Last weekend my partner and I saw Inside Job (she told me to tell you it was her idea!). This is a recent documentary by Charles Ferguson and narrated by Matt Damon, which covers the 2008 and 2009 Financial Crisis. What I was expecting was an overview of the whole financial crisis, which is exactly what was covered. However the movie was even better! I was most pleasantly surprised with the in-depth research, detail, and interviews of people directly involved. The movie is so much more than a simple historical review, clearly outlining all the layers of complexity, deception, and fraud involved. In the style of Fahrenheit 911, Matt Damon interviews – or at least those willing to be interviewed – some of the people directly involved.
The movie begins with the failing of the Icelandic financial system, and how a relatively robust and prosperous nation ended up on the predatory chain of U.S. Financial conglomerates. The movie then explains deregulation in the financial industry under the Reagan years, and how all the checks and balances placed after the great depression were systematically removed and re-legislated. This essentially allowed banks a carte blanche during the Bush years. This is how investment houses and banks, originally separated after the great depression, became merged into global giants such as Goldman Sachs and AIG.
Inside Job clearly illustrates the entire development of highly leveraged derivatives (CDO’s) that were deceptively wrapped and embedded into global mortgage securities. The movie then examines how rating agencies such as Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s rated these assets AAA (the safest of all ratings). You can only wonder if America created the whole sub-prime market to deliberately infect the world’s banking system, or whether it just comes down to simple greed run amuk. As one of the interviewees calls it – the world’s largest ponzi scheme.
Most disheartening of all is the clearly defined link between the education and financial systems in the U.S. It is quite unnerving how easily educators and universities became usurped directly into policies dictated by American financial oligopolies. One thing is certain – everyone has a price.
In the end, the most haunting realization from the movie is simply that nothing has changed under the Obama administration. It’s the same policies, companies, and people involved. No regulations were imposed to prevent another 2008. It is also business as usual for the same people – most of whom were largely appointed into the Obama government. Without rules or regulations, nor any accountability or prosecution, the real question is not whether there will be another 2008, but when?
The Dividend Ninja rates Inside Job 5 stars – a must see
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