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The Flaw by David Sington Documentary Essay


The Flaw is a financial documentary directed by David Sington. The documentary was released to the public in the year 2011 (The flaw). In the documentary, Sington narrates about the events that led to the global financial crisis experienced in the year 2008. The documentary shows how millions of people suffered due to the financial crisis. The title of the documentary was adapted from Alan Greenspan’s flow model. Greenspan’s model failed to predetermine how Wanton mortgage and housing programs ended up creating a credit bubble in America and Europe (The flaw).

After watching the documentary, I realized that a number of the root causes that led to the crippled global economy in 2008 had been identified. I believe that the director attached great significance to the causes of the crisis compared to other issues (The flaw). Through this, he emphasized that the effects of excessive income disparity among people in the society are the main cause of instability in any economy. Based on this, I now suppose that public policies and economic theories alone are not sufficient to solve the economic crisis. In my opinion, when policies and theories entirely rely on the system would collapse, leading to challenges in rescuing the financial crash. Based on this, I believe that it is important to analyze the root causes of the crisis to avoid the same problem in the future.

Another aspect I appreciated about the documentary is that it expounded on the understanding of economic theory (The flaw). I expect that the public would be able to comprehend the documentary’s theme with ease. Similarly, I guess that the documentary’s director was more lenient to the key parties, which were responsible for the 2008 financial fiasco. I believe that the documentary’s description of the financial crisis focuses less on the greedy bankers and financial regulators who are responsible for the credit bubble experienced in America and Europe. In my view, the documentary narrates the destruction, deceit, and delusion experienced from the crisis without pointing out clearly how the borrowers, bankers, and economic experts were directly involved in the crisis. I believe that greedy bank CEOs and finance regulators manipulated the monetary system and economic policies leading to the financial crash observed in 2008 (The flaw). In my opinion, the director should have pointed out the need to punish those responsible for the crisis. Through this, he would have discouraged people from repeating the same acts in the future, as enlightening individuals has been proven as an effective way of fighting an economic crisis.

I believe that the director made the causes of the financial crisis appear as if they were natural forces, which were beyond human control. This is not the case because studies have indicated that human manipulation played a huge role in the events that led to the crisis. Therefore, I was disappointed to note that the director did not describe or mention anything about politicians or bank CEOs’ manipulation (The flaw). In the past, I have watched a similar documentary by Charles Ferguson. Ferguson’s points out how greedy politicians and bankers were colluding intending to enrich themselves, lead to the financial crisis, which left the public to suffer.

Ferguson challenges the failures of economic experts and blames them for the crisis. When I compare Ferguson’s documentary with Sington’s documentary, I presume that Sington did not understand the Greenspan’s Flaw model as Ferguson did. As such, Sington merely emphasized on refinancing, which required borrowing more to cover the existing debts (The flaw). This is contrary to the main objective of owning a house through mortgages. By watching the documentary, I realized that Sington relied on economic concepts without holding them responsible for their failures. As such, I am certain that the director relied on Prof. Joseph Stiglitz’s concept, which states that those with low income should continue spending as if their income will increase (The flaw).

I found that most parts of this documentary are easy to comprehend. However, I noted that the part focusing on the root causes of the financial crisis is a bit complicated. The approach adopted by the director was complex, especially where he is explaining how free markets collapsed. Despite this, I believe that Sington’s documentary clearly illustrates how the stagnation of the actual income in the United States led to increased debts among individuals (The flaw). Also, I identified that the director perfectly presented that part, focusing on how economic systems operate. Based on my view, I believe that the movie is informative as it highlights on the increasing income inequality, unmonitored capitalism, greed, foolishness and the growing gap between the rich and the normal people in the society. The above inequalities are the major causes of the financial crisis (The flaw). Equally, I noted that the documentary is entertaining and suited for general viewers. In general, I believe that the documentary illustrates best the 2008 financial crisis and its underlying causes.

Works Cited

The flaw. Dir. David Sington. Perf. Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Shiller, Robert Frank. Docurama Films, 2012. Film.

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1. IvyPanda. "The Flaw by David Sington Documentary." May 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-flaw-by-david-sington-documentary/.


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