New documentary exposes corporate evil

Ethan Singleton, Hook Editor

For those tired of “woke” documentaries filled with vague, poorly thought out conclusions, Dirty Money provides fresh common sense. Even though the show critiques corporations, there is no vaguely Marxist rhetoric. Instead Dirty Money shows viewers exactly how corrupt businesses operate and leaves the solution up to the viewer.   

The documentary consists of six different cases of corporate misconduct and greed. Each episode gives viewers a deeper understanding of how capitalist markets operate, and the stories function as perfect examples of how the free market can go wrong.

While the various activists and industry insiders on the show can express strong opinions, the narrator, and hence the show itself, rarely does. This is a wise choice as it lets the stories speak for themselves.

An epic hour long expose of the Volkswagen “fuel efficient” car scandal, “Hard Knox” begins the series. This one may hit close to home to Marinites, because it shows the pitfalls of attempting to be environmentally friendly. Instead of being fuel efficient, these cars ended up polluting the atmosphere more than any other car on the market according to the documentary.

The targets range from big businesses, financial institutions, sports stars and finally, Donald Trump. Both the con men and their victims are portrayed candidly. Because of this, human nature becomes part of the equation.  

Even if viewers are already acquainted with corporate greed, this show gives a more fleshed out picture of it. For instance, while most people are familiar with Martin Shkreli’s absurd HIV medication price hike, “Drug Short” shows this to be only a more glaring example of a larger trend.

As long as pharmaceutical companies have monopolies on life saving medication prices with the freedom to raise prices, insurance prices will be determined by opportunistic business men and life saving medicine will only be available to those who can afford it.

The CEO of the massive drug company Valeant openly admits that his first duty is too his shareholder.

The businesses being showcased are often familiar ones, such as Volkswagen, HSBC Bank, and Valeant. The subject matter is therefore more familiar to the viewer, and they are reminded that these businesses are not self-correcting institutions. They are made up of people with their own interests and lapses in judgment.

Because most young people know little about the world of big business, this show can be tedious. Not a casual watch, but if you are interested in some enlightening, and entertaining corporate scandals, this is a rewarding series.

The core message of this show is that businesses are prone to corruption and require oversight. The scandals are heinous enough that the show is more or less bipartisan. Even hardcore libertarians will agree that the businesses and the executives responsible should be prosecuted, at least I hope so.

The only possible flaw with this show is that it makes too little effort to be accessible to average students. Those unfamiliar with the stock market may have only a surface understanding of “Drug Short” or “Cartel Bank.”

The best starting point is the episode “Cartel Bank,” the easiest to understand. If you like it, and are not intimidated by the details, then you should watch “Hard Knox,” the most complicated.

I recommend this show to anyone with a long attention span and an interest in world events, especially relating to business.