Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Inside Job"

"Inside Job"  now playing at the Pickford Cinema is a draining film to watch: the real life nightmare of the economic collapse plays out before your eyes.  The film recited, to full house this Saturday night, the detail, players and outlines of the  economic collapse. The film mercilessly impugns the financial logic and intentions of the United States Government and the financial regulatory and capitalist institutions that comprise Wall Street. There have been a number of significant authors that have described the causes and consequences of  the recent economic collapse [1].  However this film, narrated by Matt Damon, succeeds in indicting the intentions of government and capitalism with a certainty and bombast that makes Michael Moore's documentaries look downright friendly.

Producer Charles Ferguson, who also did  No End In Sight: The American Occupation of Iraq, gets a lot of important people to talk: Franks, Lagarde, Spitzer, Soros, Strauss-KahnVolcker, etc.  The film, wittingly or not, drives home these conclusions:
  • that the economic crisis was not an accident
  • that those few in charge understood the dynamics of bubble economies and so
  • structured their business models to profit from the "pump and dump" of economic growth and collapse
This amazingly simple but radical argument makes the United States government and the financial community guilty of planning its own economic collapse. The question the film doesn't answer is: Why would someone or some group do this? Only conspiratorial answers stream to mind: to afford paying for wars without affecting the prosperity of the middle classes (at least in the short term), to bring down the economic health of world for purposes of social control, to commit economic sabotage against the working and middle classes and China, to centralize all banking to government controlled institutions, to bankrupt the USA, etc.  Having asserted that the collapse was no accident, the film doesn't go on to provide any clear answers for motive. It does, however, effectively document the gains the "top 1%" made at the expense of everyone else because of the crisis. "Inside Job" plays at least through Thursday at the Pickford. Apparently, the film's reception at Cannes marked it as potential Oscar material.

[1] Engdahl, KleinLewis, Nocera, Prins, RajanReich, RoubiniScheer, Stiglitz, Taibbi  to name just a few such authors that have written books on the collapse. My favorite author, Doug Noland, has been writing a column about credit bubble economics for years. See also the film "Plunder: The Crime of Our Time" by Danny Schechter.

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