Late Night Bollywood: Global Recession EditionPosted: January 31, 2011
Before I get to the movie masala… Three stories from today, which tell a larger story.
First, a follow-up to Dakinikat’s “Women of Egypt” thread the other day. Listen to this woman protester at Tahrir Square:
“Because we have had it, and it’s either they answer our demands or we’re not leaving this square no matter what.”
Second, Dean Baker, via Huffpo: “Debts Should be Honored, Except When the Money Is Owed to Working People“:
Let’s see if we can find a pattern here. When families take out a mortgage in the middle of a housing bubble, which may have been misrepresented at the time of sale, the homeowner has an obligation to repay the money to the bank. When people take on credit card debt, they absolutely have an obligation to repay the bank — even if it means changing the rules after the fact.
However, when the government signs a contract with workers, it doesn’t have to pay the workers’ pensions if it proves to be inconvenient. Of course, we may also throw in the fact that when the flood of bad mortgage loans issued by the banks threatened to push them into bankruptcy, the Treasury and the Fed give them trillions of dollars of loans at below market interest rates.
There certainly seems to be a pattern here. The story has nothing to do with preferences for the market or government intervention. The picture here is very simple: The rules get changed whenever it is necessary to make sure that money flows upward from ordinary workers to the rich. In 21st century America, upward redistribution seems to be the guiding principle.
And, last but not least, Think Progress: “Income Inequality In The U.S. Is Worse Than In Egypt“:
As Yasser El-Shimy, former diplomatic attaché at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrote in Foreign Policy, “income inequality has reached levels not before seen in Egypt’s modern history.”But Egypt still bests quite a few countries when it comes to income inequality, including the United States:
According to the CIA World Fact Book, the U.S. is ranked as the 42nd most unequal country in the world, with a Gini Coefficient of 45.
– Tunisia is ranked the 62nd most unequal country, with a Gini Coefficient of 40.
– Yemen is ranked 76th most unequal, with a Gini Coefficient of 37.7.
– And Egypt is ranked as the 90th most unequal country, with a Gini Coefficient of around 34.4.
On a less dreary note, here’s a clip I’ve been meaning to share with you from a Bollywood movie that came out a couple months ago. I tried everywhere to dig up a trailer or a smaller clip with subtitles to no avail. So below is the first 15 minutes or so of the movie. Some background — the movie is called Phas Gaye Re Obama (literally “Obama is Stuck“). It’s a comedy about a millionaire Indian American who loses everything in the recession and under threat of foreclosure goes back to India to sell some ancestral property for whatever bit of money he can. There, various gangsters, who are also struggling due to the recession and not being able to force money out of people who don’t have any, are waiting to kidnap him–as inspired by sitting in their village and watching Obama preach “Yes We Can.” They think they can get a pretty penny for the ransom as they have no clue the big millionaire businessman from America has come home with empty pockets. Hijinks ensue from there of course. If it all sounds zany, it is. I’m probably not explaining this in a way that will make complete sense unless you’ve seen the movie, so just see for yourself — once you click play, there should be a CC on the bottom bar with the volume and other controls — click on that CC for the subtitles!
The first 15 minutes:
If you’re really interested, you can follow from Part 1 to 2 to 3 etc. if you click over to youtube… here’s the end where poor millionaire and the gangsters have their happy ending and say their goodbyes and have some choice words for Obama! Oh and there’s a Bollywood song and dance number as the credits roll 🙂 Here you go: