How angry are you about the events depicted in the film? What is the film made you angry? Which person depicted in the film offended you the most?
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The film made me actively angry about the events that it covered. The absolute focus on the short-term benefits by the perpetrators, their disregard of responsibility for what they have done, and their subsequent lack of punishment were perhaps the three elements that affected me the most. It would be pointless to blame just one person for the crisis, but I believe that the policies of George W. Bush allowed many of the people depicted in the film to gain enough power to make the housing market crash happen (Ferguson, 2011).
Who in your opinion is most to blame for the events depicted in the ﬁlm? Democrats or Republicans? Government or financial services companies? Regulators who stuck by their free-market beliefs or investors who carelessly took on too much risk? What should have they done differently?
I believe that the Republican Party leader George W. Bush was one of the initial people responsible for these events. However, the blame should lie on the shoulders of all that were heavily involved because each of them performed crucial parts of the plan. The free-market beliefs of the regulators not only allowed these events to transpire but even enabled them through the idea that the end profit justifies the means as long as it is technically legal.
Do you think someone should go to jail for the behavior depicted in the film? Who? Remember they discussed evidence that senior bankers on Wall Street used prostitutes and illegal drugs, sometimes paying with company credit cards. of bringing a criminal fraud case related to subprime loans and CDO’s would be too difficult, should prosecutors go after this other behavior?
The history of the war on organized crime shows that when criminals cover their tracks, other avenues of their illegal activities should be exploited to arrest and subsequently jail them. Al Capone’s tax fraud allowed the authorities to jail a man who was responsible for thousands of other crimes (Waata, Smith, & Dana, 2014). Corruption may be a very difficult thing to fight in court, but illegal drug use and prostitution are relatively common crimes that may bring real jail time to those who were able to evade punishment for the crisis. Senior bankers should be the primary targets of these arrests.
Do you think educational institutions should have a policy regarding conﬂicts of interest? What did you think about the professors from Columbia and Harvard?
Conflicts of interest can be extremely damaging to systems in which they arise. They show that it does not perform according to its function. However, policies against them should be worded in very specific ways because in some cases, conflicts of interest arguments can be used to suppress important information from getting out to the public.
ln, our readings so far many authors argue that income inequality by race, ethnicity, and gender is always related to labor market inequality in the process. Discuss if and how these explanations are mentioned In the film?
The inequality in the labor market is clearly shown in the film through the difference in how the people responsible for the crisis were treated in court. While the corrupt nature of their actions was clear, nobody received any harsh punishments (IsuruFoundation, 2012). At the same time, people who were the primary victims of these events often receive much harsher punishments for much lesser reasons.
Explain the difference between wealth and income and why both are important in understanding racial inequality. What has been the historical impact of land ownership after slavery, and residential segregation? Why and how did the wealth gap between whites and other groups change between 2005 and 2009? Explain. Do you find a link between the historical impact and current disparities? Explain.
Wealth represents the capital of the person. It includes such assets as houses, stocks, savings, and financial holdings. On the other hand, income is the money that a person or household receives for working. Inequality stems from the inability of the majority of racial minorities and poor people to amass wealth in the current economic system due to discrimination and the widening wealth gap between the upper and lower classes. African Americans are especially affected by this due to the post-slavery period of segregation preventing them from creating businesses and amassing wealth during the times when it was more feasible. The housing market crisis exacerbated the issue from 2005 to 2009 because it was seen as a chance for people of color to start getting wealth but resulted in the opposite (Hall, Crowder, & Spring, 2015; Stockhammer, 2015; Raymond, 2017). The historical impact has a clear effect on current events because the majority of people who have wealth and power either gained it during the times of heavy discrimination or their families amassed it even earlier.
Why does the idea of meritocracy and that “if you work hard, you will get ahead” continue to be part of the American dream and the national discourse even after evidence to the contrary? Is it all up to the individual? Explain
I believe that these ideas persist despite the evidence against them is due to a multitude of factors. The first is the presence of outliers who occasionally appear in the market through innovative ideas coupled with effective business plans and general luck. The second is that these ideas are beneficial to the ruling class as it justifies their success and lets them see poor people as “underachievers.” The last reason is that these ideas are at the core of the United States and at one point they might have reflected reality.
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Ferguson, C. (2011). Inside job. Sony Pictures Home Ent. The UK.
Hall, M., Crowder, K., & Spring, A. (2015). Variations in housing foreclosures by race and place, 2005–2012. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 660(1), 217–237.
IsuruFoundation. (2012). The biggest bank heist ever! | HD. Web.
Raymond, E. L. (2017). Race, uneven recovery and persistent negative equity in the southeastern United States. Journal of Urban Affairs, 0(0), 1–14.
Stockhammer, E. (2015). Rising inequality as a cause of the present crisis. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 39(3), 935–958.
Waata, H., Smith, R., & Dana, L. P. (2014). Prohibition and the American Dream: An analysis of the entrepreneurial life and times of Al Capone. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 21(1), 1.