As an alternative of recognizing the foundation reason behind Spain’s financial difficulties, the sequence advocates a left-wing revolution towards a democratic state.
On September 3, Netflix launched half 1 of the fifth and last season of La casa de papel (Cash Heist), one of many streaming service’s hottest exhibits of all time. It’s a gripping drama of a gaggle of robbers finishing up nearly inconceivable 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 often ignored by viewers and critics alike. The principle track that’s sung all through the sequence by the characters after the Professor teaches it to them is the anti-fascist anthem “Bella Ciao,” a track of the Italian partisans, who led the struggle towards Nazi Germany and the Mussolini regime in World Struggle II. Because of the recognition of the sequence, “Bella Ciao” truly charted in lots of international locations in 2018.
A central theme is that the robbers are the fashionable reincarnation of the Italian anti-fascist resistance. The thought 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 conflict 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, the truth is, a rapist.
All through the sequence, the robbers’ recognition with the general public is emphasised. We see massive crowds in Madrid dressed just like the robbers and protesting of their favor, and the robbers increase their recognition additional by raining down over 100 million euros from a blimp on the streets of Madrid. The Professor notes with satisfaction that the masks of Salvador Dalí, which the robbers put on throughout the heists, has turn out to be 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 international locations. Their supporters have stuffed 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 lifeless 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, offers Spain full marks in response to questions reminiscent of “do numerous segments of the inhabitants (together with ethnic, non secular, 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 p.c and 38 p.c of the seats within the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, respectively.
Through 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 motive 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 utterly disappears, as Colonel Tamayo, one of many present’s fundamental antagonists, calls within the military to storm the Financial institution of Spain and could 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 totally different than quantitative easing. Because the Professor argues in season 2, episode 8:
However what we’re doing is okay to you when different folks do it. Within the yr 2011, the European Central Financial institution made 171 billion euros out of nowhere. . . similar to we’re doing, solely greater. 185 billion in 2012. 145 billion euros in 2013. Have you learnt the place all that cash went? To the banks. Straight from the manufacturing unit to the pockets of the wealthy. Did anybody name the European Central Financial institution a thief? “Liquidity injections,” they known as it. And so they 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 don’t have any worth, and Spain would expertise the hyperinflation of Venezuela. Furthermore, quantitative easing has truly been very dangerous to banks as a result of its objective is to decrease long-term rates of interest, and banks earn a living on the unfold between short-term and long-term charges.
There’s, nevertheless, one side of Spanish politics that La casa de papel will get proper. The Spanish public, and specifically, Spanish youth, have motive to be disillusioned. Youth unemployment in Spain was 35.1 percent in July 2021 and 31.4 p.c pre-pandemic, as in contrast with 9.2 p.c within the U.S. in July 2021 and eight.3 p.c pre-pandemic. Complete unemployment in Spain was 14.3 percent in July 2021 and 13.9 p.c pre-pandemic versus 5.4 p.c within the U.S. in July 2021 and three.5 p.c 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 p.c for the U.S. For instance, the OECD ranks the U.S.’s employment flexibility as higher than all of the international locations 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 p.c within the U.S. Not solely do Spaniards face lowered employment alternatives, as in contrast with Individuals, however they’re additionally topic to an onerous gross sales tax of 16 p.c, as in contrast with a mean of 6.6 percent within the U.S. Even American progressives are inclined to oppose excessive gross sales taxes as a result of they’re regressive.
Spain’s employment disaster demonstrates most of the elementary issues with the European social-democratic financial mannequin, but as a substitute of recognizing the foundation reason behind Spain’s difficulties, the sequence advocates Antifa-style revolution. Certainly, the final 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 probably the most 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.