As an alternative of recognizing the foundation explanation for Spain’s financial difficulties, the collection advocates a left-wing revolution towards a democratic state.
On September 3, Netflix launched half 1 of the fifth and closing season of La casa de papel (Cash Heist), one of many streaming service’s hottest reveals of all time. It’s a gripping drama of a bunch of robbers finishing up nearly not possible heists of the closely fortified Royal Mint of Spain (seasons 1-2) and Financial institution of Spain (seasons 3-5), meticulously deliberate by a superb mastermind, often known as “the Professor,” interspersed with intense relationship drama. Nevertheless, the problematic political ideology that underpins the present is normally ignored by viewers and critics alike. The primary tune that’s sung all through the collection by the characters after the Professor teaches it to them is the anti-fascist anthem “Bella Ciao,” a tune of the Italian partisans, who led the battle towards Nazi Germany and the Mussolini regime in World Conflict II. Due to the recognition of the collection, “Bella Ciao” really charted in lots of nations in 2018.
A central theme is that the robbers are the trendy reincarnation of the Italian anti-fascist resistance. The concept of the robbers as “the resistance” turns into extra blatant in Season 3, which begins after one of many robbers is captured on the tropical island the place he resides after the profitable completion of the heist of the Royal Mint and is shipped abroad to be tortured as a substitute of being returned to Spain to face trial. The Professor particularly declares battle towards the system, and in contrast to within the first two seasons, the place there are “good guys” among the many police, in season 3, the police are depicted as vile torturers, and we’re launched to César Gandía, the pinnacle of safety on the Financial institution of Spain, who’s a scary-looking racist. In season 4, we study that the previous hostage most vocal in his hatred of the robbers, Arturo, is, in reality, a rapist.
All through the collection, the robbers’ reputation with the general public is emphasised. We see giant crowds in Madrid dressed just like the robbers and protesting of their favor, and the robbers increase their reputation additional by raining down over 100 million euros from a blimp on the streets of Madrid. The Professor notes with pleasure that the masks of Salvador Dalí, which the robbers put on through the heists, has change into an emblem of resistance all through the world and that their actions have impressed demonstrations towards corruption in Brazil and marches for ladies’s rights in a number of nations. Their supporters have crammed stadiums in France and in Saudi Arabia, and we even see protesters on the G-20 summit in Hamburg wearing Dalí masks waving the flag of Antifa.
Given how heroically the robbers are portrayed and the way vilely these against them are depicted, one would have thought that Mussolini had risen from the useless and declared himself emperor for all times over all of Spain. However alas, modern-day Spain is a pluralistic democracy that ensures the rights of all its residents. For instance, even the left–leaning NGO Freedom Home, which has rated political rights and freedom since 1941 on a scale of zero to 100, provides Spain full marks in response to questions akin to “do numerous segments of the inhabitants (together with ethnic, spiritual, gender, LGBT, and different related teams) have full political rights and electoral alternatives,” and whether or not the Spanish authorities “operates with openness and transparency,” ensures freedom of faith, protects residents from home violence, and ensures that NGOs and labor unions have freedom to arrange. Moreover, it notes that ladies are effectively represented in politics, holding 43 % and 38 % of the seats within the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, respectively.
Throughout the first 4 seasons, the nice paradox of the present’s politics is simply too apparent to disregard: The evil “system” the robbers are resisting is the one purpose that they’ve managed to remain alive and perform their heists. A dictatorial regime would have stormed the Royal Mint and killed all of the robbers with none regard to civilian casualties, and the Professor makes use of his mastery of the Spanish authorized code to his benefit. In Season 5, nevertheless, the notion of the Spanish state as a state constrained by regulation fully disappears, as Colonel Tamayo, one of many present’s most important antagonists, calls within the military to storm the Financial institution of Spain and may be very specific that he couldn’t care much less whether or not the hostages are killed.
Likewise, the present’s creators lack an excellent rudimentary understanding of economics as they depict seizing the Royal Mint to print nearly a billion euros as a victimless crime no completely different than quantitative easing. Because the Professor argues in season 2, episode 8:
However what we’re doing is okay to you when different individuals do it. Within the 12 months 2011, the European Central Financial institution made 171 billion euros out of nowhere. . . similar to we’re doing, solely larger. 185 billion in 2012. 145 billion euros in 2013. Are you aware the place all that cash went? To the banks. Straight from the manufacturing facility to the pockets of the wealthy. Did anybody name the European Central Financial institution a thief? “Liquidity injections,” they known as it. They usually pulled it out of nowhere, Raquel. Out of nowhere.
That is insane. If everybody begins printing cash and dropping it from blimps, then cash would haven’t any worth, and Spain would expertise the hyperinflation of Venezuela. Furthermore, quantitative easing has really been very dangerous to banks as a result of its objective is to decrease long-term rates of interest, and banks earn cash on the unfold between short-term and long-term charges.
There may be, nevertheless, one facet of Spanish politics that La casa de papel will get proper. The Spanish public, and particularly, Spanish youth, have purpose to be disillusioned. Youth unemployment in Spain was 35.1 percent in July 2021 and 31.4 % pre-pandemic, as in contrast with 9.2 % within the U.S. in July 2021 and eight.3 % pre-pandemic. Whole unemployment in Spain was 14.3 percent in July 2021 and 13.9 % pre-pandemic versus 5.4 % within the U.S. in July 2021 and three.5 % pre-pandemic. The apparent answer to those issues, which La casa de papel unsurprisingly ignores, is financial liberalization. Spain is infamous for its rigid labor legal guidelines, which stifle entrepreneurship, disincentivize hiring, and create a two-tier employment market, and its overweening state, with a tax-to-GDP ratio of 34.6 percent versus 24.5 % for the U.S. For instance, the OECD ranks the U.S.’s employment flexibility as higher than all of the nations in both the EU or the OECD, with a rating of 92.4 out of 100, whereas Spain is ranked twenty sixth with a rating of 60.8 out of 100. Furthermore, whereas the worldwide Left casts itself because the defender of immigrants, the unemployment price for immigrants is 18.9 percent in Spain, as in contrast with a paltry 3.1 % within the U.S. Not solely do Spaniards face diminished employment alternatives, as in contrast with People, however they’re additionally topic to an onerous gross sales tax of 16 %, as in contrast with a median of 6.6 percent within the U.S. Even American progressives are likely to oppose excessive gross sales taxes as a result of they’re regressive.
Spain’s employment disaster demonstrates most of the basic issues with the European social-democratic financial mannequin, but as a substitute of recognizing the foundation explanation for Spain’s difficulties, the collection advocates Antifa-style revolution. Certainly, the last word irony of the present is that whereas it purports to attract inspiration from Twentieth-century European historical past by depicting the robbers as modern-day Italian partisans, its creators have did not study one of the essential classes of the previous century of European historical past, and one that may be simply gleaned when evaluating Spanish and American youth- and immigrant-unemployment charges: Statist financial ideology denies alternative to society’s most susceptible.