The 2008 financial crisis cost tens of millions of people their savings, their jobs, and their homes. Narrated by Matt Damon, the movie Inside Job reveals how and why it all happened and the devastating effects it had on not only countries around the world but the American people.
It’s a documentary described as being about “the systemic corruption of the U.S by the financial services industry and the consequences of that systemic corruption” — broken up into five parts, the movie delves into how changes in government policy and banking practices contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.
Filmmaker Charles Ferguson speaks at length with journalists, politicians, and financial leaders about the economic meltdown that hit the United States to reveal an unflinching insight into the deep-rooted corruption that left millions of middle-class Americans jobless and homeless while big corporations received bailouts but still managed to pay millions in bonuses.
One topic that the movie features that many other films have failed to address is the role of academia in the crisis. Ferguson notes, for example, that Harvard University economist, and former head of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan, Martin Feldstein, was a director of the insurance company AIG and former board member of the investment bank J.P. Morgan & Co. And many of America’s leading professors and leading members of the economics and business faculties often obtained significant proportions of their salaries either as consultants or from speaking engagements.
One example is the current dean of the Columbia Business School, Glenn Hubbard, who received a large percentage of his annual income from consulting and speaking engagements while being affiliated with KKR and BlackRock Financial.
Hubbard as well as current chair of Harvard’s department of economics, John Y. Campbell, deny the existence of any conflict of interest between academia and the banking sector.
Inside Job ends by asserting that despite recent financial regulations, the underlying system has not changed; rather America’s remaining banks are only bigger, while all the incentives remain the same, and not one of the top executives has ever faced prosecution for their role in the causes and effects of the global financial crisis.