Friday, April 10, 2009

"I.O.U.S.A" (Documentary) (2008) - Movie Review

Economy is not the strong hold when it comes to me in investments, stocks and bonds as I believe few others do too. Like the regular citizens of different age groups interviewed in the film “I.O.U.S.A” of the economic terms and condition of the country, I would not be more knowledgeable than them. I would rather go down below the curve and the very informative and properly used graphical representation of the debt history and the bleak future the film puts in, I was still muddled in this big wheel of finance. But it is simple math. You do not have money, you do not spend. Debt is an addiction and that is clear when the situation of the country in financial trauma is explained.

My dad on the other hand is a smart man. He was careful of debt and when he had one, he made sure to settle it. Most of those basic principles stuck with me, though I am not smart. I am lethargic and immovable. The drive to not have debt has got me decently in the current times so far. Despite my crazy spending on music, movies and travel, it has always been a method of spend what I have. That might be a indirect reason for not buying or owning anything. I spent tons of time in getting a new car and crisscrossing the possibilities and fatalities of having debt. Seeing “I.O.U.S.A”, it scares me a lot to buy anything big, which makes the “committing” items in the unstable conditions a threatening. And I am thinking of buying a small house which worries me a lot now.

What the film does though is to try to explain this big mess bred and brought up early on from the founding times of United States of America. Going through wars through recession through everything else, the current state is how a nation got hooked on debt. A debt which never got repaid and when you owe big and owe as a nation, apparently you can get by for a long long time. The long long time though has ended and it is now current and the next generation getting hit directly on their head with the hammer of the mistakes done for so long. Now understanding the problems requires a film with limited release not reaching the wide audiences and then at the end though even they cannot suggest a solution. Of course they cannot because it comes to the responsibility of each individual.

But what does finance means to one amongst the personal and emotional needs? A lot of course to fulfill those. This huge and complex system got framed and for so many years and decades we have eluded that there are people above taking care even if they were doing the job badly. As long as we are not visibly affected, we can use the offer we are proposed. Credit Cards, the magic of spending came in and it is indeed a great thing in terms of not carrying cash but it also encouraged the slow addiction. And then came lending money for houses and now people in the hopes of a lost future payment understand the irresponsibility of the establishment but more than that their own. Too late for regrets but not too late for the people in stands to sculpt a responsible economic cycle.

“I.O.U.S.A” is a film as passionate as “An Inconvenient Truth” was about its cause. This film though takes inventive steps to acknowledge that since this is not the favourite topic to talk about. Not because of “I told you so” subject but plainly it is boring. In this they separate the deficits the current US has and goes in a calculated depth one needs to know and not get drifted away by the details. It properly lays down that the country is spending more than what it gets, does not manufacture its own resources and of course the leadership has to be pin pointed. But stopping a war and regrouping with stimulus package in triggering this economy alone is not the solution and tells how much of a small percentage it addresses. With the film stating US in 8.7 trillion in national debt, the current figure shows 11.1 trillion. That is 2.4 trillion increase in such a short span of time.

If I talk numbers, then the film has done its purpose. This education on the history of the blunders, slow but definitely effective is something that needs to be followed in the day to day life in handling the currency. Talk whatever on the system, to exist in it there needs a particular form of contribution and responsibility owing to it. Either we do nothing and suffer the trend and more deadly pass it on to the next generation cussing us or do something personal, a little bit to it. “I.O.U.S.A” will educate, scare and point the finger at you to do something. The least is to act a little responsible when coming to spending.


Howard Roark said...

Should it be read as "Ayyo USA" for the financial mess it is in right now?!?


Ashok said...

That is a real good one Nagesh ! :-)