Inside Job Questions
In Inside Job, the 2007-2010 financial crisis is examined over the course of five sections, noting the deregulation of the American economy and its effects on financial security and the ethical practices of many large corporations. In essence, the financial crisis and America’s major economic woes are painted as a result of substantial changes in policy environments on the part of big banks and the financial services industry. The theme is about the dangers of privatization and lack of government oversight, as the banks are shown to be incredibly opportunistic and greedy. Deregulation is shown to facilitate major corporate crime and crony capitalism, and the lack of accountability makes many members of Big Business free from answering for their crimes.
This documentary helps audiences greatly understand many of the ethics of business, as well as the dangers of deregulation and unethical behavior within a corporate environment. The documentary demonstrates how important accountability is to making sure people behave ethically; many with sufficient power and lack of oversight will simply take what they want without regard for ethics, without the fear of punishment or reprisal. Due to the shaky nature of investments, and the ability that large firms have to push people into investing beyond their means (or simply investing in uncertain trades, like Internet startups and the housing market), the American economy suffered from the overreach of these large companies. The documentary demonstrates the dangers of having companies that are “too big to fail”, as once these corporations went under, clearly leading to unprecedented job loss and the destruction of the housing market, the American government gave them large cash bailouts.
Some of the more major ethical dilemmas in the movie involve the fooling of others for financial gain (as was the case with the housing bubble and unregulated loans), the backing of companies for the short term, knowing they would fail (as with the dot com bubble and crash), and the need for accountability to maintain ethical behavior. I also saw the unethical nature of promoting and giving bonuses to executives and CEOS of banks and companies that were failing because of those executives’ decisions. The ethical dilemmas in the film are shown to be barely resolved, or resolved poorly. Millions of people are still out of work, foreclosures are still rampant, and many of these executives of big banks are still in power. Many of these executives even became top economic advisors to President Obama.
In conclusion, Inside Job demonstrates the increasingly dangerous foothold that large, international corporations have on the American economy and government. Because of their unethical business practices, and the ability for lobbyists to influence the government to reduce regulation, there is no oversight or consequences for poor and unethical behavior on the part of these companies. The film is quite pessimistic in its view of the American economy, and with good reason; its primary goal is to show just how little accountability there is for large companies that make mistakes, leaving the lower and middle class with increasingly fewer options to sustain themselves in a market that is taken further from them each day. Inside Job is a sobering, solemn and hard-hitting documentary about the failure of the American economy, and an expose on the people responsible.
Ferguson, Charles (dir.). (2010). Inside Job. Nar. Matt Damon. Documentary. Sony Pictures Classics.