What factors caused the real estate bubble? What was the role of the bubble in the economic crisis?

Inside Job

Discussion Questions

  1. What factors caused the real estate bubble? What was the role of the bubble in the economic crisis?
  2. To what extent is the crisis attributable to deregulation?
  3. Do you think that compensation is/was a factor in the crisis? Would you support government regulation of compensation at certain levels? How would such regulation best be accomplished? Is there a role for tax policy in this type of regulation?
  4. What about the professors interviewed in “Inside Job?” Consider specifically the dean of the Columbia Business School (Glenn Hubbard) and the Columbia Economics professor (Frederick Mishkin) and the interviews regarding their compensation for writing “research” articles. Should business schools encourage externally funded research?
  5. What is the relationship between ethical behavior and legal behavior? Goldman Sachs appears to take the position publicly that there was nothing wrong with taking short positions against the securities it sold to clients, partly because those positions were not substantial and partly because their clients should be presumed to be sophisticated in financial matters. Do you agree with this view?
  6. Do you think the Justice Department should pursue criminal investigations of major players and firms on Wall Street?
  7. Are our economic problems limited to the financial industry? That is, if we “fixed” the financial system, would we be out of the woods?
  8. To what extent are our economic problems attributable to our political system?
  9. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about our economy over the next 12 months? 2 years? Longer?
  10. What do you think are the most important steps to take to address our economic problems?

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