|"Inside Job" starts not on Wall Street but in Iceland, a nation whose problems turn out to be the world's in microcosm. How did this small country, with a gross national product of $13 billion, end up with bank losses of $100 billion? The privatization of the three largest banks led to a borrowing spree that led to disaster.
|In the United States, Ferguson explains, after more than 30 years without a financial crisis, things began to change in 1981. A group including Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan (who was ideologically opposed to regulation) and both Republican and Democratic Treasury secretaries including Donald T. Regan, Robert E. Rubin and Lawrence H. Summers made deregulation the way things were going to be.
|When complex, potentially dangerous financial instruments called derivatives came into vogue, unsung heroes, like government official Brooksley Born, pushed strenuously for their regulation, but the powers that be were so opposed that in 2000 Congress passed a bill specifically prohibiting that from happening.
|Derivatives made it possible for banks that made housing loans to minimize their risk if there was a failure to repay, which helped in subprime mortgages. Then financial institutions combined these risky loans and made them seem as reliable as government securities, which of course they were not. Using the notorious credit default swaps, these firms were able to both sell those unreliable securities to gullible clients and also bet that they were going to fail. It was, as Laurel and Hardy might have said, a fine mess.
|Narrated by Matt Damon, the film demystifies the complex mechanisms that led to millions of home and job losses. Ferguson examines how politicians dismantled regulations enacted after the Great Depression, how Wall Street escalated its high risk behaviour and how Ivy League business schools neglected to challenge dangerous trends.
|As Ferguson makes clear, nothing substantial has changed since the crisis. The same people are still in power and the same systems are still in place. So, yes, prepare to get angry. But that’s not enough; we also need to get wiser. Inside Job helps us do both.
|"It is my hope," he writes in a director's statement, "that after seeing this film we can all agree on the importance of restoring honesty and stability to our financial system, and of holding accountable those who destroyed it." It's a statement that, like this exceptional film, is hard to argue with.
（China.org.cn Wendy 译）