Let’s Make Money looks at the global financial system from a number of different angles, highlighting each problem of neoliberalism, which is capitalism with almost no institutional constraint.
This neoliberalism took its current form under the regimes of President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s. Key to this was deregulation of the banking industry, attracting money from off-shore, giving investors in particularly the UK access to cheap capital, and which was supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.
These international financial institutions created a four-part project known as “The Washington Consensus,” which included deregulating financial markets, liberalizing trade flows, breaking hold of state’s power, and then privatizing state resources through sales to private investors; each intending to benefit the elites in various countries around the world at the expense of “ordinary” people.
The film features interviews with investors, government officials, and people who can provide insight into the slums and impoverished towns of the various countries. The documentary demonstrates the efforts of investors to make money, and with no consideration of ethics, much less the impact on human lives.
Yet, the affects of this system are highlighted throughout the film, such as the diversion of 97% of gold profits to the Western countries and only 3% to Africa, despite the gold coming from Ghana, and the gross impoverishment of the people.
Wagenhofer also takes a look at the impact of cotton on Burkina Faso, a country in Central Africa. Despite producing some of the world’s best cotton, and cleaned by hand, Burkina Faso cannot compete on the global market, specifically due to the cotton subsidies to cotton farmers by the US Government.