Inside Job: The Movie

The rise of Michael Moore in recent years has been quite a phenomenon. Some perhaps thought in the 1950s that they had seen the last cinema-style documentary. However, Mr Moore made the genre popular again, in an age when the rest of Hollywood is happiest when stripping cartoons out of the Marvel Comics stable and turning them into 3-D movies, with such entrancing dialogue as this:

Chisel-Faced Marine Sergeant: Is that clear?

Hapless Recruit on some kind of Personal Mission: Crystal.

Whatever you think of Mr Moore, and his films, he has at least enabled the expansion of the documentary movie, and perhaps cleared the path for the production and distribution of the following examination of the financial industry, Inside Job — as directed by Charles H. Ferguson — which you might want to try and catch over the next few months, in one format or another.

Here’s the trailer:

You might also be interested in a ‘Financial Sense’ interview with one of the main contributors to the movie, which you can find here:

The other movie documentary I’ll be trying to see, this year, is of course about the legendary Ayrton Senna, but that’s a topic for a different web site.

13 Comments

  • Tom Burroughes says:

    To be honest, Michael Moore’s films are so tendentious that I would sooner, as Jeremy Clarkson might put it, eat my own hair than watch the output of this dishonest waste of DNA. Sorry.

  • Ted says:

    Thanks for posting this masterpiece

  • Ted says:

    Tom ….. Have you seen the film, If you have then fair comment but if you haven’t then please go and see it,rent it or buy it and then come back and post your thoughts.
    It made my jaw hit the floor when I saw it.

  • chef says:

    The bankers would never have been able to get away with it if they weren’t simultaneously enriching America’s home-owning elite. Then, when it all goes pear-shaped middle America wants to turn around and blame Alan Greenspan, while ignoring the $100,000 “capital gain” on their primary residence.

    There’s a simple choice, we can have an economy where production is rewarded OR we can enrich parasites and encourage rent-seeking, but not both.

    Banker bashing may feel good in a pantomime villain sort of way, but it doesn’t actually solve the core problem: high house prices due to a monopoly of supply.

    • mrg says:

      “America’s home-owning elite” ?

      Have you seen the price of houses in the US these days? You don’t have to be a member of some secretive elite to own your own home.

      Do you have any statistics to back up your apparent assumption that Americans are living a feudal nightmare?

      And is the picture really that much worse in the UK? House prices are ridiculous, yes, but we don’t have what I’d call a home-owning elite. Just lucky people from a previous generation, who got on board before the ladder disappeared skyward.

      • Current says:

        Also, in Britain now the main reason prices are so high is planning restrictions. It’s nothing intrinsic to the housing market or land market.

        • chef says:

          This is simply untrue, if all the land in the UK was granted planning a m2 of land in London would still be far more expensive than a m2 of land in Leeds, Newcastle or Hull.

          You couldn’t say the same about Ford Fiestas or Mars Bars for example, it’s a trait that’s unique to land.

          • Current says:

            I didn’t say that all the land would be worth the same. My point was that housing would generally by much cheaper.

            As I said earlier when discussing this topic… A house in London (for example) is not the same good as a house in Hull (for example). It may be entirely physically similar but that doesn’t make it the same economic good. It’s proximity is critical to it’s value. Because if it were in London then many economic opportunities are close by.

            This is how the economics of complementary goods works. It’s not a matter of how much a good is worth by itself, it’s a matter of how much a good can raise the value of other goods by.

      • chef says:

        Most (all?) banking systems are reliant on debt and the housing “market” provides that in abundance, if housing prices were systematically lowered then the banking system would be a lot smaller, defaults would be containable and bonuses would be such an issue.

        Most home-owners like the fools gold of rising house prices though, so they have to accept all the baggage that comes with it.

        The only way we can slay this dragon once and for all is to sacrifice the housing market by taxing out any surplus, but most people aren’t prepared to pay this price. All I’m saying is if that’s the case just don’t around blaming bankers for all our problems, they’re a symptom of a sick system, not the cause

  • socrates says:

    Watched it and loved the way it exposed the complicity and ignorance of the perpetrators the people at the wheel so to speak….but did not quite like the solutions proposed!

    We need our own documentaries. Toby Baxendale and Andy Duncan, please amass all austrians and together, through donations ….we can finance our own Austrian interpretation of events. We cannot continue to be on sidelines, watching and commenting on other people’s work. We should be the first on the crime scene, explaining to the masses before it hits the airwaves….wait a minute!! That’s what we’ve been doing all along. The only problem is we’ve been underground, let’s go “bieber” or “charlie Sheen” mainstream. We have been warning about all this, …so let’s take it mainstream on our own before the events unfold and inform the public.

  • chef says:

    Current, you’ve hit the nail on the head there. “Housing” prices reflect the level of utility offered by the location, that’s exactly why widespread planning would have zero effect. In areas with little opportunity house prices will continue to be low while more affluent locations will *always* charge a premium, planning just feeds into this existing mechanism. It wouldn’t reduce prices.

    All it would do is had out windfall gains to large landowners as their land shot up in price by hundreds of %.

    • Current says:

      Current, you’ve hit the nail on the head there. “Housing” prices reflect the level of utility offered by the location.

      Yes. In a large part it does.

      that’s exactly why widespread planning would have zero effect. In areas with little opportunity house prices will continue to be low while more affluent locations will *always* charge a premium, planning just feeds into this existing mechanism. It wouldn’t reduce prices.

      I disagree. You are presuming here that all of the sites that have value due to their location have already being built on. If that were the case then there would be no demand for expansion of green belts and reductions on planning restrictions. This demand exists exactly because there is such a demand.

      In the village where I grew up in North Yorkshire houses are quite expensive, this is locational value to some degree because the village is quite a nice place. However, there is a supply side effect too, the village has a strict green belt. If planning restrictions were loosened then more houses could be built and the price paid for houses (new and existing) would fall. A locational premium would still exist certainly, but it would be lessened.

      All it would do is had out windfall gains to large landowners as their land shot up in price by hundreds of %.

      Not necessarily. I fear that government policy will have this effect because they will not loosen planning restrictions in a general enough manner. But, I don’t think that it must have that effect. There are a great many places where there is a great amount of available building land and only planning restrictions stand in the way of it being used. In these cases if planning laws were made more reasonable then house builders could pick and choose sites, and for that reason plot prices would not rise.

      As I said above plot prices do depend on the locational advantages (which is a demand effect), but they also depend on shortages driven be regulation (which is a supply effect). If the later were tackled and supply were to expand then prices would fall.

      You are writing as though only demand matters, which is strange because in other arguments you’ve claimed that only supply matters.

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