Clear explanation of global meltdown

Inside Job 'Former construction worker Steven A. Stephen now living in a tent in Florida
Inside Job 'Former construction worker Steven A. Stephen now living in a tent in Florida

THERE have been plenty of TV programmes on the subject, not to mention acres of newsprint, so that you may feel we could well do without another documentary analysing the global financial crisis.

But Inside Job (Cert 12A) provides a lucid explanation of the causes of the crisis which cost more than $20 trillion and caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression of the Thirties.

Although the film, narrated by Matt Damon, begins with a prologue on the financial meltdown of Iceland, it concerns itself with the American financial industry which is fair enough since it was their sub-prime mortages that burst the bubble that rippled round the world.

For those of us who have never got our heads round the technicalities of all this, the fog clears around such previously impenetrable concepts as derivatives, credit swaps and leverage.

We know that the bankers are the bad guys – and the film rubs that in with evidence of Wall Street’s insatiable appetite for call girls and coke – but the shocking thing that Inside Job reveals is how the establishment colluded with them.

It exposes how many of the supposedly independent experts from the leading universities topped up their incomes from academia with lucrative retainers and commissions from the banks and financial services. These were the people that successive US administrations appointed to run the economy.

And the depressing thing is that, despite President Obama’s pledge to clean up the financial sector, his administration has appointed some of the very fat cats seen being grilled by Senate committees and called to account for their part in this sorry story.

Needless to say, they have continued to rake in millions of dollars.

Unlike Michael Moore, writer and director Charles Ferguson is a largely unobtrusive presence and allows the financial insiders and politicians (those who deigned to be interviewed) to condemn themselves through their own mouths.