Ariella DabushMLAN 2015Final Essay Narcos and The Big Short Netflixseries, Narcos and movie, The Big Short take place in verydifferent settings. Narcos takes place in Columbia in the 1970s through1990s. Narcos focuses mainly on the informal economy. The informaleconomy consists of jobs, sales and markets that aren’t regulated by thegovernment. The Big Short takes place in America in the early 2000s andfocuses on the formal economy.
The formal economy is regulated by thegovernment and for the most part legal. Although the story lines are verydifferent, there is something they have in common. Money leads to larger impactcriminality. As we see in both, the more money Escobar and the men of TheBig Short have, the greedier they become. As their greed increases, as wellas their money, their impact increases. The crimes started off small,nationally and directly. As the men gain more money, greed and power, theiractions begin to impact more people indirectly.
The men of The Big Short and Escobar symbolizemoney differently. Escobar symbolized money with power. In Columbia, most ofthe people surrounding Escobar are poor. The more money Escobar had, the morepowerful he becomes. The men of The Big Shortwork in the financial district. Therefore, they are surrounded by similarlifestyles and incomes. Although, the more money they had the more power theygain, their level of power was not as drastic as Escobar. In Narcos, money determined social class.
In The Big Short, they were all apartof the same middle/upper class. Money was symbolized as a numbers game for themen. In the financial district money is constantly flowing, it becomes a game.
In the beginning of Narcos, the crimewas national. Escobar was mostly selling cocaine in Colombia. In the firstepisode, “Descenso”, Escobar smuggles cocaine past the D.A.S.,Colombia’s intelligence agency.
The smuggling of cocaine begins only inColumbia. As the series continues, the crimes get bigger and more people areinvolved. The more money Escobar has, the more of an impact he is able to make.
Escobar begins to smuggle the drugs into America, therefore having impacts onthe American people. As the series continues, Escobar becomes more powerful andis able to have people do his dirty work. In episode 6, “Explosivos”Pablo recruits a young man named Jaime.
Escobar assigns Jamie to blow up anairplane that Gaviria, the presidential candidate, will be on. Jamie ends upblowing up the airplane, killing one hundred and seven innocent civilians. In The Big Short, Michael Burry, andlater a few other men, realize the housing market is being backed by subprimeloans. This means people are paying back less. Burry predicts there will be agiant crash in the housing market.
He uses this knowledge to go to many banks andshorts stocks. Shorting stocks is a way to make money off of the misfortune ofothers. Burry gets greedy and buys a billion stocks in multiple banks. Aspeople got a hold of the information, others, such as Mark Baum, CharlieGeller, and Jamie Shipley, also started to short stocks. These men becamegreedy, they went to Las Vegas to meet with bankers and try to get as manyshares as possible. When they go to Las Vegas, Ben Rickert really emphasizes thesize of impact. As Jamie and Charlie are celebrating the biggest deal they havemade, Rickert quickly informs them of the truth.
“You just bet against theAmerican economy”, he then continues, “if we are right, people will lose homes,people lose jobs, people lose retirement savings, people lose pensions”. Althoughthe men will be profiting, “every time there is a 1% increase inunemployment, 40,000 people die”. There is a large amount of fraud in ourbanks, government and education systems. Some may profit off of the fraud, butthere is a large indirect impact on the American people.
In The Big Short and Narcosmoney shapes the representation of criminality. In Narcos, the more money Escobar obtained, the worse his actions gotand the more he was demonized. As Escobar increased his income, his crimes wereworsened.. However, in The Big Short, the men were perpetrating fraud ona massive level. The men of The Big Shortweren’t demonized such as Escobar. The men of The Big Short were justseen as outsmarting a corrupt housing market.
The men outsmarted the banks,mortgages, loans and stocks. Escobar was making money from illegal substances, whereasthe men in The Big Short were makingmoney legally. They were just betting on the failure of the economy. Moneyhad a large impact on both of Narcosand The Big Short. As incomeincreased, so did the impact of the crimes. The severity of the crimesincrease, as well as the number of people impacted. ReferencesNarcos.
First Season. Netflix Series. Director: JosePadilha. 2015 TheBig Short. Film.Director: Adam McKay.