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Predator Nation

“Inside Job” director Charles Ferguson on Wall Street now, and the crisis still to be addressed.

Director Charles Ferguson poses for a portrait at the 63rd international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 17, 2010. (AP)

Director Charles Ferguson poses for a portrait at the 63rd international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 17, 2010. (AP)

When the U.S. economy melted down in 2008, Charles Ferguson stepped up with a blistering documentary on the collapse called “Inside Job.” He named names and laid blame for the crash in a way that regulators and law enforcement were unwilling to do. “Inside Job” won the Academy Award for best documentary.

Now, Charles Ferguson is back with more. A deep, furious critique of American finance and politics today as fundamentally corrupt and corrupting. Dangerous. Predatory.

This hour, On Point: bare-knuckled critic Charles Ferguson and the “predator nation.”

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ben Protess, a legal and regulatory correspondent for the New York Times.

Charles Ferguson, Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and author of the new book Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America.

From Tom’s Reading List

Huffington Post “The most contentious issue in the debate about Wall Street reform involves fairness.  Many bankers and Republicans complain that the Obama Administration has unjustly targeted the financial sector in imposing restrictions, and that the regulations themselves contradict free market principles.  But while people bicker about fairness, they are forgetting one basic tenet of capitalism — if someone can make a lot of money doing something, even if that something could hurt others, they probably will.”

New York Times “The Dodd-Frank law was supposed to bring much-needed oversight to the multitrillion-dollar market for derivatives, including transparent trading, mandatory reporting and higher capital and collateral requirements. But banks, with help from lawmakers in both parties, have lobbied regulators to delay and weaken the rules.”

Politico “But now JPM’s hyper-aggressive trading has caused a loss somewhere north of $2  billion, and possibly as much as $5 billion. The episode not only confirms the  wisdom of the “Volcker rule” prohibiting commercial banks from risking depositor  money in speculative trading, it also raises more fundamental questions about  the current role and conduct of the megabanks.”

Salon “For at least 30 years the United States has been headed on the wrong track, handing over more power and wealth to a tiny percent of the American population at the expense of everyone else. But Ferguson’s story isn’t just focused on the greed and recklessness of the elite.”

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