I finally watched the (Oscar-winning) documentary Inside Job, “the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008” (that continues today). The film’s conclusion (spoiler alert!): we have a “Wall Street government,” and have since the 1980s, which disproportionately serves the beneficiaries of the financial sector, often at the (very literal) expense of everyone else.
While I had been meaning to watch Inside Job for a while, something always delayed me from doing so. Now that I’ve watched it, I realize what it is: the disturbing reality of our embedded “financial-industrial complex,” which, unfortunately, has not changed at all under the Obama Administration.
As the film’s writer, director and producer Craig Ferguson notes,
“When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he had a truly unique opportunity to change the history of the United States. With his mandate and a heavily Democratic Congress, he could have restored financial sanity and economic fairness to America. It is a huge tragedy that he failed to seize this opportunity.”
The recession, like the economy itself, is a(n unnecessarily?) complicated construction, which leaves most of us yawning at mysterious words like “derivatives,” and usually keeps our inadequate understanding mired in an alphabet slew of CDOs and CDCs and MBSs and so forth, that read like so much gobblygook.
What can be done about an economy that still relies too heavily on financial companies that are still “too big to fail” when our regulating agencies are still run by politicians who are still too connected to Wall Street? Not enough not quick enough, unfortunately. But, as with most issues of social change, a little understanding usually goes a long way. Watching Inside Job is a very effective two-hour crash course in the corrupt relationship between our political and economic systems. And as G.I. Joe famously noted, “Knowing is half the battle.”
In the meantime, check out the film’s website, which has extensive information on the history leading up to the crisis, tons of detail on the crimes and corresponding fines that have chronically littered Wall Street throughout the years, and a very useful glossary for busting through the litany of financial-speak jargon.