That Film About Money

The film director James Schamus, who is a D&S subscriber and supporter, wrote us saying he “thought you’d like to see some work inspired by what you do”–two short films about money that are part of the New York Times‘s “We the Economy” series (I haven’t seen the other short films in the series, but I’m guessing the others are not as good as James’s!). Here they are:


Great to see D&S pals Rick Wolff, Barbara Garson, and Suresh Naidu interviewed here!

Here is James’s director’s statement from the “We the Economy” website:


“I have a conflicted relationship both with the topic of ‘the economy’ and with the premise of the series as a whole. Indeed, the concept of the ‘economy,’ even its constitution as an object of scientific study, as a thing, is relatively recent, and to me smells of an ideological maneuver wherein we replace what are essentially political relations with a mystifying body of social science ‘knowledge’ to be managed and manipulated by financial/political elites.

The premise of WE THE ECONOMY is to make otherwise complex, obscure, or academic ideas approachable and understandable by laymen, thus empowering us to participate more knowledgeably in public debates about policy etc. That’s a laudable premise I’m proud to be associated with. But the danger of it is that it already assumes that what is being made digestible – ‘economics’ — is somehow an ‘objective’ object of knowledge, rather than being itself already, in the very way it packages its concepts and ideas, a field of political decision and social action — one which helps naturalize the grotesque domination of people and natural resources of our current system.

My few minutes’ contribution to the endeavor, in the classic form of an ‘educational video,’ goes for a couple of takeaways: primarily, that no one who watches my films will ever again be able to think of money and banks as ‘natural’ objects, but rather will see them as sites of profound and enduring social and political struggles — struggles that everyone has a right to participate in.”

We’re thrilled to have been part of his inspiration, and that he’s contributing to the struggle.

–Chris Sturr

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