Saturday, June 11, 2011

Inside Job

I know I only recommend movies when they are out on DVD--not a big fan of theaters, honestly--but if you haven't seen it yet, you absolutely must rent Inside Job, the documentary about the 2008 financial meltdown. It comes from the same director that created the fantastic No End in Sight.

Inside job does an excellent job explaining the counter intuitive and completely batshit policies and practices that lead to the crisis that began in 08 and still continues on today. There are a lot of shocking revelations in the film--one specifically having to do with leading business and finance professors is particularly upsetting--but the worst part of all is how cyclically corrupt the system of finance and government were, are, and will probably always will be. For a cold-eyed cynic, I found the revelation of never ending, self-serving fraud sickening, disheartening, infuriating.

As a larger issue, it made we wonder why it's never occurred to anyone to make financial intelligence a 4-year required course in high school. I'm not pessimistic enough to believe the US government prefers to keep the masses stupid enough to be led by the nose. That level of distrust would be...criminal? But I do believe that people should be forced to understand finance, from the basic to the complex. We should all understand how to balance our checkbooks, manage our 401ks, get a sensible loan, and ferret out a back-stabbing, government backed Ponzi scheme that makes the top 1% richer and everyone else poorer. At the very least we should all have to watch this movie.

It seems awfully stupid for a government to continue to spit-paste fixes to the financial system for nothing more than show when instability caused by this kind of financial fraud can bring down governments and the societies they are meant to protect. If someone could explain this logic to me, please do.


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