When watching Katie Teague’s nonfiction film essay on economics, it is often hard to determine whether she is trying to offer a sincere consideration on how to reanimate the stalled global economy or whether she is offering a mockumentary where absurd statements are stoically served for the merriment of the viewers.
The film insists that the obsession with money only picked up steam after the Industrial Revolution, when everyone abandoned their self-sufficient farms to work in urban factories. Teague states that the current economic miasma can be traced squarely to Ronald Reagan’s deregulation policies – never mind that most responsible economists peg today’s problems on Clinton-era mistakes, including the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. And Teague claims that climate control is solely an economic problem, thanks to unidentified greedy entities abusing a scarcity of natural resources.
But how does Teague propose fixing this mess? According to her film, the future lays in so-called “complementary currencies” that offer a mix of bartering and cross-promotional synergy – a pair of Iowa twentysomethings offering this type of scheme in their small town is presented as an example of this answer in action. Teague also gives a thumbs-up to shopping at farmers’ markets and embracing solar energy – without mentioning the significant costs attached to those worthy endeavors.
Still, the film’s clueless narrative and naïve understanding of history, politics and economics has a ridiculous charm that makes it an amusing distraction – sort of like Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room” for MBA students.