Over the last few weeks I’ve been familiarizing myself with the economic mumbo jumbo and reading up on the financial crisis of 2007-2008. Not going to lie, the economics and politics are 2 major things I tend to stay away from, as I don’t fully understand the former, and I get angered way too easily by the latter.
The recent Academy Award contender The Big Short, and the 2010 Matt Damon-narrated documentary Inside Job are the two movies responsible for my sudden interest in this subject matter.
They were not only compelling, but also made all the effort to present the circumstances of the crisis in an extremely coherent and straightforward fashion, so that even a layman like me got a lot from viewing them. Then again, ultimately I wish I didn’t know the dirty machinations that went on at that time.
So are the banks as bad as the filmmakers often make them to be? The short answer is they are far worse.
I was taking translation classes back in college, and I remember having trouble with comprehending certain financial terms even in my native tongue. Once you really delve into the topic though, it starts to clear up. Obviously, there is a difference between getting the gist of the nomenclature and becoming the expert in the topic so I won’t pretend I know it all.
There’s no doubt that both The Big Short and Inside Job have pretty clearly showcased the villains, the ‘architects’ of the crisis. It well may be that the stories exaggerated certain facts, while downplaying the role of some others and I only got a distorted version of reality.
One thing’s for certain – I call bullshit when I see it, and Inside Job actually draws out some big guns – interviews with many people in the field, and real footage of hearings that CEOs of the largest banks and investment firms have participated in, following the stock market crash. What I inferred was pretty scary – the assholes calling the shots were driven by insatiable greed and they had every chance to stop the recession from happening years earlier. Instead, they just kept going, all the same making sure that in the end they wouldn’t get the short end of the stick. They fucking knew the government (the taxpayers) would bail them out. Even when interrogated their attitudes were garbage. It’s not limited to bank CEOs, but I will never understand why the hell the people who do their jobs poorly get huge bonuses, especially when dismissed.
Giant Douche and Turd Sandwich
The research done by the creators of Inside Job is pretty impressive, and Matt Damon should do more narration work really, his voice rocks.
I remember watching The Wolf of fucking Wall Street. All the ‘fucks’, $$$, cocaine, Margot Robbie, fat boy Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey who stole the show, and the recent Oscar winner Leo DiCaprio. It was a decent movie, maybe a bit controversial for the sake of being controversial. I was thinking to myself, ‘this is nuts, but I bet some of it is fairly realistic’.
At this point I stand corrected. The Wolf of Wall Street was most likely too tame. The investment bankers are way crazier. Scorsese should remake it with more white powder, more prostitutes and more outrageousness.
I’m willing to believe that huge number of finance people is almost along the lines of American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman. They don’t give a damn about other people and their irresponsible actions always escape the punishment. And it occurred to me only when I started writing this post that Christian Bale starred both in The Big Short and American Psycho. Maybe he should change his line of work?
God help us all when shit hits the fan again. Poland was one of the few countries whose economy did not suffer because of the global crisis and the business continued to grow slowly but steadily. The next time may not be as lucky. By this point the banks have enormous power over politicians and in the end it’s the poor getting hit the hardest – this notion is thrown around a lot, but many people don’t realize how true it is.
Yeah… I’m already too grumpy without this knowledge. This is why I stick to freakin’ romantic comedies for heaven’s sake.