Why Don’t More People Care About Criminal Activity in Our Recent ‘Financial Crisis’? (Video)

Other Guys CreditsIf I had to pick one issue that I think many more people should really, really be curious about, I’d say the backstory behind so-called recent “financial crisis”, (which has been documented in such films as Inside Job, Capitalism: A Love Story and Plunder: The Crime of Our Time to name a few), is at the top of my list. Therefore, I was surprised when I saw at the end of the Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg comedy, The Other Guys, to find this “message” embedded in a mainstream entertainment film. As Gary Susman wrote on Moviefone’s Blog:

The movie may be a silly farce about New York cops who stumble upon a Bernie Madoff-like Ponzi scheme that threatens to defraud billions from city workers. But buried in the comedy is a serious point about what really constitutes grand theft these days, a point illustrated over the closing credits by a PowerPoint-like presentation full of jazzy infographics and serious statistics outlining just how much Wall Street and corporate leaders have enriched themselves at the expense of American workers and taxpayers…

It’s a fascinating sequence, both from a design perspective and from the unlikely prospect of seeing a major corporation (in this case, Sony) release a mass-entertainment movie that also wants to educate moviegoers about the legalized wealth-grab that’s benefiting major corporations…

The figures cited in the sequence, for example, note the following:

  • that the TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) bailout cost every person in America enough to take a trip around the world
  • that after the bailout, some $1.2 billion in taxpayer money went to pay the bonuses of just 73 AIG execs, while Goldman Sachs got a huge tax break that saw its tax rate drop from 34 percent to 1 percent
  • that the average CEO earned about eight times the salary of his average employee a century ago, but earns more than 300 times his average employee’s wages now
  • that the typical American 401(k) retirement account has lost nearly half its value over the last five years
  • that New York cops may earn a maximum pension of about $48,000, while the average retiring CEO reaps benefits of about $83.6 million.

Read More: Moviefone’s Blog

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    One simple reason:  Getting yer ass beat in backwards hurts.
     
    With very few exceptions, American politics has rarely been about lofty ideals or social theory.  America’s a nation resolutely devoted to the notion of getting on with it.  This is why, despite the legacy of chattel slavery in the American South, it can truly be said that there is far less sectarianism or racism in America than the world average.  America’s record is far from perfect on that score, but a profound lack of ambition in that regard probably also helps it avoid the worst excesses, too.
     
    No, America was from its very foundation, a commercial undertaking.  Even the East Anglian Puritains of the Massachussets Bay colony were basically indentured servants for the Virginia Company.  True, a massive navigation fuck up and bitter contract re-negotiation resulted in them setting land more than a hundred miles north of their intended slave fields, but the original plan is clear matter of historical record.
     
    And so, had it not been for an even more massive revolution in technology, probably especially in information technology, we might have plodded on wearily the track we’d clung to for the last 400 years–alternating between the extremes of Gilded Age oligopoly and fierce populist backlashes like the labor movement of the early 20th century.
     
    But I’m not even sure that’s a possibility any more.  Radical explosions in productivity through technology and the expansion of trade have led to the ramping of businesses firms onto a truly global scale–and weakening the significance of local issues in the mind of the people.  And the newfound ability to corral vast quantities of data that our grandparents could not even have imagined, in miliseconds instead of days or weeks, means that the organizing principles and formal structures of business organizations not only thrive on the participation of fewer individuals–they actually demand the wholesale disenfranchisement of the population.
     
    So until some genius or geniuses figure out a whole new viable moral/social/information paradigm that places people back at the center of society, it ain’t gonna happen.  People aren’t gonna do more than obey the animal imperative to ensure their own survival–by NOT pissing off the lord of the manor.

  • Anonymous

    One simple reason:  Getting yer ass beat in backwards hurts.
     
    With very few exceptions, American politics has rarely been about lofty ideals or social theory.  America’s a nation resolutely devoted to the notion of getting on with it.  This is why, despite the legacy of chattel slavery in the American South, it can truly be said that there is far less sectarianism or racism in America than the world average.  America’s record is far from perfect on that score, but a profound lack of ambition in that regard probably also helps it avoid the worst excesses, too.
     
    No, America was from its very foundation, a commercial undertaking.  Even the East Anglian Puritains of the Massachussets Bay colony were basically indentured servants for the Virginia Company.  True, a massive navigation fuck up and bitter contract re-negotiation resulted in them setting land more than a hundred miles north of their intended slave fields, but the original plan is clear matter of historical record.
     
    And so, had it not been for an even more massive revolution in technology, probably especially in information technology, we might have plodded on wearily the track we’d clung to for the last 400 years–alternating between the extremes of Gilded Age oligopoly and fierce populist backlashes like the labor movement of the early 20th century.
     
    But I’m not even sure that’s a possibility any more.  Radical explosions in productivity through technology and the expansion of trade have led to the ramping of businesses firms onto a truly global scale–and weakening the significance of local issues in the mind of the people.  And the newfound ability to corral vast quantities of data that our grandparents could not even have imagined, in miliseconds instead of days or weeks, means that the organizing principles and formal structures of business organizations not only thrive on the participation of fewer individuals–they actually demand the wholesale disenfranchisement of the population.
     
    So until some genius or geniuses figure out a whole new viable moral/social/information paradigm that places people back at the center of society, it ain’t gonna happen.  People aren’t gonna do more than obey the animal imperative to ensure their own survival–by NOT pissing off the lord of the manor.

  • Quint X

    The infographic doesn’t really explain how a Ponzi scheme works, it just shows a bunch of people giving all their money to the guy on top. That is about as unenlightening as you can get. I’m not surprised at all that Sony didn’t object; it just muddies the water and makes everyone say “yeah,they’re ripping us off!..is there any popcorn left?..damn, I gotta pee…”

    To illustrate a Ponzi, or pyramid scheme, the infographic would have to show each consecutive layer of investors being paid “dividends” out of the “investments” of each new tier of participants. It would also have to show how, over time, because of exponential multipliers, it is impossible to continue the charade, once the potential pool of participants is exhausted. The infographic does no such illustrating.

  • Quint X

    The infographic doesn’t really explain how a Ponzi scheme works, it just shows a bunch of people giving all their money to the guy on top. That is about as unenlightening as you can get. I’m not surprised at all that Sony didn’t object; it just muddies the water and makes everyone say “yeah,they’re ripping us off!..is there any popcorn left?..damn, I gotta pee…”

    To illustrate a Ponzi, or pyramid scheme, the infographic would have to show each consecutive layer of investors being paid “dividends” out of the “investments” of each new tier of participants. It would also have to show how, over time, because of exponential multipliers, it is impossible to continue the charade, once the potential pool of participants is exhausted. The infographic does no such illustrating.

  • Grooveboss

    because if they had the chance they would do the same thing. Life is boring for most, any 15 mins is worth its weight in gold. Church is only popular because people needed entertainment. Good or Bad most people just want something to happen. Give me a minute while i step into this tornado.

    • Madeline Murray O’Hare

      Who is Church popular with?  People whose lives are so boring that praying for death actually delivers a thrill?

  • Grooveboss

    because if they had the chance they would do the same thing. Life is boring for most, any 15 mins is worth its weight in gold. Church is only popular because people needed entertainment. Good or Bad most people just want something to happen. Give me a minute while i step into this tornado.

  • Grooveboss

    because if they had the chance they would do the same thing. Life is boring for most, any 15 mins is worth its weight in gold. Church is only popular because people needed entertainment. Good or Bad most people just want something to happen. Give me a minute while i step into this tornado.

  • Madeline Murray O’Hare

    Who is Church popular with?  People whose lives are so boring that praying for death actually delivers a thrill?

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