Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1077/30415
From The Socialist newspaper, 11 March 2020
Film: Greed directed by Michael Winterbottom, starring Steve Coogan as Sir Richard "Greedy" McCreadie
Steve Coogan as Philip Green in Greed (Click to enlarge)
Barbara Clare, Stevenage
It was refreshing to watch a mainstream film exposing the madness and exploitative nature of the capitalist system.
'Greed' is an apt title for this film which, presumably, is based on the career of Philip Green, most infamously remembered for finalising his purchase of a £100 million super-yacht on the same day as BHS employees found out that they were losing their pensions! (In the film Greedy McCreadie's wife states that cost did not cover the interior design).
The film portrays Greedy McCreadie as a bully with no knowledge of the fashion industry, but who negotiated rock bottom prices for clothing, thereby exploiting the already poorly paid female machinists in developing countries, pressuring them to work faster in order to maintain the profits of their factory owners.
In one scene of the film a fire breaks out in a factory, a reminder of disasters that have occurred in recent years, (notably the Rana Plaza garment factory near Dhaka which collapsed killing over 1,000 people).
The sharp business practices that seem absurd to working people, but are apparently perfectly normal and legitimate under capitalism, are also explained. Greedy McCreadie used the assets of a company he did not own to buy that very same company. He did this using very little of his own money, asset stripping the companies and running them into the ground, leaving employees jobless. His wife lived in Monaco and, as everything was in her name, avoided paying any tax.
The film switches to different times in Greedy McCreadie's life, but the central theme is the preparation for his 60th birthday celebration at his home on a Greek island. An important subplot is the presence of refugees living in tents on the beach which could be seen from his luxurious accommodation. I feel this contrast could have been developed further in the film, though it did draw attention to the lavish lifestyle of a fashion mogul and the plight of homeless refugees.
The facts presented at the end of the film highlight the exploitation of women in the fashion industry. In Myanmar women machinists earn the equivalent of €3.30 a day and in Bangladesh €2.60 daily. This is compared to the obscene profits made by fashion companies. (I have read that Sony Pictures International would not allow individual brands and millionaires to be named as they didn't want to damage relationships with them.)
However, the information clearly illustrated the massive inequalities under capitalism. One fact stated: "The richest 26 men own as much wealth as the 3.8 billion poorest people."
Donate to the Socialist Party
Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
In The Socialist 11 March 2020:
Coronavirus: Full NHS funding now
Coronavirus infects the world economy
Flybe collapse: nationalise to save jobs threatened by Covid-19 and downturn
Coronavirus: international cooperation needed, not capitalist competition
Supermarkets are ruled by profit - unions should control supply limits
For full pay during isolation: for public health as well as workers' wallets
Self-isolation patients speak: NHS facilities and advice not up to it
Italy on lockdown: lack of resources and democracy causes panic
South Korea shows capitalism has money to respond to coronavirus
Coronavirus news in brief
Domestic Violence bill: We still need to fight to save our services
News in brief
Postal workers mobilise to win strike reballot
Homerton Hospital workers fight for sick pay
Fighting to transform the union in my warehouse
Argos workers in Sainsbury's stores threatened with losing collective bargaining
Homeless charity workers to strike against intransigent management
Southampton trade unionists say "defend the right to strike!"
Strong support for PCS Broad Left Network
East London uni and bin worker strikes
How can Trump be ousted from the White House?
Campaigns and party news
Salford 'no-cuts' budget includes cuts and tax rises
Stoke council unions beat pay cuts - now let's stop all cuts
Is there an anti-cuts rebellion in Scotland?
Socialist Party joins International Women's Day protests
Housing workers explain reality to idiot Boris Johnson
Swansea: Ask anyone about state of services, you will hear the real story
Camarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'
Student occupation in support of striking workers
Selling the Socialist
Socialist Party executive committee positions
Greece-Turkey border refugee crisis
Women's and trans rights
Women's rights, trans rights and the labour movement
Film: Greed directed by Michael Winterbottom
Childcare - costly, inadequate and hard work
Book: Why you should be a trade unionist by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey
The Socialist Inbox
The Socialist 11 March 2020 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook