The other night I watched the phenomenal documentary Inside Job which chronicles the build up and the fallout of the 2008 economic collapse that came terrifyingly close to making ruins of the world economy in much the same way the Sendai tsunami decimated the coastal areas of northern Japan recently.
I remember I had just moved to Los Angeles in late August 2008 and two weeks later the implosion had occurred. I will never forget watching Wold Blitzer on CNN and smelling the fear in his own voice, almost as if he was about to crap his pants — which made me want to crap my pants too. The last time I had witnessed so many news anchors, radio hosts, and on-air experts riddled with that much anxiety was during the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The term “The Next Great Depression” was being thrown around without reservation and frankly, I thought it was the end of not just the economy, but a big chunk of our civilization. I can also remember sitting down in a West Hollywood bar and chatting up a couple of older guys in their late 60s who had just lost $300,000 of savings when Lehman Brothers had collapsed. It was real — and everyone around the world knew how dire the situation was. Hindsight, of course, is a perfect science, and the Charles Ferguson doc Inside Job breaks down the disaster in a crisp, palatable, and impressively comprehensive way. I am a smarter man after having watched it, and I think the film should be mandatory viewing for every single person in the western world as a way to understand the cancerous effects of unrestricted greed. Absolutely brilliant.
Not only is the entire documentary beyond terrific, but the opening credits in particular are superbly edited and you can watch them here (NOTE: missing is the prologue of Iceland’s microcosmic financial collapse which precedes this clip):