Knowledge is power: Why you need to watch these three documentaries today
I probably should have watched these documentaries before, but like you, I didn’t. Not before I could vote because I can’t, but sooner, sooner than this week at least.
Why didn’t I watch them earlier?
Hell, I don’t know to be honest, maybe because the world is depressing enough as it is these days? Or because it’s easier to bury your head in the sand, ignoring the facts, rather than facing up to them? Or maybe because I was scared, scared of what I might learn.
Let’s face it; it’s much easier to live in la-la-land and watch re-runs of FRIENDS than to face up to reality. Why? Because reality — well it’s scary.
Still, knowledge is power, and I believe wholeheartedly you should practice what you preach, so here I am, preaching! Watch these documentaries as soon as you can. Watch them before you vote on your future, on the future of America.
Oh, sidebar; why can’t I vote? Because I am a woman.
Ha! Only kidding — it’s because I’m English, but hey-ho nothing would surprise me these days as our daily reality reads darker than any imaginable fiction. As the Supreme Court hangs in the balance and with it, the future of abortion rights, voting rights, healthcare, climate agendas and much, much more. As everything we have fought for over the past Century is in jeopardy.
And I’m not talking just women, but the rights of the entire 99% are at risk over the coming weeks.
That’s why you need to watch these documentaries now!
1/Capital in the 21st Century
First on the agenda is Capital in the 21st Century. Originally a book, written in 2013 by the brilliant French economist Thomas Piketty and having sold over 3 million copies worldwide it has now been translated (and simplified) into a 1 hour and 40-minute documentary. Directed by Justin Pemberton, and produced by Mathew Metcalfe it is now available to watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime video.
Both the book and the film chart the journey of wealth and power from the late 1700s to today, questioning the widespread assumption that the accumulation of Capital runs hand in hand with social progress.
It highlights the dynamics of the ever-increasing inequalities present in today’s society, suggesting that inequality is not an accident, but a feature of capitalism that is threatening the core of our democratic system.
Wealth in the form of money or other assets (land, factories etc.) owned by a person or organization
The biggest take away for me was the rapid decline in the share of wealth owned by the middle classes. One of the documentaries most formidable history lessons shows us that if things don’t change soon, the middle classes will return to the economic standing they had less than 100 years ago, which was almost as low as the poorest of the population. If this decline doesn’t stop soon, the middle classes will cease to exist, leaving only a more significant divide between the 1 & the 99%.
Suppose economic growth continues to slow down/lower for the majority of the population, as it has been since the 1970s, and will likely continue with the expanded reliance on technology and automation. In that case, return on Capital (mostly owned by the 1%) will far outweigh the economic return for labour and the like, creating an even greater division of wealth than there already is.
In simple terms — the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer!
2/The Perfect Weapon
Inspired by a book of the same name, written by New York Times Washington correspondent David E. Sanger and published in 2019, The Perfect Weapon available on HBO outlines in detail most of the worlds major cyber attacks in recent history.
Whether you are interested in learning more about the ominous world of cyberspace or not, understanding just how far-reaching its tentacles are to you and a mostly unknowing general population is a must.
Cyber attacks are a cost-efficient weapon for countries with economic restrictions and they are challenging to defend. You no longer need an army to cause significant harm and destruction to your enemies, making war accessible for any country, or individual for that matter, with a cross to bear.
These weapons, and believe me they are weapons of mass destruction, are capable of an unprecedented range of offensive tactics. They can cause major disruption through disinformation campaigns (2016 election anyone), to theft (of trade secrets along with personal identities), to widespread damage of essential infrastructure systems (think vulnerable election and government infrastructures, national power grids and public transport).
In less than a decade, cyberwarfare has displaced terrorism and nuclear attacks as the greatest threat to American national security.
We might not know it, but we are living in a multinational virtual cold war, and this is a viable cause for concern!
Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean its not dangerous.
3/The Social Dilemma
Is a 2020 docudrama exploring the rise of social media and the damage it’s caused and continues to cause to the very fabric of society. The film, written and directed by Jeff Orlowski, focuses on how social media exploits its users for financial gain; through surveillance, capitalism and data mining. It also depicts how its design focuses on, and is consistently updated, to drive our addiction to clicking and scrolling whilst manipulating our behaviour and influencing our decisions.
“There are only two types of businesses that call their customers users; the drug business and the business of social media.”
Interviews with multiple former executives across all of the leading social media platforms including Google, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram attest to each of these companies misuse of power.
Within 90 minutes, this film managed to shock and terrify me more than any horror movie. It chillingly highlights how social media expedites dis-information to drive political agenda, fabricate fear and in turn, generate social and civil unrest. One of the interviewees scarily states that his biggest fear of the continued misuse of social media’s unregulated power could result in nothing less than Civil War.
It also shines a spotlight on the rapid growth of conspiracy theories and their mainstream acceptance (flatearthers, pizzagate and beyond) due to social media’s flagrant disregard for facts and the promotion and spread of misinformation.
Did you know when you google something, anything, depending on the combination of where you are in the world and your personal search history, your findings will be different? No? Me either. Talk about confirming biases!
And probably the most concerning of all is how the film charts the toll social media consumption is taking on all of our mental health; documenting unarguable parallel data linking the rise of social media to the dramatic increase in teen suicides.
Another little nugget for you; not one of these former execs allows their children to use social media — at all. Now if that isn’t telling you something, maybe you should go and watch a FRIENDS re-run!
I know, I know, it’s a lot to take in. I’m still working through it in my mind too, but these are topics that affect us all, and not in the future — because the future is now!
As the headline said: Knowledge is Power and the sole purpose of this article is to point you in the direction of information gathering, facts not fake news and unbiased opinion based on history and data rather than any other agenda, political or otherwise.
See for yourself. Please take what you will and leave the rest, but it’s now or never to educate yourself.
It’s your right to vote (at least for now anyway!), and it’s your choice — all I ask is that you make an informed decision.
The rest is up to you!
Claire Pinckney is a freelance writer, fashion designer and content creator. For more articles like this from Claire and other members of the 5R2 community please subscribe at www.5reasons2.com
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