Last night I saw an Charles Ferguson’s “Inside Job,” a documentary movie on the Wall Street crisis. It is excellent journalism and excellent cinema. Most people who see this movie will leave it not just angry, but better-informed. Ferguson both names the culprits behind the crisis, and clearly explains the deeper systemic problems.
Ferguson makes the point that there has been no criminal prosecution of financial manipulators, unlike in the lesser savings and loan crisis of an earlier era. Maybe there is not only such a thing as “too big to fail,” but “too powerful to prosecute.” The Charles Keatings of that era had much less clout than the Henry Paulsons of today.
Ferguson does not go easy on the Bush administration, but he shows origins of Wall Street’s capture of the government in the Reagan and Clinton administrations and its continuation in the Obama administration which, as in so much else, continues the Bush policies with many of the Bush appointees.
He shows the conflicts of interest among top economists, who receive big consulting and directors’ fees from the financial industry they supposedly are analyzing impartially. Long ago there was a scandal when radio disc jockeys accepted payola from record companies to play certain records. We ought to be equally scandalized about payola to academics. But in fact, these economists are still treated with respect by officialdom and the press, while the economists whose warnings proved true are still regarded as marginal figures.
Below is a TV interview with Charles Ferguson
Click on Vimeo Interview With Charles Ferguson for a shorter video interview.
Click on An Interview With the Director of “Inside Job” from the New York Times for Charles Ferguson’s account of how “Inside Job” was made.
Click on The economic crisis was an inside job for Kathleen Parker’s review of “Inside Job.”
Click on Rotten Tomatoes for a roundup of reviews of “Inside Job.”