Wall Street Government
_Tags: capitalism, economic sociology, globalization, marx/marxism, political economy, theory, financial collapse, global recession, power elite, wall street, 00 to 05 mins
Length: 0:55 (entire film is 120 mins; trailer here)
Summary: This is a brief excerpt from Inside Job, an excellent documentary that explores the 2008 global financial collapse. The films draws upon in-depth research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians, and journalists. By breaking down complex financial transactions in understandable terms, it traces the rise of the "rogue" financial industry and "unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation, and academia." This brief clip focuses on Obama's lack of action on regulating Wall Street because of the relationship between Washington and Wall Street. It notes that Obama, who was elected President the year of the financial collapse, was quoted as saying that "a lack of oversight in Washington and on Wall Street is exactly what got us into this mess," arguing for the need to reform the industry. But after years in the presidency, Obama's administration had not enacted a single major financial reform. When Robert Gnaizda (former director of the Greenlining Institute) is asked why, the clip ends provocatively with his quote "It's a Wall Street Government." Viewers can be encouraged to reflect on what Gnaizda means by the quote? This might be useful for illustrating Mills' concept of the power elite or Marx's concept of a ruling class. If using the entire film, you can have students complete exercise #4 (in the film's Study Guide) to examine the revolving door between government regulators and corporate executives. It can also be a good discussion starter about the cause of the financial collapse, the social construction of markets, the role of improper incentives, and economic ideologies.
Submitted By: Paul Dean
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