Inside JobINSIDE JOB—A documentary
Business, Ethics and Governance 18 September 2011
Suzanne M. Chevalier
Inside Job is a documentary written and directed by Charles Ferguson, and narrated by Matt Damon. The film chronicles the economic collapse of 2008 and the events which led up to it. The film is divided into five parts; 1) How We Got Here, 2) The Bubble, 3) The Crisis, 4) Accountability, and 5) Where We Are Now. The parts of the film come together to uncover the corruption of government, regulatory bodies, financial institutions and academia, which resulted in the biggest financial meltdown in the U.S. since the Depression and the first global recession in history. This paper will examine the film’s parts and analyze the moral, ethical, and regulatory lapses that were years in the making.
Part 1: How We Got Here
Until 1980, the financial industry was relatively stable. Investment banks had primarily been small private groups of individuals who invested their own money on riskier investments and as a result closely monitored their investments. In the 1980’s, investment banks went public, which meant they had access to the public’s money to invest in these riskier ventures—since it wasn’t their own money, there was not the same close monitoring. Deregulation allowed for the comingling of government, investment bankers, and lobbyists. In 1981 the CEO of Merrill Lynch was appointed Treasury Secretary by Ronald Regan. Deregulation allowed the financial industry to explode and for those in power to make more and more money. The powers of Wall Street were invading government with the intent to change policy to their benefit.
Deregulation resulted in the S & L crisis and losses of $124 billion to investors, and the 2001 dot-com meltdown with $5 trillion in losses. Investment bankers used public money to enrich themselves, without concern for the consequences to the public. The level of criminality in the financial services industry...