INSIDE JOB: A documentary that will surely launch the Economic Crisis of 2008's own Truther movement
From Academy Award® nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson ("No End In Sight"), comes INSIDE JOB, the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia. Narrated by Academy Award® winner Matt Damon, INSIDE JOB was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.
If there is just one finance blog I would consider required reading to understand the depth of corruption in Wall Street, it is naked capitalism. It was created by Yves Smith, the author of ECONNED: How Unenlightened Self-Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism.
In her book she describes how going back to the 1970s, there was a push by free-marketeers to use Economics, not Finance, to not just create policy but to develop the trading tools that has created the hydra of the 1980s S&L and the current banking collapse, the sub-prime mortage orgy and the derivatives unicorn and rainbows markets.
Smith is ruthless when it comes to denouncing Economics as a discipline that is not qualified to provide policy advice and she has no problems calling out free-marketeers as looters. To say I deeply admire the breath of her financial knowledge and her fearless activism is to put it mildly.
It's why, when she says a documentary about the crisis is good, I take notice. From naked capitalism - Inside Job: A Movie Wall Street is Sure to Hate
Inside Job an ambitious picture, clearly aiming to stir public anger and action by showing how criminally corrupt the financial services has become and how it has subverted government and the economics discipline. Despite minor errors and occasional oversimplification, overall Inside Job does an extremely effective job in covering a lot of ground in a compelling manner.
Ferguson got to top figures in government, finance, and academia, which also gives his picture added heft (Full disclosure: I was left on the cutting room floor). And he unearthed some new dirt, such as: Christine Lagarde recounting that Hank Paulson blew off her concerns about the risk of a crisis at a February 2008 G7 meeting, and that she found out about the Lehman bankruptcy only after the fact; Dominique Strauss-Kahn of the IMF saying that at a dinner of bankers, they were actually asking for more regulation because they recognized they couldn’t restrain themselves (this in the brief window when they feared for their own survival). The now infamous Frederick Mishkin clips, which show him squirming about a paid puff piece he did on behalf of the Iceland Chamber of Commerce not long before the country imploded, has as companion pieces Martin Feldstein saying he regretted none of his decisions as a board member of AIG and AIG FP (!) and Glenn Hubbard, Bush’s chief economic adviser and now Dean of Columbia Business School, getting snippy when grilled about conflicts of interest in his paid consulting work.
In addition to highlighting how the financial services industry has bought and paid for not only considerable political influence but academic endorsement of its favorite causes, it also calls to attention an overlooked factoid I’ve long considered damning: that there was no preparation on behalf of the officialdom for a Lehman bankruptcy. And by “no preparation” I mean not the foggiest understanding of what it meant. Andrew Ross Sorkin made it clear that no one in authority had spoken to a bankruptcy lawyer; Ferguson states they were completely unaware of how disruptive a bankruptcy filing would to Lehman’s London operation. Dean of the bankruptcy bar Harvey Miller (BTW who wears a simply gorgeous suit) recounts how as Lehman’s attorney he warned that a rapid filing would result in armageddon.