There are some astonishing statistics and facts in Daniel Edelstyn and Hilary Powell’s documentary Bank Job, not least that over 80% of UK politicians don’t actually know how money comes into being.
The aim of the Edelstyn’s is quite simple: to raise enough money to be able to purchase a million pound of debt in their local area, Walthamstow, and then simply pay it off. The cost of £1.2 million in debt? £20,000.
They purchased a total of £1.2 million of payday debt from the local area for just £20,000 and then simply wrote it off, writing to everyone to let them know their debts were cleared.
They raised the money by creating their own bank notes, known as The Gary, The Saira, The Steve and The Tracey, in five, ten, 20 and 50 denominations. These bank notes were sold as art and raised some £40,000. Half of which went to local causes, the people on the notes, with the remainder being used to purchase the debt.
They visit some like-minded people in New York where this type of thing has already been going on, mainly to pay off the crippling healthcare bills people can end up with in the US.
We also meet some financiers who explain why the existing system is flawed, why it doesn’t work and that there are alternatives that could work, that wouldn’t rely on debt.
You see, whilst some of you may roll your eyes and think, “I’m not in debt, I don’t get in debt, this doesn’t affect me”, you are sadly mistaken.
We all live in the same world and, when a lot of people are unable to pay off their debts, we see the sort of crash we got in 2008 and that affected everyone.
The economy revolves around debt, relies on it. If everyone in the UK suddenly paid off all of their debt, the financial system as it currently stands would likely collapse. There are a line of people waiting to buy your debt from whoever you originally take it out with.
Bank Job is a good documentary, there’s an element of fun with plenty of seriousness. If I had a criticism it would be that it’s quite hectic and doesn’t take the time to completely explain everything in layman’s terms. Parts of it they do, others can still take a bit of thinking about.
Still, Bank Job highlights something that needs to be widely known, should be widely known and does a good, fun job of bringing it to our attention.