This weekend I saw the new documentary film, Inside Job, which is about the economic crisis of 2008. It’s very well done, and I recommend it. (It’s web site is here and includes a list of theaters where it will soon be showing.) I’ve been reading about the crisis and have had some trouble understanding the economic jargon. The film helped me clarify meanings. Mostly, though, it confirmed what I already knew, that the trouble began with Reagan administration and its push for deregulation. The film did give me a greater realization of how massively corrupt—sociopathic, really—the capitalist system has become. But the most striking moment for me was a particular image of skyscrapers and cranes in some Asian country (I don’t remember which) that made me aware of how completely globalization has ensnared the world. The system is intended to be “too big to fail.” We’ve been dumbed down to think that we can muddle along indefinitely and that we have entered a road from which there is no turning back. But everything that is corrupt undermines itself until it finally collapses. That’s universal law. We have the choice of dismantling the system deliberately and gracefully or of waiting for catastrophe. Even if we do get the corporations and banks under control, oil scarcity is going to put an end to the current system. Our way of life is absolutely unsustainable. Unbelievably, the political energy seems to be running in the direction of greater deregulation. Like everyone, I’m waiting to see how this election goes. If the right wing ideologues get what they want and the markets are let off the leash, we will be putting ourselves in line for economic chaos and failure on a scale that will dwarf what we saw just two years ago.
I should add that the film makes it clear that many of the people who got us into this mess (Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, and so on) are in positions of great power under Obama. As one interviewee, Robert Gnaizda, says of Washington D. C. in general, Democrat and Republican, “It’s a Wall Street government.” It gives me the creeps.