MY GOODMAN: Well, our next guest asks why so little has changed in the banking industry in the nearly four years after the global economic collapse of 2008. Academy-Award winning director Charles Ferguson first examined the network of academic, financial and political players who contributed to the nation’s financial crisis in his documentary Inside Job. Charles Ferguson now has a new book out called Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America. It’s based on newly released court filings that reveal how major players contributed to the financial crisis.
Charles Ferguson, welcome to Democracy Now! JPMorgan Chase, the missing $3 billion, Facebook—talk about these latest developments in the context of a predator nation.
CHARLES FERGUSON: I think that they’re an indication, a symptom, of the fact that the financial sector in the United States remains out of control and is not sufficiently regulated, and also not sufficiently—indeed, almost not at all—subject to criminal prosecution when it violates the law. So, I think that we unfortunately can expect to see a continuation of this kind of behavior.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about—what is so fascinating in Predator Nation is looking at the academic part of the network that you talk about misleading us, the ivory tower.
CHARLES FERGUSON: Yes, this is a problem that I think many Americans remain unaware of. I was quite struck when my film was released that most people who saw the film and spoke with me afterwards commented that the section on the economics discipline was the most surprising and shocking to them. What has happened is that over the same period of time, roughly the last 30 years, that money has become so much more important in American politics, it has also become more important in American academia. And the same interest groups, companies, industries, that began contributing to political campaigns and building up lobbying organizations and engaging in revolving-door hiring in the political sphere also began doing the same thing in American academia, to the point that now there is actually an industry, an industry that’s probably a couple of billion dollars a year, of selling academic expertise for people who have public policy or legal or law enforcement problems.
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