Is ailing Greece the start of a new Europe? Alternatives arising from the ruins of the bankrupt growth economy give citizens control over supply and demand. Local and social; a small-scale economy.
Is ailing Greece the start of a new Europe? Will the cradle of democracy also become the cradle of a new economy? One in four Greeks is out of a job, the youth unemployment rate is approaching 60%, and the purchasing power of the average citizen has declined by 30%. But that is exactly what forces us to think out of the box. For from the ruins of the bankrupt growth economy rises a practicable alternative. The “potato movement” guides the way to a revolutionary new model, that is co-facilitated by the government. Local, social and elusive to futures and distributive trade. In the “no middleman” economy citizens are in control of supply and demand. After the tragedy of the old euro model, modern Greece stages a different economy: that of the smallest unit. Is this where the new Europe is built from the bottom up?

Originally broadcasted by VPRO in 2013.
© VPRO Backlight September 2013

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Director: Alexander Oey
Research: William de Bruijn
Research Greece: Nikolas Leontopoulos
Camera: Jackó van ‘t Hof
Sound: Rik Meier, Jillis Schriel, Dimitris Vlachos
Editor: Chris van Oers, Jaap de Goede
Re-recording mixer: Marco Vermaas
Color grading: Ronald van Dieren
Producer: Jenny Borger, Helen Goossens, Marie Schutgens
Commisioning editor: Henneke Hagen, Frank Wiering
English, French and Spanish subtitles: Ericsson.
French and Spanish subtitles are co-funded by European Union.



  1. Need to cut amounts down. When 300 000 dollars turn into 3000. Mint coins again. Get rid of credit. And realize that a materialistic society isn't a good one. Really what most people need is place to stay, food, garments.

  2. Greece, Spain, France and Italy is living on its agro and tourisme, it is not that that hard to survive without industry if your population is relatively small.
    The industry particularly 21st century industry does not favor Europe at all, everyone should be busy to build alternatives now.

  3. Very interesting! Also to realise with which words and manipulations Alexis Tsipras has created the road to govern and to become an even worse model of the type of politician that he was criticising to find voters. The country is not what the economist Tomas Sedlacek was expecting, or hoping, no, Alexis Tsipras has stepped from the ideological into the disastrous way of thinking, the one Tomas Sedlacek with reason analyses as wrong, not working, and breaking down democracy.

    Also sad to realise that the cheques the man showed as payment, so many euros, have become worthless in the meantime: nobody, or hardly anybody, can cash them in, because the surplus of accounts on the banks have gone down to zero, or below zero.
    Would like to see a following up video, with the same people, to see how it is going there, with their work, in 2017.

  4. This is bad propaganda!! Greek people have been devastated and greek public property has been stolen, and with this documentary you blame it all on the society and the people. It is the systemic banking and EU corruption to blame, not the people ! WAKE UP !!

  5. Debts are sacred and you have to pay them so this process and situation will still affect your country but it is nice and fantastic to know that people there are finding ways to survive and to overcome the crisis. I have visited Greece twice recently and I really like your country.

  6. Interesting, but ultimately it is about risk and and consequences. The big problem with Greece is that it was obviously risky to loan them large amounts of money long before the economic crisis. This was a financial and political risk that big lenders such as Germany and its major banks took. Then, the bubble burst and it turned out that it was inconvenient for that risk to have consequences for anyone. It was inconvenient for Greece, which could not afford to have its government and economy collapse. And it was inconvenient to the big lenders and their governments (which you can't really see separately) that would prefer not to see hundreds of billions in bad loans evaporate from their books overnight. Also it was inconvenient for the EU to deal with a chain effect of Greece and other struggling countries to remove themselves from the EU. So more risk was taken to avoid all of that in repeated rounds of loans, money printing, and renegotiated loans that were defaulting.

    I would argue, that allowing the banks to get away with this sets us up for future failures. And failing to restructure the loans for Greece sets that country up for decades of misery, until they finally pull the plug on the euro, devaluate, and get rid of their debt that way. This is inevitable unless something changes. The current loan structure makes no sense whatsoever; it basically involves people who haven't even been born yet paying off debts of their grand parents throughout their lives via taxes and living in a crippled economy because of it. I think it is a matter of time before the Greek decide that that they are not interested in doing that.

    The way out is of course the political decision to spread out the risk of this over time (more loans) combined with a unpopular but very necessary implementation of actual consequences for the banks: debt restructuring with a goal of nursing the Greek economy back to something sustainable. Banks took the risk lending money to a rather desperate and hopeless Greece and they lost their money (or rather our money, because banking is all about dodging responsibility and accountability). They should have known better. and some of them probably deserve to go bankrupt because they didn't. It is likely this cost will eventually be absorbed by tax payers across the EU; as it should. Though I'd definitely vote to let their shareholders suffer in equal measure: this risk was taken on their behalf. But we all collectively backed the governments that backed the banks that did this, and the pension funds, and all the rest. One way or another, we all end up paying.

  7. Is this a 2013 production?! It's such a powerful and great story, I wonder why it took so long to be released! It is very similar to the Blockchain concept but in the real world – revolutionary.

    Also, must commend the amazing documentaries coming out much more regularly in the past 3-4 months. A lot of them seem to be produced much earlier but only released now, why is that so?


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