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Forum » Additional Suggested Movies » Unit 6 » Inside Job
Inside Job
LunowDate: Thursday, 2011-11-24, 9:59 AM | Message # 1
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From filmmaker Charles Ferguson comes this sobering, Oscar-winning documentary that presents in comprehensive yet cogent detail the pervasive and deep-rooted corruption that led to the global economic meltdown of 2008. Through unflinching interviews with key financial insiders, politicos, journalists and academics, Ferguson paints a galling portrait of an unfettered financial system run amok -- without accountability. Actor Matt Damon narrates. - from Netflix

If you ever wanted to know why the 99% are angry at the 1%, this is the movie for you. Academy Award winner Matt Damon narrates. It is a high quality documentary that won the Oscar for the best documentary. I highly recommend it.

The Unit 6 that we study is all about Industrialization and Development. We focus on the way that the Industrial Revolution changed the way people live and work, as well as the new spatial arrangement that resulted from this revolution (i.e. how we now live in cities and have a majority of the population not involved in food production).

These changes have been enormous for us as a species. Globalization has added a new dimension to industrialization, and we now have something known as the new international division of labor. This refers to outsourcing, as multi-national companies from More Developed Countries (MDCs) have closed factories in their home countries and opened new factories in Less Developed Countries where the cost of labor is cheaper. This has led to a new world economy and had drastic consequences for people all over the world.

The nature of our American economy has also changed over time. About a hundred years ago, the brightest and best Americans were starting businesses and helping create our capitalist economy. A little later, the Great Depression of the 1930s saw our best minds being attracted to Washington, D.C. to help create a new society for our country. The changes these people made to our socio-political culture helped set the stage for our economic dominance after World War II (together with the fact that our main competition - Western Europe and Japan - lay in tatters). Government invested in education (like the U.C. system in CA) and our brightest and best minds went into studying scientific subjects and helped establish us as the world leader in science and innovation.

The 1980s saw another fundamental shift in American society. Government was seen as an impediment to business, and a new emphasis on "getting government out of business" was ushered in. Controls on the economy that had been put in place during the Great Depression were slowly stripped away, and regulations that had existed for half a century were ended. The American economy transformed. The greatest transformation was in the financial sector (banking and investment firms).

Until the 1980s, banks were seen as institutions that facilitated manufacturing. People believed that wealth was created by manufacturing goods (making things in factories). Banks made loans to businesses and were generally seen as an important role-player in the industrial economy. However, after the 1980s, that started to change. Banks were gradually allowed to become businesses that made profits by making high-risk gambles. Starting in the 1990s the government gradually eased the laws that constrained the rules governing banks. The financial sector (that had previously facilitated industrial development) became an industry in itself.

The brightest and best American minds no longer went into science and technology (partly because the government had stopped funding university study and new students were faced with astronomically high tuition costs and so chose to work in an industry that paid the best - by now the financial sector). The brightest and best minds were being hired by financial institutions to create and manage increasingly complex financial transactions. The industrial economy in the country collapsed (as factories were shut down here and transported to LDCs) and the financial sector started to account for most of our economic growth.

We essentially moved from manufacturing things (in factories) to manufacturing paper in the form of ever-more complex financial transactions. More and more paper was being produced. This was then tied into a housing bubble that started in the early 2000s and became known as the subprime mortgage scheme with derivative transactions being made in increasingly irresponsible ways.

This movie does an outstanding job of chronicling the evolution of our economy from an industrial base to a financial base. I highly recommend this documentary.
 
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