Charles Ferguson lifts the lid on US finance
The author and filmmaker follows up documentary Inside Job with Predator Nation
Multi-millionaire software entrepreneur, technology policy consultant to the White House, and Academy Award-winning filmmaker and author Charles Ferguson is coming to Edinburgh to talk about the nightmare on Wall Street. Ferguson’s 2010 Oscar-winner documentary, Inside Job, lifted the lid on what its maker calls the ‘systemic corruption of the United Sates by the financial services industry’. Ferguson’s follow-up, the book Predator Nation, charges an elite comprised not just of financiers but also academics and recent political administrations with stealing the nation’s wealth and destroying the American dream. Ferguson’s thesis is the ultimate horror movie.
‘I wanted to connect the way the financial sector has used money and politics to get itself freed from regulation and law enforcement, and look at the consequences of that for the economy,’ he says. ‘And I wanted to highlight the degree to which this criminality has gone unprosecuted and unpunished. I wanted to point out that this was just one example of a broader process underway in America in the rise of money-based politics.’
Ferguson’s approach to this explosive subject is rigorously academic, as opposed to the rabble-rousing stance adopted by other documentarians such as Michael Moore. He says his motivation was to engage with an interesting, important subject, that he possessed an advantage through his training as a political scientist (it’s also been noted that his financial clout can’t have hurt) and that his aim is to inform the public.
Is he hopeful things will change? ‘I don’t think it’s likely justice will be done and these people will be prosecuted,’ he says. ‘I’m also pessimistic about remedial policy action in the short term, although I’m optimistic in the long term. I don’t think the American people will put up with it forever. They won’t tolerate their standard of living declining so sharply. They will get angry, militant and organised.’
Charles Ferguson was originally intended to appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Please note, this event is now cancelled.