Inside Job: A Glimpse into Wall Street’s Crisis Game Book

Posted on February 23, 2011


By: Aarti Jitender

Picture Courtesy: IMBD

One of the latest and most telling documentaries on the financial crisis, Inside Job, chronicles and connects the numerous events and key players that led to global financial crisis of 2008.

Directed by Charles Ferguson and narrated by Matt Damon, the documentary, which released on Friday, gives a step by step account of the main causes that led to the inevitable collapse of the financial system.

Progressive deregulation, which started in the 1980s, promoted and propagated little oversight which allowed banks to run largely unchecked, get greedy and use risky banking methods.

Inside Job casts blame on a long line-up of players including bankers, regulators, politicians, credit ratings agencies and even academics. It exposes their questionable ethical practices and the conflicts of interest that are raised by the relationship shared by these entities.

Using telling interviews with prominent players and insiders the documentary highlights the problems that plagued the financial system and explains, in layman’s terms, the root causes of the crisis. Ferguson interviews a number of bankers challenging them about the wisdom and ethics of practices such as betting against their own clients.

The documentary also calls into question the mutually beneficial relationship shared between regulators and financial institutions and highlights the problems caused by the revolving door phenomenon. Inside Job focuses on how people who were instrumental in promoting and implementing deregulation policies such as Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers still continue to hold posts at the top levels of govt.

Ferguson also casts a spotlight on the relationship shared between banking institutions and the academic world. He states that banks have infiltrated the education system and accuses academics of being another propaganda tool of banks to legitimize policies that further their cause. The documentary accuses professors of prominent business schools like Harvard and Columbia of not being open about their funding sources especially when some of the studies were sponsored by the very firms and institutes they are writing about.

While the documentary, which was released on Friday in only 22 cinemas, received mostly favourable reviews, it had limited success at the box office bringing in only about £70,375 in revenues over the weekend. Priya Thakral, who watched the film, said she’d been waiting eagerly its UK release after hearing the response it post its release in the US and said she wasn’t disappointed. ‘It was an eye-opening like no newspaper, no magazine, no broadcasting channel ever was.” Fawad Khurshid, a business journalist from Pakistan, also held a similar view saying, “It was a good effort to expose the corruption in the hierarchy of power and it’s surprising that the culprits of the worst crash in history have gone scout free. The movie gives us a clearer picture of who’s responsible.”

Posted in: Film