Money Heist (La Casa de Papel) is a Spanish Netflix TV show that highlights money supply in the European Monetary Union (EMU). The robbers first conducted an elaborate heist at the Spanish Royal Mint, printing hundreds of millions of euros, then stole gold ingots from the Bank of Spain.
- Clip URL: https://criticalcommons.org/view?m=2IS63tLYQ
- Concepts: Money supply, monetary policy, open market operations, GDP, commodity money, fiat money
- Background: The mastermind of the heist (the “Professor”) argues that the European Central Bank (ECB) “made 171 billion euros out of nowhere” in 2011 and that the public did not call the institution a thief. Instead, the ECB called it “liquidity injection.” The professor also says, “I’m making a liquidity injection, but not for the banks. I’m making it here, in the real economy.” He rips up a banknote, explaining to inspector Raquel Murillo that “it’s nothing, it’s paper.” In Part 3 of the TV show, the professor tried to destabilize the economic system by using an airship to scatter 140 million euros above Madrid, in the form of €50 and €100 notes. The people rushed to gather the bills.
- Question 1: What was the intent of the ECB when it created this money? Is it comparable to theft?
- Question 2: Can this also stimulate the real economy?
- Question 3: Why does the professor consider that these notes are “nothing”?
- Clip URL: https://criticalcommons.org/view?m=QduNRprjY
- Concepts: Quantity theory of money, monetary policy, inflation, hyperinflation
- Background: In Parts 1 and 2, the robbers invaded the Royal Mint of Spain, taking hostage 67 individuals, with a plan to print and escape with 2.4 billion euros.
- Question 1: What are the unintended consequences of running the money-printing press? Why can’t the European central bank print a massive amount of money to stimulate the economy?
- Question 2 (Let’s Use Data): Can the professor’s 2.4 billion euros plan create inflation in Europe? Money Heist was released in May 2017. To answer this question, you may use the value of Money Supply M1 for the Eurozone from the FRED website. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MANMM101EZM189S