Last night, I finally watched Inside Job (Wikipedia | IMDB | Netflix | Amazon), the outstanding 2010 documentary about the global financial crisis that started in 2007. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do. It is the most eye-opening, coherent, and compelling explanation I’ve seen yet of the greed and corruption that caused the meltdown and continue to poison our financial system and government.
I can’t stop thinking about the movie. I had a basic grasp of the subject before, so I wasn’t exactly shocked. But seeing it all laid out so clearly in a two-hour film was enlightening. Not to mention depressing. It’s not a feel-good flick and it doesn’t end on a hopeful note, to say the least.
We are all affected by this crisis, and most of us have contributed to it in some way. Greedy bankers, unethical mortgage lenders, irresponsible consumers, apathetic (non-)voters, craven politicians in both parties, clueless investors, ineffective regulators, brainwashed economists, lying ratings agencies, the lazy “news” media… all have played a part. To quote Denzel Washington’s character, Trip, in the movie Glory: “It stinks bad. And we all covered up in it too. Ain’t nobody clean. Be nice to get clean, though.”
It’s the getting clean part that interests me now. From what I’ve seen so far, I’m not optimistic. If fraud and financial destruction on this scale weren’t enough to put complicit executives in prison, reduce the influence of Wall Street on Washington, and give us meaningful financial reform… I truly don’t know what it will take.