‘You must learn lessons from history, otherwise you might be condemned to repeat its mistakes’. Martin Armstrong, the economist wrongly incarcerated for 12 years on the basis of ‘civil contempt’, takes this a step further. The developer of the Economic Confidence Model, he claims that the rise and fall of a nation can be predicted by his formula. It was Armstrong’s inventing and withholding of this model from the American government that compelled the authorities to imprison him for over a decade.
Armstrong is portrayed as a phoenix emerging out of the ashes, reincarnated post-incarceration to warn against the US government’s incessant borrowing of money. Armstrong’s model’s strength was affirmed when he managed to predict the crash of 1987 to the day. His latest ventures include anticipating the fate of the Euro and the bleak economic future of the next five years.
Even though the story itself is interesting, it is frustrating to see the material arranged into such an inaccessible and often bland narrative. Armstrong’s story is told in an unashamedly one-sided manner, and the documentary itself appears to require a prior knowledge of the international economic affairs of the past three decades. The talking heads do change location; one describes his tale from the front seat of a car, and another emerges from the sea with small dog. This is about as inventive as the presentation of information gets.
However, Armstrong not only serves as a prophet of modern-day economy, but the victim of a deeply corrupt bureaucracy. Therefore this story is undeniably important, and deservedly told. As for Armstrong’s latest predictions? Only time will tell.