Director: Laure DELESALLE

Production: YUZU Productions - Arte France, France, 2014

Français, Anglais VF 82mn - VA 52mn

What is the national debt?

And why has it grown so much in recent years?

Laure Delesalle’s documentary is a fascinating journey inside the tough landscape of the economy and humanizes us.

It tells the history of the sovereign debt since the Middle Ages until today with panache, rhythm and tons of offbeat images.

The direction style is very fast-paced as it talks of the current crisis and takes us towards unexpected solutions to keep the Euro-zone from future crises.

Director's statement

In 2008, we had a very close call, we almost went bankrupt, it was worse than 1929 and we weren’t told.

The “debt machine” was to blame, it keeps on going and instead of creating prosperity, it increases the national debt.

The media talk about it daily, economists on all sides fight about diagnostics as much as about the remedies, European governments are summoned by politicians who play fire fighters during long negotiation nights to balance their budgets and cut spending; the noting agencies keep score, speculators speculate and on the financial markets it’s a game of “tails you lose, heads I win”…

Consequences: Today’s economies are stuck in austerity measures, unemployment gains speed and inequalities are getting worse.

That creates social crises, the political parties that lost credibility are collapsing and we see populism growing all over Europe.

The national debt numbers defy the imagination. And, in spite of speeches that either try to simplify, make us feel guilty or indulge in doom mongering, the economic mechanisms remain opaque, difficult to figure out.

The crisis is also a crisis of confidence.

Each one of us would like to understand, participate in the decision-making, to bring back citizen sovereignty any democracy needs – the national debt is ours, the one our children will have to pay back. But to make these choices, we must be informed.

To be able to decide, we must “know”.


Why we selected this film

A fascinating documentary that takes us inside international finance and the economy.

As the mechanisms of the national debt are explained to us as the history of the various financial events are recounted, leading to the Greek financial crisis, this film helps us –thanks to informed guests – better understand a complex world that sometimes overwhelms us…


Buy green energy

Depending on your region, you may have the option to purchase green energy. 
This can be an important choice for the environment, as standard fossil fuel generated energy emits large amounts of greenhouse gases. 
Nuclear power, on the other hand, creates highly toxic waste. 
Wind turbines and photovoltaic panels, on the other hand, involve significantly less CO2 emissions. Photovoltaic panels, for example, can pay off their CO2 costs in green electricity generated in just three years.

(Fr) Sources et liens utiles

Sorry, this entry is only available in French.


We generate about 300 million tons of plastics a year and we estimate that 8 to 12 million tons end up in our oceans – the equivalent of a garbage truck every minute…

So let’s remember to recycle, refuse products with too much packaging and the ones with microbeads or even pick up trash on the beach.

Consuming less dairy, eggs and meat

Greenpeace recommends a maximum of 12kg of meat issued from eco-friendly breeding farms per year and per person (so, about 230g a week) and 26kg of milk per year and per person (or 1/2L per week).

It’s up to each to switch to a vegan or a vegetarian diet of course, which allows to contribute even more to the collective effort to reduce the consumption of animal products.

Fast fashion

We now have “throwaway fashion”: we buy and throw away garments faster than the planet can absorb.

Within the framework of its “Detox” campaign aiming at fighting the use of toxic chemicals in the textile industry, Greenpeace has published several studies, which denounce the impact of this field on the environment: considerable consumption of energy and drinking water, pesticides to grow cotton, river and farmland pollution, greenhouse gases emissions and some of the world’s most remote areas contamination.


Let’s not forget inhumane work conditions imposed upon textile industry workers, especially in the developing countries.

So, we have to revise our way to “consume” clothes, buy less but of better quality, recycle, trade…

Reduce our electronics waste

Our smartphones, from the moment they are made to when they end up in a mountain of other discarded electronics are a true burden on the environment.

You have no idea how many dangerous chemicals come into the making of your smartphone. For instance, such carcinogenic substances as benzene and n-hexane as well as other just as dangerous substances so, instead of buying the latest model of smartphone that just came on the market, let’s try to keep our smartphones and other appliances longer, or have them fixed.

On a picnic

When going on a picnic, bring along airtight containers for food, flasks and everyday hardware cutlery.

That way there is less rubbish left over at the end of the picnic, which of course will be thrown in the nearest bin, or even better taken home for separating and disposal.

Eat seasonal products

When buying seasonal fruits and vegetables that were not greenhouse-raised, you help in diminishing the energy used in growing them, therefore you’re helping to lessen the impact of farming on the climate.


Download the Greenpeace seasonal fruit, vegetable and cereal calendar:

Limit your exposure to formaldehyde

Wood furniture kits, chipboard wood and some glues may contain formaldehyde, a toxic chemical that should be avoided at all costs.
Make sure you know what kind of materials a product contains before purchasing and whether its best to ventilate the room for a few days after installation.

Buy green energy

Depending on your region, you may have the option to purchase green energy.
This can be an important choice for the environment, as standard fossil fuel generated energy emits large amounts of greenhouse gases.
Nuclear power, on the other hand, creates highly toxic waste.
Wind turbines and photovoltaic panels, on the other hand, involve significantly less CO2 emissions. Photovoltaic panels, for example, can pay off their CO2 costs in green electricity generated in just three years.

Heat loss

Insulating your home stabilizes your indoor temperature and protects you from outdoor temperature changes. It also reduces the need for heating and thereby reduces your enegy costs.
Investing in the energy efficiency of your home can help you reduce your energy costs by as much as 40%.
In adjoining buildings, heat generally escapes through the roof first, then through windows, walls and floors. Make insultaing your roof a priority.

Limit your purchase of electronics

If you're really serious about reducing your CO2 footprint, this is the way to do it. Electronics make up 62% of the greenhouse gas emissions that result from our purchasing habits.
Why is this?
To manufacture just one 2 g computer chip, you need 1,7 kg of fossil fuel, 1 m3 of nitrogen, 72 g of chemicals, and 32 litres of water. For a 750 kg car, you need 1,5 tonnes of fossil fuel—two times the weight of the final product.
For aluminum cans, it's about 4-5 times the weight; it's 6000 times the weight of the 2 g computer chip.

Carpooling: It's better together

If you travel to the same place most days, you're likely to find someone else traveling a similar route. Riding with others reduces the number of cars on the road and allows you to share costs: that's carpooling.
Some businesses post announcements for those seeking a carpool. Maybe could you ask your employer to initiate this service in your company ?
Certain websites allow you to search for a carpool or offer your own ride to others and increase the efficiency of your vehicle.

Choose the train for long distances

An airplane requires six times as much energy as a train for the same distance. A roundtrip flight from Paris to Zurich, for example, emits 300 kg of CO2 per person, compared with only 48 kg of CO2 per person for the same round trip via train.
About 40% of flights travel less than 800 km, which means a distance that would be more efficiently covered by high speed train. The train is also more likely to land you in the center of a city.

Walk more

In the city, many people use cars to travel just 3km or less. These short trips have a big impact, as the 1st km can use 80% more fuel than the average km traveled – for the 2nd km, it's 50% more.
Using a car for short distances is expensive and polluting. Choose a nonmotorized alternative.

Diminishing traditional resources

Traditional energy sources (oil, gas, uranium, carbon) are running out.
These sources aren't renewable, and their reserves are diminishing faster and faster: global consumption has increased by 75% in the past 30 years and doesn't show signs of slowing.
If we don't change our habits, we will surpass our planet's capacity for supplying traditional energy sources in the near future.

Use renewable sources

Once your home is well-insulated and well-equipped, you can go even further by using renewable energy sources – at no cost!
Solar power can heat up to 60% of your daily hot water use or provide 40% of your daily electricity use. You can also capture heat from the soil by using a heat pump.

When you buy imports, choose fair trade

When you can't procure an item locally, choose an import with fair trade origins.

The fair trade label is most often applied to products that you can't produce locally (bananas, chocolate, coffee) and are usually transported by boat, which is less polluting than air travel. The best way to protect the environment, however, is to stick to seasonal, locally produced items.

Ride a bike

Bicycles are economic, quiet, safer for the people around you, faster in the city, and don't pollute or require fossil fuels—plus they're good for your health.

Be wary of promotions

Watch out for "clearance” promotions on fresh foods that might entice you to buy too much . . . and end up throwing most of it away. Certain foods, of course, will last a while in the fridge, but that means you’ll be paying for their keep in energy expenditures. Unless you’re getting something that really will last (jams, preserves), it’s always better to eat fresh foods quickly.

Give your time

• Volunteer with solidarity associations, fair trade activities, or other charitable arenas
• Spread the word on info, news and petitions related to local and international solidarity and how everyone can make a different in their everyday lives
• Work with your school: take charge and build awareness in your school community. You could help your institution become a model for sustainability.
• Take action at work: encourage your employer to choose ecological products from fair trade sources to sell/use/manufacture.
• Make a Facebook group calling on your favorite brand to transition to 100% fair trade
• Write to your preferred brands by posting on their Facebook wall
• Ask your local grocers and storekeepers to offer more fair trade products

Share a vehicule

If you don't need a car everyday, why not share one with a family member, friend or neighbour?
Car sharing can be easy, practical, friendly, and effective.

Adjust settings according to your needs

You can see serious energy savings by adapting your appliances according to your needs.
For example, a hallway doesn't need as strong of lighting as an office or reading room.
Place your living room lighting strategically according to where you are most often seated and in need of light. You can also reduce your energy needs by taking advantage of natural light sources.

Support public transportation

Public transportation can get you anywhere in the city, and has been growing in popularity. Its often faster than a car, less polluting, and avoids the stress of traffic and parking. It also allows you to use your travel time for other occupations, like reading a book or having a conversation.

12 tips for reducing your daily energy consumption

1. Keep your thermostat around 19 or 20C
2. Lower the thermostat to 16C at night or during extended absense
3. Keep your thermostat properly adjusted
4. Turn off the heat during summer or extended absense
5. Defrost your refridgerator and freezer regularly
6. Do your laundry at low temperatures
7. Choose "eco" cycles for washing machines and dishwashers
8. Avoid using a clothes dryer unnecessarily
9. Turn off electronics that aren't in use – avoid standby mode
10. Take a shorter shower
11. Cover the cookware
12. Clean the light fixtures

Buy second-hand

There's nothing like buying second-hand for ensuring the long life of a product.
Many websites allow you to search a plethora of used products that are often still in great shape.

Ban all chemical fertilizers

Many chemical fertilizers contain heavy metals, such as lead, mercury or cadmium. When transmitted through the soil to vegetables, they contaminate the entire food chain. Avoid them at all costs!
Pesticides and insecticides contaminate soil and groundwater via rain runoff.
Their production also consumes large amounts of energy. As these products are dangerous even for the farmers that use them (who risk accidental inhalation or ingestion), their packaging becomes dangerous waste that requires costly and complicated disposal.
There are many natural alternatives.

Favor “Eco-friendly” FSC label wood furniture

The FSC certification is today the most reliable label to guarantee the wood you buy comes from a sustainable management forest. Technically, the label should be seen directly on the wood, it guarantees the chain of transformation has been correctly controlled, from the forest to the finished product, everywhere in the world.

The use of local products will diminish transport, which is a huge energy hog and protect local jobs.

Give your time

• join an animal protection association
• sign internet petitions
• participate in tree planting and reforestation activities with environmental associations

Watch out for palm oil

Palm oil is found as an ingredient in about one out of ten food products sold in Europe (cookies, chocolate, candy, ice cream, sauce, margarine, etc.) It takes 17 m2 of palm plantation to satisfy the annual demand of one French person.
But this crop is responsible for 90% of the deforestation occurring in Malaysia. In Borneo, it has caused the destruction of 1/3 of native forests in 20 years, resulting in significant losses of unique species of both plant and animal. One of these is the orangutan, the "men of the forest", who suffer from loss of forest.
From thousands of miles away, our food purchases are determining the fate of this great ape.
Palm crops are also treated with 25 unregulated pesticides, adding further damage to precious habitats.

Water foot print

We also talk of virtual water. This is calculated by taking into account the volumes of water withdrawn or polluted to produce a product (but not its transportation to where it is consumed).
It takes :
- 1,000 liters of water to produce a liter of milk (water consumed by the cow, animal feed and washing);
- 3,920 liters to produce a kilogram of chicken (30 liters to drink and 6,630 liters to grow its feed (cereals and oils);
- 100 liters to produce a kilogram of cotton (mostly for irrigation);
- 15,155 liters of water to produce a kilogram of beef (120 liters to drink, 35 liters for washing and 15,000 liters to produce the feed the animal consumes.

Don't use disposable products

Always choose washable dishes and silverware. Kick your plastic dishware habit. If you don't have enough plates for a large gathering, borrow a few (they are generally washed up for the same price).

Choose eco-friendly foods

(for example products carrying the “organic” label). The more organic farming gains in popularity and volume, the less greenhouse gases we’ll emit. For instance, pesticides, nitrogen based fertilizers and GMOs can’t be used.

To learn more:

Eat local

Consuming locally produced food reduces the number of intermediaries, shortens highly polluting transportation and contributes greatly to reinforce the economic vitality of our regions.


To learn more:

Have the Amap (Associations to maintain family farming) reflex

These associations maintain a direct link between farmers and consumers.

By subscribing to Amap, the buyer chooses the frequency and quantity of fruits and vegetables they need/wish, then comes to pick them up on a regular basis at one of the network’s POPs.

To find an Amap close to you:

Consume less dairy, eggs and meat

Greenpeace recommends a maximum of 12kg of meat issued from eco-friendly breeding farms per year and per person (so, about 230g a week) and 26kg of milk per year and per person (or 1/2L per week). It’s up to each to switch to a vegan or a vegetarian diet of course, which allows to contribute even more to the collective effort to reduce the consumption of animal products.

Avoid excessive packaging

Too many food products are over-packaged in several layers of material that is often disproportionate to the volume of its contents.
Unpacking three shopping bags generate about one shopping bag full of packaging waste . . . all of which will go straight into the rubbish bin.
You also pay for this packaging: in the case of food products, packaging can account for as much as 20% of the item cost!
We also recommend avoiding single-serving products (cookies, yogurt, drinks, etc.)

Think pulses and dried fruits

They bring you good fats, unlike the meat products’ saturated fats and make you feel full faster.


Eat your leftovers

Do you find vegetable which have lost their freshness to be unappetizing? We don't blame you, but that doesn't mean they can't be eaten! Toss them into a soup for added flavor and texture! Try to use all the veggies hiding in the bottom of your fridge for your soup, certain vegetable leavings, and some old cheese. You'll end up with a delectable soup!

Choose your fish carefully

Today, 90% of commercial marine species are overfished or fished at their sustainable limits… Greenpeace isn’t anti-fishing, but for a type of fishing that affects  the least our planet, fishermen and the balance of our oceans.

That is why it is so important that you choose the fish you buy depending on the species (don’t buy threatened species, be aware of reproduction cycles) but also the fishing techniques (forego the fish caught in a destructive manner).


Check out all our detailed recommendations:


Gabrielle Leininger · Tuesday August 29th, 2017 at 12:41 PM

Je vote pour La Dette car ce film présente bien ce problème qui est à mon avis celui qui plombe le plus notre avenir.

Cécile MARTEAU · Sunday August 27th, 2017 at 03:31 PM

Lumineuses explications! “Pile je gagne, Face le contribuable paye” Tout est dit. Comme Bernard Maris nous manque!

Bennis · Saturday August 26th, 2017 at 04:34 PM

Bon film pour comprendre l’importance de la dette publique, la complexité de sa gestion, les faiblesses de la politique mondiale et de l’UE y afférentes ainsi que les pistes de réflexion pour trouver les efficientes. Bien dommage qu’on n’y trouve aucun lien avec la gestion des ressources naturelles.

Frédé L. · Saturday August 26th, 2017 at 02:55 PM

ce film m’a permis de mieux comprendre ce domaine complexe avec des reflex ions et explications claires quand aux problèmes et aux solutions possibles, il est de plus bien illustré.

Christel · Friday August 25th, 2017 at 04:44 PM

Rip à l’Oncle Bernard! Il faudrait plus d’économistes comme lui. Très bon film et bien expliqué.

Sayat · Wednesday August 23rd, 2017 at 09:08 PM

Ce film est très bien pour comprendre la dette et mais c’est dommage qu’il ne propose aucune solution, ni de horizon, à part la réflexion du non quantifiable qui est effectivement un éléments essentiel de l’économie de demain. Ce qui n’est pas dit non plus et que je trouve très dommage, c’est que la croissance n’est pas une solution et ne l’a jamais été, le PIB n’est pas un indicateur réel de la situation d’un pays. Je vous conseille de lire les recherches de l’économiste Éloi Laurent (OFCE, Science Po et L’université de Standford) et un de ces livres “Notre bonne fortune” , renseignez-vous sur les modèles économique de l’open-source et du libre nous devons mettre le bien être des peuples, de l’environnement et le bien commun au centre de nos stratégies de développement. Si les “chefs d’états” ne sont pas capables de dire non aux banques ou qu’ils ne savent pas comment faire autrement, c’est au peuple, aux collectifs, aux groupes et aux individus de le faire. Ceci n’est pas un commentaire de révolté mais d’un organisé, à bon entendeur salut.

Sébastien · Wednesday August 23rd, 2017 at 08:47 PM

Excellent film!

pierre · Tuesday August 22nd, 2017 at 03:47 PM

Un film intéressant sur la dette , un mécanisme financier qui permet d’asservir des peuples entiers. Comme la loi Giscard en 1973 a confisqué à l’état français le droit d’emprunter à taux 0% à la banque de france pour devoir emprunter à des taux importants sur les marchés financiers. L’état doit ainsi emprunter chaque année un peu plus pour rembourser les intérêts , avec un budget qui dépasse largement ceux octroyés pour la justice , ou d’autres secteurs. On ne fait qu’enrichir des financiers véreux qui quand ils se trouvent en difficulté comme en 2008 demande aux contribuables de les sauver avec un cynisme incroyable. On rajoute une union européenne et un euro qui ne fonctionnent absolument pas , laissant les petits pays comme la grece dans la ruine totale, des pays du sud de plus en plus en difficultés , des pays de moins en moins industrialisés comme la france et l’italie, une austérité présente partout sauf en allemagne, bref un ratage complet pour les peuples.

RAULT · Thursday July 20th, 2017 at 11:08 AM

en sortir par les économies parallèles

achaillo · Tuesday July 18th, 2017 at 04:38 PM

Film inspirant!

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