Tag: Charles H. Ferguson

Inside job

The shocking documentary film about the global financial crisis.

I’m sure many have already see the film Inside Job but we only watched it a few nights ago.  Here’s the trailer.

The film is also available to watch on Top Documentary Films and is summarised on that website thus:

As he did with the occupation of Iraq in No End in Sight, Charles Ferguson shines a light on the global financial crisis in Inside Job.

Accompanied by narration from Matt Damon, Ferguson begins and ends in Iceland, a flourishing country that gave American-style banking a try – and paid the price.

Then he looks at the spectacular rise and cataclysmic fall of deregulation in the United States. Unlike Alex Gibney’s fiscal films,Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Casino Jack, Ferguson builds his narrative around dozens of players, interviewing authors, bank managers, government ministers, and even a psychotherapist, who speaks to a culture that encourages Gordon Gekko-like behavior, but the number of those who declined to comment, like Alan Greenspan, is even larger.

Though the director isn’t as combative as Michael Moore, he asks tough questions and elicits squirms from several participants, notably former Treasury secretary David McCormick and Columbia dean Glenn Hubbard, George W. Bush’s economic adviser.

Their reactions are understandable, since the borders between Wall Street, Washington, and the Ivy League dissolved years ago; it’s hard to know who to trust when conflicts of interest run rampant.

If Ferguson takes Reagan and Bush to task for tax cuts that benefit the wealthy, he criticizes Clinton for encouraging derivatives and Obama for failing to deliver on the promise of reform. And in the category of unlikely heroes: former governor Eliot Spitzer, who fought against fraud as New York’s attorney general (he’s the subject of Gibney’s documentary Client 9).

Sony have available on their website a useful study guide.  It appears to be written with students in mind but there is much valuable background information there for all.  The guide, in pdf, may be seen here.

It would all have been worthwhile, if that’s the correct term, if we had seen effective regulatory responses from strong governments but, as the film points out, the millions of people on the receiving end of harsh, downward adjustment of personal wealth are still waiting.

Meanwhile, Europe continues to bleed, American housing is still trending downwards and the real effect of the Japanese earthquake is far from clear.

We are living in interesting times!