Friday, May 27, 2011

Documentary: Inside Job, Director Charles Ferguson

An excellent documentary on the 2008 financial meltdown that brought down the world economy. It exhaustively outlines all the factors involved: the massive compensation packages, the lousy debt ratings, malicious financial engineering, lax regulation, outright theft and massive conflict of interest. Anyone who thinks the system is now okay is delusional.

One exchange:

Charles Ferguson interviewing John Campbell, Chairman Harvard Economics Department:

CHARLES FERGUSON: Does Harvard require disclosures of financial conflict of
interest in publications?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Um, not to my knowledge.

CHARLES FERGUSON: Do you require people to report the compensation they’ve
received from outside activities?
CHARLES FERGUSON: Don't you think that's a problem?
JOHN CAMPBELL: I don't see why.
CHARLES FERGUSON: Martin Feldstein being on the board of AIG; Laura Tyson going
on the board of Morgan Stanley; uh, Larry Summers making 10 million dollars a year
consulting to financial services firms; irrelevant.
JOHN CAMPBELL: Hm, ye-, well – yeah; basically irrelevant.

CHARLES FERGUSON: A medical researcher writes an article, saying: to treat this
disease, you should prescribe this drug. It turns out Doctor makes 80 percent of
personal income from manufacturer of this drug. Does not bother you.
JOHN CAMPBELL: I think, uh, it's certainly important to disclose the, um – the, um. Well, I think that's also a little different from cases that we are talking about
here. Because, um – um –

Yeah, right. Whatever faults the medical profession may have, we have not sold our soul for a house in the Hamptons. Ferguson interviews many of the big players and provides lengthy clips of poignant moments. The entire movie is well-done, if you can stomach it.


Hilary said...

As much as I enjoyed" Inside Job", I had to watch it in measured doses as I found myself raging and shouting for prosecution. Also worth watching is the movie currently running on HBO, "Too Big to Fail", which centers on Henry Paulson. It is horrific, especially when, at the end, the crawl reminds viewers that the same conditions exist today that did two and a half years ago since the government hasn't acted to change anything.

Tony said...

Yes, so many of the revelations about the latest financial heist have been maddening beyond belief. If there was any doubt before about who owns this country and runs our lives, there should not be any now. All of us, including our president and the other two branches of govt, are working for our corporate overlords. We are here for them. Sorkin's TBTF is an excellent book (I'll have to look for the movie too), as is Ritholtz' Bailout Nation. Thanks for the comment. BTW, I've read The Devils are Here, by Bethany McLean, on your recommendation. Excellent book, but depressing that all these charlatans (except Mozillo) have so far gone unindicted.