Charlie Ferguson criticizes the financial industry during his 2010 Oscar acceptance speech
I thought I was prepared – I had grossly underestimated the level of extraordinarily unethical and even fraudulent behavior that had occurred on such a large scale

- Charlie Ferguson

If somebody had told me in the fall of 2008 that this had gone on on a huge scale — tens of billions of dollars — I would have said, ‘No, that’s just too extreme. People don’t do that. And if you do do it, you would go to jail.’ They did do it, and nobody’s gone to jail

- Charlie Ferguson

Very prominent professors of economics, often people who’ve also held high government posts, are paid to testify in Congress. They are paid to be expert witnesss in both civil and criminal trials. They’re often paid to write papers that praise the financial services industry, and argue on behalf of deregulation of the industry. They make millions, in some cases tens of millions of dollars, doing this. And this is usually not disclosed.

- Charlie Ferguson

“Inside Job” is a documentary about the 2008 financial crisis. Director Charles Ferguson subjected Wall Street players, economists and bureaucrats to a fierce cross-examination to depict the economic crisis as a colossal crime perpetrated on the working-class masses by a greedy few. The film won the oscar in 2010 and in Charlie took the oppurtunity at his acceptance speech to lament the lack of accountability three years later. “Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by financial fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong,” Ferguson said.

Charlie Rose interviews Charlie Ferguson

Predator Nation – Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America

Predator Nation demolishes the view that the global financial crisis was merely some sort of freak accident. Charles Ferguson makes a convincing case that the world’s banking system was brought to the brink of complete collapse in 2008–09 by a virulent combination of unchecked greed and criminal behavior. This is an epic crime story with an apparently clean getaway, courtesy of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Both presidents proved unwilling to hold anyone to account—or even to launch meaningful investigations. Leading bankers walked away with billions of dollars in unjustified compensation. The costs imposed on the rest of us can be measured in the trillions of dollars.

Predator Nation provides a roadmap for prosecution, systematically covering the banks involved, the names of culpable executives, the obvious crimes, the precise laws broken, and the evidence hiding in plain sight. No doubt it will be widely ignored by our legal officials. Ferguson’s points are also intensely political. Reckless behavior by bankers can be

traced back to the bipartisan consensus around deregulating finance in recent decades. This result is a socially destructive industry with immense political power—and capable of defeating all attempts at meaningful reform. The continued predominance of rogue finance is greatly facilitated by its effective corruption of American academia and many so-called “independent experts” (documented in Charles Ferguson’s Oscar-winning movie, Inside Job.) Big banks hold American politics in a death grip. To understand this—and to start to think about how to break this grip—read Predator Nation and give a copy to everyone you know. – Simon Johnson