20 Feb 2011

Charles Feguson's "Inside Job"

I've just arrived in the USA for a conference, and was delighted to find that Charles Ferguson's excellent documentary on the causes and consequences of the 2008 crash - "Inside Job" was available as a movie on the flight over. It is absolutely riveting viewing - I very strongly recommend it. I actually watched it twice, and took notes the second time round.

I'm not the only person who is ecstatic. The film recently one the Directors Guild of America award for best documentary and just got a superb write-up from Philip French in this morning's Observer (Film of the Week).

Ferguson got interviews with dozens of important names including Christine Lagarde (French Minister for the Economy), Dominic Strass-Kahn (Head of the IMF), George Soros (billionaire investor),  Charles Morris (author of "The Trillion Dollar Meltdown" who predicted the catastrophe), Elliot Spitzer (former New York governer), Raghuran Rajan (IMF) to mention just a few. There are no Michael Moore like gimicks, no laughs. It's just a straight, objective, demonstration of the folly of the people who got us into this mess. People like Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers and Hank Paulsen, who all not only did nothing to protect the public, but have actively campaigned for the deregulation that let the genie out of the bottle. Interestingly, it's precisely those people who "declined to be interviewed for the film".

There are literally dozens of well-documented and vital points made during the film. One of the most remarkable is the way Ferguson shows the immorality of academic economists who are paid by the financial sector to give their so-called unbiased advice to Washington. When asked whether there was a difference between their behaviour and a Doctor who recommended to the government that a particular drug was very good without revealing that he was paid by the drug company, the embarrassed failure to reply is incredibly revealing.

Everyone should try to watch this film....  or at least the trailer

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