Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve (2013) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
13 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
A Must-See for Investors
jeff-michael-johnson7 October 2013
A must-see film for investors looking to understand the recent Boom & Bust cycles produced by the Federal Reserve. More importantly, a must-see film for investors looking to dodge the next BIG bubble. The producer does an excellent job illustrating the history of the Federal Reserve and its original role in the economy. Most impressive, is the quality of the cast interviewed during the film. Members of the Federal Reserve, IMF, Bank of International Settlements, and famous economists to name only a few examples. The credibility of these individuals gives the information more weight than the average documentary. Finally, the film goes on to explain how the Federal Reserve has become something that was not originally intended during its creation, a political instrument that impacts every one of us. Never has it been more important to understand this concept and how it applies to the next big bubble being created as we speak.
21 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A cautionary tale, and ominous warning about the "world's greatest monetary brand"
Tladuca19 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Money for nothing is an excellent, compelling, revealing and accurate look at how the FED distorts and manipulates the world economy. There are no conspiracy theories here, just the cold, hard facts. It is a sobering, unflinching look at what brought the world to the brink of collapse in 2007 and the aftermath.

The movie doesn't interview former FED chairmen Greenspan or Bernanke (and really what but confusion could come from that anyway?) but lets them speak (lie) for themselves through past interviews and speeches. Interestingly included is the Fed's current chairman Janet Yellen (perhaps she had no idea she would be future chairman at the time of filming), interesting because at the end of the movie FED is portrayed has ultimately clueless and inept (and I believe it is behaving as such). Also included is a vast cast of observers and commentators; including former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, current and former regional Fed presidents, vice presidents and governors, as well as columnists, academicians, book authors and major investors whom study the Fed. Curiously absent is anyone from the current TBTF banks or any banks or businessmen at all for that matter. What the film sadly leaves out is any mention of the role of cheap energy, as if our economy exists on the back of the banking system alone! WWI is implicated in the abandonment of the gold standard when the reality was: who needs gold when you have abundant cheap energy? Just print the money you need to finance whatever you want. Future growth fueled by cheap energy will pay all the bills.

The United States realized this much too late during the Great Depression, sticking to the gold standard and unable to jump-start the economy by borrowing against future growth enabled by cheap, abundant crude oil.

Thus the deep flaw of this film is that the availability (or lack thereof) of cheap energy is never implicated in any of our economic problems and fortunes, as if the fed alone creates and controls economic activity. It often misattributes economic events to the actions of the Fed which are in fact more closely tied to the price of crude oil.

Despite the movie's blind spot with regard to the role energy plays in the economy it otherwise leaves no stone unturned. We learn about the terrible precedent set by the bailout of LTCM and the psychology of the "Greenspan Put". Greenspan birthed the idea of a free lunch, heads you win, tails you win (the fed bails you (or whatever market you are playing in) out), all reward and very little risk. We learn how the Fed and Fed alone created the biggest asset bubble in American history. We learn what a precarious position our economy is now in despite appearances, appearances due to the distortions of the markets by the Fed. The Fed can't take away the "punch bowl" (QE and zero percent interest rates) EVER and it knows it. The fact that we print the world's reserve currency is the only thing keeping this country from disaster. The film's conclusion totally misses the fact that we are suffering from the gradual depletion of cheap energy.

Some great quotes: After closing the "gold window" Nixon tells America: "What does this mean for you? You're dollar will be worth just as much tomorrow as it today" probably one of the greatest lies ever told.

On Greenspan: "This alleged libertarian was presiding over the socialization of risk in our economy…"

The now infamous Bernanke quote (in perfect context): "The problem in the subprime market seems likely to be contained" (March 2007!)

Greenspan: "I've always believed we underestimate the impact of stock prices on economic activity, (open bracket)…(close bracket) if (open bracket) the stock market (close bracket) continues higher this will do more to stimulate the economy than anything (open bracket) else could (close bracket)."

Greenspan (2011): "The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that, so there is zero probability of default."

The games the Fed is playing with our economy can only last for so long.
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An apologist film for the Fed
john-402319 February 2014
This film is an obvious attempt to create the illusion that the Fed is sorry for their mistakes, but they will do better in the future. I will return my DVD to the sell-out director today. The Fed is the crux of our debt, corruption and war and this film paints them as a team of financial gods who made some mistakes, but should remain in control of our monetary system. The Federal Reserve is private group of con-artist bankers and was CREATED to monopolize the monetary system of our once great country. Shame on YOU for creating this film. I suggest reading Creature from Jekyll Island to understand the background of the greatest scam ever perpetrated on the American people and the world.
24 out of 42 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Trying to Understand the Fed
gavin69422 March 2015
Nearly 100 years after its creation, the power of the U.S. Federal Reserve has never been greater. Markets and governments around the world hold their breath in anticipation of the Fed Chairman's every word. Yet the average person knows very little about the most powerful - and least understood - financial institution on earth.

This film covers everything from the Great Depression up through Bretton Woods (and its repeal in 1971) and on through the crisis of 2007-2008. We get Greenspan's connection to Ayn Rand and learn a few technical terms like "quantitative easing".

This is a great primer for anyone who knows absolutely nothing about the Federal Reserve. And, frankly, that happens to be most of us. Even those who do know something will probably learn more. How odd that the engine fueling our economy (maybe even the entire global economy) is not something many people could even explain.
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
How the Fed was Also Largely Responsible for the Financial Collapse of 2008
classicalsteve14 February 2015
One of the best documentaries I've seen demonstrating how the role of the Federal Reserve contributed to the Financial Crisis of 2008. In the wake of the financial collapse of 2008 creating a Recession which could have led to another Great Depression, a lot of blame was leveled against Investment Banks who were vilified as being greedy, particularly Lehman Brothers and Bear-Stearns, and insurance companies like AIG who undertook too many credit default swaps. The financial banks had taken on nearly as much debt as their assets, particularly in sub-prime mortgages, and AIG had insured them against default, i.e. "default swaps". When Lehman went bankrupt, AIG owed trillions of dollars in insurance against default, which nearly brought down the financial system.

Now, while Lehman and Bear-Stearns share plenty of the blame in the recent crisis, these bad debts and faulty reliance on sub-prime mortgages were not solely private sector malfeasance. A US department agency also played a crucial role: The US Federal Reserve. The US Federal Reserve ("The Fed") since Alan Greenspan became Fed Chairman in the late 1980's under then President Ronald Reagan engaged a more "hands-off" policy in terms of financial regulation and at the same time allowed much more loan money to be acquired by these private financial institutions who in turn bought into risky investments. This documentary outlines why the Fed was created in the first place, its role over the years in terms of both regulating and stimulating financial markets and what it did and didn't do to contribute to the recent financial collapse. While I don't believe the Fed was solely responsible for the financial collapse, as suggested by the film, their policy approaches were vital as one of many contributing factors which created a financial "perfect storm".

Two of the leading characters whose roles were crucial in the Fed's policy-making in this unfolding drama were the two Fed Chairmen Alan Greenspan (1987-2006) and Ben Bernanke (2006-2014). Greenspan in particular was touted as a financial guru who understood financial markets better than a Super Bowl winning football coach understands how to get first downs and touchdowns. If Greenspan didn't know the answer to an aspect of the financial market, the question itself must be flawed, or so went the conventional wisdom for nearly 30 years. To his credit, Greenspan had steered the US economy through several storms. What he didn't know was that a financial hurricane was descending upon Wall Street.

Over and over, Greenspan had opportunities to regulate aspects of the financial markets, particularly the so-called credit default swap insurance policies, issued by the likes of AIG and others. He also could have reigned in loose lending practices. Once, early on as Fed Chairman, Greenspan hinted the stock market may be spiraling out of control, but was quickly vilified by Wall Street for his remarks. Since then, during much of his tenure, he took a position of deregulation in which "the market will figure it out" approach so prevalent in Conservative politics. Ben Bernanke, who is a self-described scholar of the Great Depression, also didn't see the financial collapse coming. In several interviews prior to the beginning of the collapse, Bernanke iterates the impossibility of a national drop in housing prices. His scholarship for some reason precluded him from seeing the coming crisis, first in terms of the bursting housing bubble, then the ensuing financial crisis which was spawned as a result.

While scholars have debated and will continue to do so over the next century over the reasons for the financial crisis, several things are clear about the Recession. The Fed contributed to the collapse with certain policies, greed does not necessarily regulate itself, and no single individual can know everything about every aspect of the market. At the ensuing congressional hearings which Congress called after the collapse, Greenspan admitted the flaws of his policies. He said he assumed that financial institutions would always make the best decisions which would be in the interest of their companies. The reality is, just like everything else in a complex modern world, the private sector cannot always be counted on to make the best of decisions, be it for their companies or the worldwide economy. The Fed has a role to play in at least helping to thwart a possible crisis in the future. That role is always endlessly debated by politicians, congressmen, financiers, advisers and occasionally scholars. Let's hope the financiers won't always get 100% of their desires.
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Essentially the FED made a documentary about the FED
jasonray-8283416 July 2015
This was very disappointing. Every talking head and expert in this "documentary" have a vested interest in the continuation of the FED. This does not equate to a well rounded documentary, this is what we call propaganda kids. It's like Monsanto making a "cutting edge no holds bar" documentary about...well...Monsanto.

The blatant fraud of the Fed can be seen in it's name: It's no more federal than Federal Express and it has no reserves, it just prints all the money it wants without any accountability or backing. A federal Reserve note (dollar bill) has no more significance than if I printed a dollar from my computer. This worthless money is then loaned to our government at a 6% interest rate and we pay the bill.! There is no ballot measure that we voted on, there is no say what-so-ever from the people, the government can borrow all they want from the FED and have no accountability to the people. How in the hell does this make it good for the people?! They create money out of thin air and charge interest from it! That's fraud!

The president of the US does in fact choose who runs the Fed, but guess what the film "forgot" to mention? The Fed gives the president a list of people to choose from! Ha! Bet you didn't know that?

The Federal Reserve is far more harmful than this documentary makes it out to be.

The FED can single handedly crush our entire system if they wanted to, think about it. Why would this EVER be a good thing. It's no different then the medieval kings back in Europe.

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered...I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies... The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." -Thomas Jefferson-

The Fed also prints money out of thin air then lends it to dozens of counties around the world through organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. This creates a massive inflation cycle and an outrageous bill for the American tax payers children to pay back when other countries default. Inflation is a tax, make no mistake about it. If your dollar is worth 20 cents less than it was it's no different than an increase of income tax by 20%. The only difference is, borrowing from the FED is not out in the open like an income tax, it's in the background and mostly all Americans never catch onto this. Since the creation of the Federal Reserve System, 90%!! of our dollar has been eaten away by inflation!

"Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!"

Oh and another thing, the 12 member banks of the FED creates no safeguards against centralization. They are simply franchises of the same owner. All rules and regulations are passed down from the top (the Federal Reserve bank of New York). They are only there as an illusion of a non centralized bank, think about it; can the Federal Reserve bank in San Francisco issue a different interest rate than the one in NY? Of course not, they're all attached and they all act in unison.

Everyone should look into The Bank of North Dakota, the only state-owned bank in the nation. They have no debt and have been unbelievably successful. This is the direction we need to head, we should obey and respect the 10th amendment and decentralize almost everything, let states take back what rights they use to have. This is the point of the United STATES was it not? Independent states that can independently succeed on their own. Do we really want this country to turn into The United Federation of America, a country without independent states who's sole rule maker comes from Washington DC? I don't.
7 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
wrought with False Info & misleading data
zd392115 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The movie ends by suggesting that the latest bubble was essentially caused by an 'Asset Inflation' due to the fact that apparently the US Federal Reserve no longer takes into account housing or essentially fuel prices!? What, that is obviously false... Check the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and you will see that both are definitely in there.

I would agree that they have changed the way that some items have been covered, namely the housing prices which are now calculated as basically the rental equivalent of each home owners home instead of the housing price. Though, that is common among the OECD nations just like Canada and a few others. Check the US Consumer Price Index website and you will see. Also check this link, which explains some of the misconceptions out in the general public: As for the rest of the movie, well it hammers away at your intelligence with misinformation and jarring commentary. The movie was partly informative for creating an interesting story of Volcker, Greenespan and whatever the liar in charge of the Fed is called. Still too many logical fallacies and misrepresentations using often false information. I would give this more than 2 thumbs down if I could.
9 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
how can you not have a documentary about the federal reserve and not have Ron Paul in it?
timmycav7311 December 2013
End the Fed is a 2009 book by Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. The book debuted at number six on the New York Times Best Seller list[1] and advocates the abolition of the United States Federal Reserve System. Summary

Paul argues that "in the post-meltdown world, it is irresponsible, ineffective, and ultimately useless to have a serious economic debate without considering and challenging the role of the Federal Reserve."[2]

In End the Fed, Ron Paul draws on American history, economics, and anecdotes from his own political life to argue that the Fed is both corrupt and unconstitutional. He states that the Federal Reserve System is inflating currency today at nearly a Weimar or Zimbabwe level, which Paul asserts is a practice that threatens to put the United States into an inflationary depression where the US dollar, which is the reserve currency of the world, would suffer severe devaluation.

A major theme throughout the work also revolves around the idea of inflation as a hidden tax making warfare much easier to wage. Because people will reject the notion of increasing direct taxes, inflation is then used to help service the overwhelming debts incurred through warfare. In turn the purchasing power of the masses is diminished, yet most people are unaware. Under Ron Paul's theory, this diminution has the biggest impact on low income individuals since it is a regressive tax. Paul argues that the CPI presently does not include food and energy, yet the these items are the items on which the majority of poor peoples' income is spent.

He further maintains that most people are not aware that the Fed – created (he asserts) by the Morgans and Rockefellers at a private club off the coast of Georgia[3] – is actually working against their own personal interests. Instead of protecting the people, Paul contends that the Fed now serves as a cartel where the name of the game is bailout -- or otherwise known as privatized profits but socialized losses.

Paul also draws on what he argues are historical links between the creation of central banks and war, explaining how inflation and devaluations have been used as war financing tools in the past by many governments from monarchies to democracies.
11 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
tangential Summary
amarbdmi16 February 2014
the best Documentary on the topic are the money master and Money As Debt,i assume the producer At least have seen them but they haven't.

for the part where money was created,Borrowing is the major way ,when someone Borrow from bank where does the money come from,does it came from your Account? i don't think so . if this was the case you will notice. does it come from bank's money? i don't think so ,they need it for the Bonus. in fact it's money from nowhere created by the bank, it's a Obligation that bank has to pay the Borrower in exchange for the the Promise that the Borrower will pay back more, yes it's that twisted, for instance the Borrower spend the money and the money usually end up in some Account in the bank, bank's Assets(everyone's saving plus the Borrower's Promise) and its liability (Obligation to pay Depositor and the Borrower) both increase ,and as long as the bank's Assets is greater than its liability ,the came can continue forever.

as for the fed which is a Private bank with its own share holders just as the Central Bank of the United Kingdom, it is responsible for the Creation of U.S. dollar. the Borrower is US government.

as for Greenspan who has been Praised a lot by the movie (at least by the people they Interview) is not the Reason for the U.S. economy to be Prosperity in 1990. the true Reason is that sucker like china gone dollar-Fever , they pumping low-cost merchandise into US in exchange for green paper which keep the Cost of Living low while Destroy the manufacturing industry of US thus free the whole Country to work in Financial sector which Attract suckers all over the world to Invest in its Stock market. lots of Big shot Appear in the movie, but it didn't help, because they only help Themselves

in the end they try to Summary that the wallstreet did what they did because fed made the money easy and the fed did what they did because they are simply unware of the Consequence of their Behavior, which is so not true, anyone with a basic Knowledge of Economy knows what would happen if the Leverage was too high

a better choose of Documentary on Financial crisis would be inside job and meltdown by cbc
5 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Impartial and honest perception of our economic system
agapesophy9 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A gem in the movie industry, conveying the federal reserve as pacifist who hates the idea of forcing people to come to grips with reality. Conveying the federal reserve as having foresight all the time,even though there is some denial of this near the end.

The very pacifist mentality was the ideal of the federal reserve to act as a cushion to protect the delusions of the public rather than act as moralist dictator. So the federal reserve allowed investment out self interest that had no direct long term benefit to society this was more acceptable than forcing a moralist view on the economy.

One of the prime reasons the fed always acted as a cushion rather than a moralist was the monetary gain, which were only asset inflation and this was the delusion of the people. Against there better judgement they obeyed the people's will in general.

The asset inflation is inflation mistaken as monetary gain, however when ever individuals profit by inflation inequity rules as they got the money for free or nearly free. For the investors get rich, those who own stock and houses and so on, and everyone else suffers poverty.

No one wishes to change this as that would create the appearance of monetary redistribution. Worse yet because the market gains where an illusion, there are no new jobs for the youth as there shall always be to many people and not enough jobs, as industry is very efficient in the new computer robotic global economy.

Hence everyone must work less hours so everyone can work otherwise pay for a welfare state which has negative effects in itself, for if neither of these are done The People shall and will starve to death as there is lots of food and shelter, but no self dependence everyone is dependent upon jobs to get those things, as in past the majority had their own land to farm upon and now they do not.

To any length the problem can never be solved by the monetary federal reserve. It was never their fault in the first place. Blaming a bunch of pacifist who would do anything to ensure the economy kept going given the conditions of a computer robotic global economy is a sad lie.

These federal reserve people call it the free market but what they are meaning is forcefulness is rape, they simply hate pushing their morals upon a people who do not want them, people wanted free money and so they got what they desired.

The sacrifices we must make to remain a compassionate society is something that is going to be token by force. Plainly none of us are honest enough to admit we have stolen from ourselves a fair and equitable society.

Where money is earned by giving to society a long lasting benefit in service, rather than just profiting our selves, I can say being a pacifist myself, I have lost everything by a forceful economy that was self serving and now I have profited being self serving. If someone takes by force what I have token without any benefit to society, at least I can say its fair enough to me.
5 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An Honest Review
generationofswine7 November 2018
This one is not what documentaries like this used to be. Once upon a time there were a run of films like this, in the early 2000s, that focused heavily on how entities evolved to their downfall into corruption. They dealt with them evenhandedly and presented the viewer with honest information.

The Corporation, Outfoxed, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, all tackled partisan topics in a very informative and honest way.

This doesn't. If you watched "Outfoxed" they talk about the "drum beat" that Fox News used to lead the viewers into supporting the Wars. Unfortunately, you can hear the same repetitive drumbeat in Money For Nothing, and that drumbeat is just as vapid.

In The Corporation and Enron, the films dealt with the evolution of the topics they covered to explain how it went wrong. Money for Nothing says nothing on that and, instead, resorts to the drum beat of repetition in place of actual facts and researched opinions.

Ultimately, what you get seems more like an Alex Jones style conspiracy theory than a researched documentary. It's not worth watching, it might make you even less informed on the topic.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Expose of Federal Reserve
agscal17 September 2013
The movie is long ( 100 minutes ) , boring , dis-ingenuous. The actual content is about 1/3 of the movie and the other 2/3 is filler material. Many concepts are repeated over and over until the eyes begin to glaze over. There are lots of emotive images that do not inform. There are lots of talking heads that add little to the movie. I found myself wondering if the producer was cynical and aware of the manipulation occurring. Or maybe the producer thought all the stuff included was *cool*. The movie has laser beam focus on the Federal Reserve and ignores all other factors. The movie contradicts itself. The movie is full of logical fallacies. ( Are they deliberate ? ) The best element of the movie is the remark that the *US currency* is the world's best brand name. 99guspuppet
11 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Risks of Eliminating "Moral Hazard"
dansandini19 July 2015
I'll save you the time: the "Great Moderation" that I began working during in 1984 is over. The stock market bubble became the housing bubble which became ... the Government Debt bubble (which has yet to burst). It's incredible to watch each crisis, and how each one has driven interest rates lower and lower, until we are at ... zero. We have created a scenario where we can't lower them again. Quantitative easing has kept us afloat but for how long?

Inflation remains low but my understanding is the CPI no longer includes food or energy? And while unemployment has lowered my understanding is that is because people have left the workforce, and very few if any "real jobs" have been created. The films producers point out we are an economy that has consumed more than we have produced for an entire decade. They ask the question: "how long can this continue?"

The film really got me thinking about a term they brought up: "moral hazard." If I know the Fed will bail me out on the downside why not accept the risk? It also applies in my mind to debt. In olden days people worried about putting debt on their children and grandchildren. That's no longer the case for many people like me. Free Heath care? Why not? Oh if an anti-viral will save me I can practice unsafe sex? Why not? I never knew it had a name but it does: "moral hazard" and I think it's becoming rapidly absent in modern society.

It's especially applicable to the Justice System. I'm now officially a true crime addict. And one common thread in these horrendous cases is truly dangerous people are released into society time and time again. Criminals routinely violate their paroles with no negative consequences. Yes I'm against the "Prison State." But if we promise to punish but in the end "bail out" the truly bad guys, what are the consequences for a safe society? No easy answers.

Anyway I suppose I should start a blog rather than meander in emails. This movie is kinda a snoozer but I wanted to share my thoughts.
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed