies now show a profit, they drain the national economy much more than the state run entities ever did. please, with your vast statistical knowledge, and obviously superior financial intellect in comparison to mine, explain to me the benefit to the populace...

    6. Samuel Gallop

      Oh my !!!! Frankly I do not have the time.

      Instead read Ludwig Von Lachman's "Capital and its structure" and get a clue. Then you can work it out for yourself. Believe me, it is a fantastic feeling and you seem smart enough to do it, just momentarily misinformed.

      Should your understanding not improve I'll recommend something heavier. But for the moment let's see if we can spare the surgery.

    7. Samuel Gallop

      Refreshing to read someone with half a clue how things actually work.
      By actually work I do not mean "currently work as in today's status quo" but how economics ( which stems from moral studies ) can only work considering man's nature and ethical values.
      Good for you, c251063. At least you understand the world around you, although it won't make you happier.

    8. clernfimmel891

      How many of these public entities are you a fan of: the fire department in your locality; until 2000, your military; The Pentagon, the NSA, CIA, Homeland Security, the FBI ?

    9. Rainmaker

      Well, it's actually much more simple than that. :)

      First of all, "Governments don't make profit" is a totally absurd comment. ANY industry and company that sells products or offers services makes profit (or loss!). Another question is who are the stockholders and how the profit is managed.

      Second, privatization CAN bring lower costs to the end user. There are some basic rules and premises though:

      [1] Private sector is more efficient and generally better than state-owned companies ONLY if the private sector consists of several competing companies (the more the better!). This way, the competition will bring better products/services and lower prices.
      [2] A state-owned company is like as dictator: your fate depends on its mood and generosity. A private-owned monopolist is like a foreign invader: your fate depends on its mercy. Therefore, a state-owned monopolist is generally better than a private-owned monopolist, in that the first may feel socially responsible for its own citizens.
      [3] Sectors related to natural resources, public health and security, etc. should never be privatized.
      [4] Sectors that undergo privatization should still be carefully regulated by governments to ensure a competitive environment and basic social responsibility.

    10. Michael Jay Burns

      Are no not ignoring the "Public Utility Model" ?

  18. RJZ

    So this shows how when a government controlled sector is privatized, your chief government regulators pull favors for low purchase prices for financial relationships with the companys there selling two, get promised several years payments back for those favors,then the market takes a toll on consumers from these actions and eventually faces fact of there wounded consumer and change course to insure survival and the market balances out to true supply and demand. HAZA!

  19. thisismyspamemail

    What is the name of that song they keep playing in the background? Anyone know? I've grown addicted to it.

    1. curiouserncuriouser

      it's music created by the low-bap band "Active Member". I think it was created specifically for this documentary.

  20. KsDevil

    Yes, it's biased, but several examples were presented that showed privatization failed. The business world is not always better at running services then properly run government agencies. The trick is to insure the system has self interest controls from external forces.

    1. c251063

      No, you are completely wrong. A government agency can never be a better manager than a private company. If government was, indeed, a good manager of assets, soviet style socialism would be in full bloom just about now.

    2. devlinwaugh

      Education, Policing, Health care, Rail, Water, Gas, Electricity,These things should all be nationalized in every country around the world.A company that is built on profit should never have control over mans basics needs (life supporting).I am all in favor of privatization but only of products and services we have a choice to say YES or NO,you are naive to think that any corporation would run a life sustaining product supply in a humane way.I think your understanding of corporations is at best dreamy and giving away control over life sustaining basics to a greed machine that has shown thousands of times around the world hunger death slavery bad conditions don't concern them it is all about the profit not service.I say you sir are an id**t.

    3. Nicholas Shaw

      Just because the Soviets were bad at managing their economy does not imply that all governments are bad at managing their economies. If private companies are so good at it, why was there a global financial crisis at all? There are myriads of examples where privately-owned companies have been run into the ground by mismanagement. There are also examples where governments have made good decisions. There's nothing magical about private companies. They're all run by humans who have the capacity to make errors of judgement. Ha-Joon Chang deals with this in "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism". You're just repeating neo-liberal dogma without any kind of attempt at critical thinking.

  21. Tanzanos Eleytheros

    Excellent documentary and people should heed the warning against Neo Liberalism. Thanks once more !

  22. Pythus

    "[Greece] spent more money than it took in. After the switch to the euro, the traditionally strong Greek public sector saw wages rise to ultimately unsustainable levels. To compound this, the retirement age in the country is low (by Western standards) and benefits are generous"

    If you want to see the effects of nationalization just look at Venezuela. Chavez tanked the economy by nationalizing the oil companies and spending the money and social welfare. Sounds good in theory... however this resulted in rampant inflation.

    Not that I completely disagree with this documentary. But you cant have your cake and eat it too. This is the 21st century and what happens in Greece affects Europe, and what happens in Europe affects the entire world economy.

    Left or right, a means to the same end. Either way the power collects in the hands of the few.

  23. devlinwaugh

    in england they took the public services made them private sold off the assets run the companies into the ground now use tax payers money to subsidize the companies and take profit wile still loosing money.Greece should just say thank you for the loans see you later.The companies lost less money when public also the money went directly back into the economy rather than a billionaires offshore accounts,It is a scam and greece should just say bye bye.

    1. c251063

      Exactly. So, the companies weren't really privatized at all. They just went through certain accounting tricks to fool the public into believing that actual privatization was going on. When, in fact, certain individuals (friends of government) ripped large profits before the whole thing went bankrupt. And, voila, the government came to the rescue - taking over the losses and putting them on the public (taxpayers') tag. Have any of these "privatizing" friends of government ended up in jail? If not, why? Is the judiciary system in England also privatized the same way?

    2. devlinwaugh

      I will now teach you how the privatization plan works,A company buys the assets Lets say 1p.They take over the company and sell the land assets and other infrastructure that is possible leaving a bare bone system,they then take that money as profit.Secondly they then start to lower personal wages increasing prices and funneling wealth to the top branches of the company and share holders.This not only lowers the income of the country as most share holders live half way across the world but gives nothing in return.A national company is not run for profit (ie) hospitals,councils,police and so on Privatizing national companies has brought nothing but lower standards and more cost to the cost to the tax payer.As i said you rely need to look up your facts before you comment on such serious issues.I think you need to look at england it is a prime example of privatization and manipulation.

    3. Rainmaker

      You just don't get it, do you? The whole Greek economy has been in deep crisis, the government does not have ANY money to keep economy going. Without emergency loans, the country as a whole would have simply stopped functioning 1-2 years ago. That would mean the whole country descending into a complete anarchy and chaos, a complete collapse and isolation of country's economy from the rest of the world, millions of Greeks fleeing the country, self-declared Greek governments/regions/gangs/armies, etc. etc.

      Think well before posting.

  24. krinks

    Don't believe the hype. It goes back to the private control of currency and the oligarchy that builds up around these massive private profits. This film doesn't go there. What it talks about is akin to discussing a symptom but ignoring the disease.

    1. devlinwaugh

      i give you the * of the day,well done great comment 9/10.I deduct minus 1 as people who have never followed these issues need a base to start learning. The facts and this film gives a great start point for somebody trying to understand the basics of the global markets(the extremely rich 3%)in real numbers thats = 210 000 000.

  25. Earthwinger

    I just watched a couple of news specials on the BBC about Greece. Funny how the mainstream media doesn't talk very much about multi-nationals going in to asset strip the place, or the questions that have been raised about democracy....or should I say the lack of it.

    My thoughts are with the people of Greece.

  26. thenesteamonster

    this bullshit way of life can't end well, i have a feeling that only (ancient) aliens can stabilize the situation

    1. JaniMyshtari

      @ thenesteamonster:

      I seriously hope you're joking.

  27. dmxi

    the whole initiated 'economic crisis' has the sole purpose of privatizing bare citizen necessities to maximize profits beyond belief with the side effect of less civil it's greece,tomorrow spain & the day after that......???governments have no real influence against their governors,which are no longer the voters but the financiers!as long as we are passive, we deserve it !

  28. Fecioru Florin

    I waaaaas feeling kind of happy so this should take it down a notch... although, this is in greek, so the words won't resonate hauntingly in my head.