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Re: [xmca] Inside Job
In this tiny corner of the universe I have been being taught business
practices by a South-African based American pastor/evangelist/prophet. He
warned us 18 months ahead what was about to happen. His son had been stung
by a sub-prime mortgage, against his father's will from afar, and from this
he exptrapolated the larger picture. We were supposed to have secured
ourselves before it happened.
Howcome -- considering that Johannesburg is not the centre of the universe
-- did not all the other people closer to the hub get fed the info about the
And our own Consumer Protection Act absolutely prevented such a thing from
happening here. Here we can only get a mortgage on your disposable rather
than gross income.
But we are really concerned that there has not been a tightening of fiscal
discipline in the US.
Sorry, not the usual stuff we talk about in xmca, but deperately important
On 30 March 2011 15:28, David H Kirshner <email@example.com> wrote:
> The whole US policy mechanism is distorted by the influence of private
> funding of electoral campaigns. For instance, Clinton, at the start of
> his presidency, found out the hard way that trying to enact healthcare
> reform against the perceived self-interest of the healthcare industry
> was an adventure that could well cost him any chance of reelection.
> Obama, in trying to move along policy decisions, is simply acting within
> realm of the possible.
> While all of this is old had, the corruption of academia is a new and
> serious twist. With everything else awry in government and corporate
> cultures, the parameters for policy debate are still constrained by
> academic discourse. That key economists were bought out shifted the
> realm of the possible just enough to enable regulatory supervision to be
> knocked out of the picture altogether, a critical underpinning of the
> economic debacle. So, Jay, yes, I support your call for academics to
> pressure their institutions on strengthening conflict-of-interest
> policies related to research and publication. A coordinated national
> push in this direction enacted through Faculty Senates could have real
> effect in a relatively short time span.
> What is more, whoever initiates such a campaign stands to be offered
> millions in corporate co-option efforts!
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
> On Behalf Of Jay Lemke
> Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 11:40 PM
> To: XMCA Forum
> Subject: [xmca] Inside Job
> Last night I watched a documentary film on DVD called "Inside Job". I
> think that if you haven't seen it, you might well find it worthwhile to
> do so, especially if you live in the US.
> Basically, the film is an explanation of how the global financial
> meltdown of the last 2.5 years happened, combined with an indictment of
> the political and financial systems and leaders who made it happen.
> On the first count, it's an impressive example of the superiority of
> video over print as a medium for explaining complex phenomena. I had a
> vague understanding of most of the points it makes about "derivatives"
> "credit default swaps" etc., but I understood their nature and
> especially their significance in relation to other larger phenomena a
> LOT better after a few minutes of video than after all the reading of
> print I've done over many months.
> On the second count, by putting together in one narrative all the bits
> and pieces of facts about this financial company and that politician
> that we get in the fragmentation of most print and web-based media
> (apart from books), a context was established within which to appreciate
> the enormous culpability of not just the greedy traders but of
> government non-regulators, policy leaders, and the highest echelons of
> Of perhaps special relevant to those of us in academic institutions, it
> makes a pretty good case for the corruption of many of the country's
> leading academic economists, ranging from undisclosed conflicts of
> interest to deliberately distorted research-for-pay.
> It points out that it was the US government that was primarily at fault
> in abetting the out-of-control exploitation of nearly everyone by a very
> small number of profiteering firms, and that the extent of collusion
> between senior government officials and those firms was staggering, over
> a long period of time and administrations of both political parties, and
> has not in any way ended but continues under the Obama administration
> Hence, not surprisingly, there have been no major criminal
> investigations of securities fraud, conflict of interest, etc. either on
> the corporate side or on the government side, in the US. And the recent
> financial industry reform act changed nothing basic, nor, I think one
> can conclude, was its weakness just a result of Republican opposition
> but must have also been a consequence of the continuing collusion of
> senior Obama appointees with the financial industry.
> As we all know the consequences have relevance for pretty much the whole
> What are we in higher education doing to educate students about such
> phenomena, which are arguably of far greater importance to their lives
> and futures than our specialized subjects? Or to challenge colleagues in
> economics departments and business schools on our campuses, at least to
> the extent of requiring conflict of interest disclosures in their
> After watching this film, I'm not feeling very happy about business as
> PS. I got the DVD from Netflix. I think it's definitely worth an hour
> and forty-some minutes of your time.
> Jay Lemke
> Senior Research Scientist
> Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition
> University of California - San Diego
> 9500 Gilman Drive
> La Jolla, California 92093-0506
> Professor (Adjunct status 2009-11)
> School of Education
> University of Michigan
> Ann Arbor, MI 48109
> Professor Emeritus
> City University of New York
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