2nd. article in our 7-week series on the film Cosmopolis
Cosmopolis character, Eric Packer, is a self-made billionaire who, at the age of 28, has reached a point where money has no value in his existence. In one day he goes from billionaire to a man left with nothing but death threats.
In 1999, I was a junior in college whose main financial concerns was getting through college and finding a job. I was definitely not a billionaire. At the time the unemployment was 4.5%, the Dow Jones high was 11,750/low of 9,180, federal spending was $1716.95 billion, Federal debt was $5978.5 billion, average cost of a new home was $195,800, median household income was $39,973, average cost of a gallon of regular gas was $1.17, and a gallon of milk was $3.32.
The beginning of 1999 began with a 5.9% increase in the US economy, and the stock market gained 15% in three months. However, the U.S. saving rate started to become negative.  People were making more and instead of saving they were spending. Sound familiar? Why save money when you are making enough that you have no financial worries? When the global economy started going down around this time, we, the consumers, had to start borrowing at low but unstable interest rates. There were many who took their own lives when they lost all their stock and had no form of income.
What is interesting is that Cosmopolis seems to reflect what we are experiencing today. Greed and over abundance of money by the “big wigs” has led to high unemployment rates (i.e. lay-offs, self-elected bonuses), foreclosures, and most recent, the Occupy WallStreet Protests. It also gives us a look into the soul of a person who has been so consumed by money; he ultimately ends up with nothing.
Several films have been made regarding the economy, how it functions and how money can ruin our lives if we are not careful.
Eric is so emotionally detached from the world and it seems as though losing everything is what it takes for him to “feel”. Do we allow money to determine our happiness? Can we find happiness in a declining economy when it seems there is no silver lining? Why is money used to fill voids?
Also see 1st. article in the series; Cosmopolis: An Asymmetrical Nightmare
Please join us for a discussion on this topic Thursday 7/19/2012@7pmE/12UTC