Inside Job

I may sound a bit like Noam Chomsky with this one.

Here it is in the simplest terms from Democrat Alan Grayson.

WHY is this not being reported in the media?  i suppose the same reasons Grayson speaks of, such as the complicity of the GOP as well as that other party.  I mean it’s so strange to think that bank robbers go to jail, when the banker robbers –who more or less plundered us all –walk away without any kind of sanction or consequence.

I watched Charles H Ferguson’s documentary Inside Job again on the weekend.  When I saw it at the Toronto International Film Festival in the autumn of 2010 I was impressed.  And I was shocked at how little had happened as of September 2010.  As the film reports: the persons responsible for the various actions that collectively left the world economy in a shambles have so far paid no consequences nor even been called to account.

Inside Job

Inside Job: Charles Ferguson’s academy award-winning documentary

Now, over a year later, there are still no prosecutions underway, unless you count the charges laid against the Wall Street Protesters: individuals who probably feel as I do.

In 1929 the bankers were at least partly responsible for bringing down the economy.  Many people had purchased stocks on margin: that is, by putting down only a fraction of the cost, and then paying using their earnings.  When the stock prices dived in the autumn of 1929, bankers did the worst thing possible.  They called in the debts.  Given that nobody could pay, suddenly the banks themselves were vulnerable.

In 1929 it’s worth noticing how honourable people were, compared to their successors in 2008.  Bankers paid the consequences for their bad judgment.  Where defeated Roman soldiers fell on their swords, and dishonoured samurai committed seppuku, bankers jumped out of windows on Wall St: at least in 1929.

Nowadays? The game has changed.  As Inside Job documents, bankers not only sold risky debt as if it were safe, not only did the bankers profit from bad debt, not only did they play both sides (selling the debt products, as well as insuring them against failure), but in the end, some executives walked away with massive compensation even as the most vulnerable in society, such as pensioners, lost everything, on debt products with triple-a ratings.

It remains to be seen whether the protests on Wall St and elsewhere change the nature of the game.  In a free market society, banks would have taken the consequences for bad choices (even if that would have hurt everyone else as well); alternatively, if banks are rescued by government intervention, one might expect conditions to be attached.  In exchange for the new lease on life ( the mega-billions in bailout funding), one might have expected  regulations.   Wall St financiers are watching the protests outside, hoping that the motley assortment on the street blink first.

With every passing year Ferguson’s achievement via Inside Job looms larger and braver.  And one waits to see what consequence if any may follow.

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1 Response to Inside Job

  1. Pingback: Inside Job « insidejobcompilation

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