An inside speech for Inside Job

Larry Ribstein —  28 February 2011

I didn’t watch the Oscars last night, following my usual habit.  But I note that “Inside Job” was supposedly the best documentary.  The filmmaker, Charles Ferguson, said in accepting

“Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong,” Mr. Ferguson said, as the Hollywood crowd erupted in applause.

The award and the crowd’s reaction are consistent with my theory about Hollywood’s negative view of capitalists.  I’ve discussed this frequently on this blog and Ideoblog, as well as in my articles Wall Street and Vine, Imagining Wall Street and, most relevantly, How Movies Caused the Financial Crisis.  

For a non-Hollywood view of why at least one of the financial executives in the film is not in jail, see my post from last week.

Larry Ribstein


Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law

8 responses to An inside speech for Inside Job


    In reaction to this post and Mr. Ribstein’s post “Angelo’s Escape”, I wonder what his reaction was to Rolling Stone’s article “Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?”:

    While I understand the Rolling Stone is not an authoritative publication on economics or law, I think Mr. Taibbi makes some interesting points. It seems as if the SEC already exercises “prosecutorial forbearance.”


    Be thankful for small favors, it wasn’t “Gaslands”.


    I was shocked, shocked that they didn’t give the award to “Waiting For Superman,” and wildly applaud their director when he said, “Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that after decades of utter failure to educate our most vulnerable children as a result of the complacency of venal, self-serving politicians and the unions that support them, that not a single official responsible for this travesty has had so much as their wrist slapped, and that’s wrong.”

    I guess the phrase “that only happens in a Hollywood movie” is out of place on that one.


      Well said Mark. In another and better alternative universe, “Inside Job” would have been about the culpability of the members of Congress such as Barney Frank in the financial meltdown and the director would have lamented the fact that he is not only not behind bars, but still a member of Congress, and that’s wrong.

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