Interview with Charles Ferguson, director of ‘Inside Job’

If you haven’t had a chance yet to see Inside Job, really make the effort to see the film. We went to see it last night and while it was in a smallish room, the seats were pretty full. Inside Job was very well done and in my opinion, does a brilliant job of putting the pieces together from the economic crisis. What’s frustrating is that both parties (as I’ve said many times) are part of the problem. Even more frustrating is the same old path to nowhere that President Obama has followed with these people. I expected much better from him but when he chose Geithner and Summers, it was immediately clear to me that this administration would not break with the past, but churn out more of the same. That was and is highly depressing since this was supposed to be about change.

I recently blogged about Ferguson’s blog on the Huffington Post where he wrote about the American duopoly. As unfortunate and annoying as it is that both parties are part of the problem (from Reagan, to Clinton, to Bush and now Obama) Ferguson does have hope that the public will stand up and force change. I’d like to be optimistic on that but for now, I don’t see it any time soon. In all likelihood the system will see yet another jolt since the underlying problems have not been addressed. Will that be in a year, two years, five or ten? It’s only a matter of time and yes, the next banking crisis will surely be much worse since the “too big to fail” problem has only been made larger thanks to actions by Bush/Paulson and then Obama/Geithner. Maybe change will happen at that time.

As for the film, I was glad to see Ferguson make that point that has bothered me since the beginning which is that not a single person in Washington has ever asked Wall Street to pay back the bonuses that they received on bogus business. It’s an unusual practice in business to not have to pay back compensation that didn’t exist or was removed from the books yet Washington approved this strange behavior. It’s also odd that none of the big boys on Wall Street – and yes, this is a macho, mostly male culture of corruption – have been prosecuted. How do we see trillions disappear yet nobody was guilty? Oh how I recall Bill Clinton defending Goldman Sachs just recently.

Another excellent side of the problem that Ferguson addresses is the dysfunctional link between economists in Ivy League (and beyond) schools and the government justification of Reaganomics that destroyed the economy. For every Roubini or Stiglitz, there are many more Summers or Frederic Mishkin types, for both Democrats and Republicans. These high profile professors provide cover thanks to enriching themselves with flowing dollars from Wall Street. Conflict of interest? Of course, but that’s the modern banking system.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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