The global economic crisis of 2008 cost tens of millions of people their savings, their jobs and their homes. Narrated by Matt Damon, Inside Job reveals how and why it all happened and the devastating effects it had on not only countries, but American citizens.
It’s a film 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 documentary explores how changes in government policy and banking practices contributed to the financial collapse.
Throughout Inside Job, filmmaker Charles Ferguson speaks at length with journalists, politicians, and financial leaders in order to offer a clearer picture of the economic meltdown that hit the United States, giving viewers an unflinching look at the deep-rooted corruption that has left millions of middle-class Americans jobless and homeless as the major corporations get bailed out while paying millions in bonuses.
One topic that Inside Job 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. He also notes that many of the America’s leading professors and leading members of the economics and business faculties often obtain large proportions of their salaries from either engaging as consultants, or 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 either acting as a consultant or through speaking engagements. Hubbard was also 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 been prosecuted for their role in the global financial meltdown.
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