Let’s be thankful for Charles Ferguson’s fascinating – and infuriating – examination of our country’s 2008 economic collapse, a catastrophe of historic proportions that has affected every American and reverberated around the world.
Who is Charles Ferguson? His credentials include a political science doctorate from MIT, senior fellowship at the Brookings Institute and consulting for Apple, Intel and Xerox. Having previously dissected the Iraq War in “No End in Sight” (2007), Ferguson now tackles an avalanche of complex information and makes it understandable to the rest of us, utilizing actor Matt Damon as narrator.
It begins in a seemingly unlikely place – Iceland – which went from one of the world’s most stable economies to bankruptcy almost overnight, following deregulation. Its GDP was $13 billion; its debt was $100 billion. Why Iceland? Because that country’s dilemma illustrates the same errors, fraud and corruption that led to our own financial meltdown
Ferguson asserts that when deregulation removes the rules, greed and self-interest propel those in a position to exercise power. Given the opportunity to hoard money instead of paying taxes, corporate executives do just that, rather than creating jobs for those in the lower-income brackets. Enabled by the Reagan, Clinton and both Bush administrations, he details how the financial services sector on Wall Street created those complex and dangerous financial instruments that put both the gullible individual investor and banks at risk. What’s most troubling is that most of the primary players remain the same: Timothy Geitner, Lawrence Summers, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, etc. And Ferguson goes even further, skewering the rampant conflict of interest among top economics academicians.
Ferguson concludes: “It is my hope that after seeing this film, we can all agree on the importance of restoring honesty and stability to our financial system, and of holding accountable those who destroyed it.”
Despite the undeniable fact that there are an abundance of ‘talking heads’ with vivid graphic illustrations, on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Inside Job” is an impressively incisive 9 – one of the best investigative documentaries of the year