Money as Debt
Money as Debt is a 2006 animated documentary film by Canadian artist and filmmaker Paul Grignon about the monetary systems practised through modern banking. The film presents Grignon's view of the process of money creation by banks and its historical background, and warns of his belief in its subsequent unsustainability. Subsequent Money as Debt videos include Money as Debt II (2009) and Money as Debt III: Evolution Beyond Money (2011).
The film was conceived by Grignon in 2002 as an introduction to a 5-hour video commission for United Financial Consumers. He prefaced his video lecture with a re-telling of The Goldsmith’s Tale in animation form titled Money as Debt. The Goldsmith's Tale is noted in the film as being "a brief and broadly allegorical history of banking" and should not be viewed as a complete or entirely accurate account of the history of banking. Expanded over a six-month period in 2006, it was Grignon's first full length animation project.
Much of the film presents the filmmaker's understanding of modern money creation in a fractional-reserve banking system. New money enters the economy through the indebtedness of borrowers, thus not only obligating the public to the money-issuing private banks but also creating an endless and self-escalating debt that is to eventually outgrow all other forms of wealth generation. The film claims that this ever-increasing gravitation of money to banks is capable of impoverishing any nation. The film finishes by identifying some alternatives to modern banking, such as the nationalization of banks and payment of dividends to the public, establishing local exchange trading systems, or government printing of money.
Epoch Times complimented filmmaker Grignon for his character design and for presentation of economics in simple terms and concepts. In discussing confusions associated in understanding modern finance, they wrote the film was "a good place to get started on the quest for new financial insights, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in deepening their understanding of our existing banking system."
An article in Anthropology Today called the film "a hit in activist circles", but also a "fable" that "demonizes the banks, and interest in particular" and whose "message is in many ways misleading."
An article in the Atlantic Free Press said "Money as Debt is not entertainment—far from it. The film offers amazingly elementary facts about the creation of money in the United States, narrated by a soothing voice, which could make for a bland presentation, yet the film's message is anything but vapid. In fact, if it doesn't leave your blood boiling, it behooves you to check your vital signs."
Cdurable offered "Ce long métrage d'animation, dynamique et divertissant, de l'artiste et vidéographe Paul Grignon, explique les effets magiques mais pervers du systeme actuel d'argent-dette dans des termes compréhensibles pour tous." ("This animated feature, dynamic and entertaining, by artist and videographer Paul Grignon, explains the magical but twisted effects of the current system of debt-money in terms understandable to all.") Thomas Publications Fog City Journal wrote that the animated documentary was "a painless but hard-hitting educational tool."
On his personal website, Paul Grignon said there were two main criticisms of the documentary, provided counter arguments, but conceded that his presentation of fractional-reserve banking may have been "misleading" and "in the revised edition will be replaced with less contentious information." The film has also been criticized by other heterodox economic and libertarian thinkers, such as G. Edward Griffin's Freedom Force International. Specifically, Griffin criticizes Grignon's proposal for "interest-free banking" and fiat, albeit government-created as opposed to central bank-created, currency.
- "Tofino Artist Paul Grignon". Tofino Art. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
- OCLC 76905478
- Baker, Carolyn (25 August 2007). "Daddy, where does the money come from?". Atlantic Free Press. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
- Tolson, Shannon (3 April 2009). "Second Sunday Cinema announces free films for April 12". lakeconews.com. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
- Wipond, Rob (October 2011). "This artist follows the money". Focus. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Washington, Samuel (December 30, 2008). "Film Review: 'Money as Debt'" (in Epoch Times archive as a PDF document). Epoch Times. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
- OCLC 798991364; also titled Money as Debt II: Promises Unleashed, OCLC 429188528
- OCLC 798991370
- Grignon, Paul. "Producer’s Comments on the Movie". paulgrignon.netfirms.com. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
- Hart, Keith. "Money is always personal and impersonal", Anthropology Today, Volume 23, Issue 5, pages 12–16, October 2007.
- Naulin, David (October 31, 2008). "Découvrez le long métrage "Money as Debt" de Paul Grignon". Cdurable (in French). Retrieved 29 November 2010.
- "Money As Debt". Fog City Journal. October 3, 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
- Grignon, Paul. "Disputed Information in Money as Debt". paulgrignon.netfirms.com. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
- See: "Freedom Force International - Money as Debt: An Instructional Video that Gets a Flunking Grade 2007 June 7 (Google Cached)" (last accessed Dec. 8, 2010).