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Re: [xmca] Inside Job
I think the answer to your question, Carol, regarding how a South African figured it out but the Chairman of the US central bank, the Secretary of the Treasury (Finance minister), et al. did not is simply that OF COURSE they knew EXACTLY what was happening all along.
They, and a host of other government officials and regulators, lost no money. Some of them even made money on the crisis (see the video) both before and after. They have been well rewarded for betraying the rest of the nation. They are still being rewarded. Obama has appointed and re-appointed many of the key figures. The others are paid hundreds of thousands a year for service on the boards of Goldman Sachs and similar financial corporations, which are making record profits again, even during the worst global recession since the 1930s.
The US had some regulations in place for many years to prevent what happened, but they were repealed at the initiative of the corporations, acting in collusion with the governments of the time (including our Democrats, the party of the people :-( ), both the administrations and the Congress. All their supporters were well rewarded financially.
There WERE warning by a few academic economists, which were hotly and mendaciously denied by top government officials and their colluding economists. ALL of whom surely knew what was going on.
The common story at present is that many of these people acted out of ideological commitment to de-regulation, free markets, etc. I do not believe the facts support that view at all. They acted out of pure financial and career self-interest. They are not noble men whose faith blinded them. They are criminals who think themselves above the law, and who have nothing but contempt for the rest of us, whom they see as inferiors, as losers in the great game of "success" and power.
PS. This topic has a LOT to do with the core interests of xmca. It is the tip of the iceberg of historically specific distortions of cultural perspectives that are needed to get the colluding politicians elected, and those deliberate distortions -- what an earlier era would have called propaganda, or ideological hegemony -- reach into everything from the school curriculum to social justice policies and funding decisions.
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
City University of New York
On Mar 30, 2011, at 10:19 AM, Carol Macdonald wrote:
> 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
> upcoming catastrophe?
> 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
>> 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
>> xmca mailing list
>> xmca mailing list
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