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


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.”


Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Dec 1, 2015
Bethany Winder, a nurse who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., plants a sign in support of Planned Parenthood just south of its clinic as police investigators gather evidence near the scene of Friday's shooting at the clinic Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in northwest Colorado Springs. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Women’s health, American politics and gun violence after the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.

Dec 1, 2015
In this 2010 file photo, Dr. Tom and Ann Earley work a Salvation Army kettle with their dog, Bocce, in an Atlanta, GA-area shopping center. (Flickr / Vicki DeLoach)

On #GivingTuesday, we’ll explore the trends in giving now from crowd sourcing to big charities and beyond.

Nov 30, 2015
Shoppers walks in front of a holiday display Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in San Francisco.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday and beyond, we’ll add up the dollars and trends and bargains of the 2015 holiday shopping season.

Nov 30, 2015
United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres, center left, Minister of the Environment of Peru and COP20 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, center right, and French Foreign Affairs Minister and COP 21 President Laurent Fabius, center, pose for photographers during a press visit to the COP21, Paris Climate Conference, site, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

World leaders converge in Paris for the big climate talks. We’ll look at what it will take to get a global climate agreement.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Where Did #GivingTuesday Come From, Anyway?
Tuesday, Dec 1, 2015

Today’s #GivingTuesday. But how — and where — did it start?

More »
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »