The Big Short is a Great Movie, But...

rcwhalen's picture

Paris -- Michael Lewis is the chronicler of Wall Street.  He takes the complexity behind which the inhabitants of the financial world hide and weaves a tale that is both understandable and compelling.  Starting with the classic “Liars Poker” (1989), Lewis has produced a number of books about the financial markets including “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt” (2014) and “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine” (2010).  Working with director Adam McKay and some great actors and screen writers, Lewis has managed to produce what is perhaps the most accessible and relevant treatment of the mortgage boom and financial bust of the 2000s, and the subsequent 2008 financial crisis.

The beauty of “The Big Short,” both as a movie and a book, is that it provides sufficient detail to inform the general audience about events and issues that are not part of everyday life.  Wall Street is a secretive place, but “The Big Short” manages to convey enough of the details to make the story credible as a journalistic effort, yet also enormously entertaining.  Lewis does this with two essential ingredients of any film: a simple story and compelling characters.

Images of greed and stupidity are presented like Italian frescos in “The Big Short,” pictures that are memorable and thought provoking.  Indeed, what many people know and remember years from now about the 2008 financial crisis will be shaped by creative efforts such as “The Big Short” for the simple reason that Lewis has simplified the description into a manageable portion.  Unlike hedge fund manager Michael Burry (played by Christian Bale), most people lack the patience and expertise to sift through and understand reams of financial data.

Fund manager Michael Baum (played by Steve Carrel) is likewise a perfect caricature of the Wall Street loner, the contrarian personality who looks for situations where everyone in the crowd is headed in one direction – a sure sign that they are wrong.  Baum’s willingness to take on the big banks – including the firm that sponsored his hedge fund – illustrates how difficult it is for a contrarian to prevail when all of the mega institutions on Wall Street are betting against you.  Then we have the delicious irony of banker and narrator Jared Vennett (played with evil delight by Ryan Gosling) betting against his own firm by facilitating short sales of toxic derivative mortgage securities.     

“The Big Short” has rightly earned the acclaim of audiences and critics for presenting the sometimes seamy world of finance in a way that a broad audience can understand with relative ease.  As with any narrative of past events, the story must be simplified and summarized to make it manageable, either as a book or even more so as a film.  But here’s the rub: in order to tell the story, Lewis had to employ people and personalities to make his description accessible.  By doing so, he conveys to the audience only part of the story, emphasizing the role of people and leaving by the wayside the other, equally important and largely opaque institutional and legal aspects of the financial markets that enable fraud and skullduggery. 

For example, just why was it that firms like my old employer Bear, Stearns & Co, Lehman Brothers, Wachovia, Countrywide and others were originating sub-prime mortgages and selling securities based on this toxic waste? Did the employees and officers of these second tier firms just decide one morning to focus on the most problematic credits in the residential mortgage market at a time when every agency in Washington was encouraging home ownership and the Fed had cut interest rates to historical lows?  Stoking the mortgage boom via cheap credit, never forget, was a deliberate policy choice by the Housing Industrial Complex and the Federal Open Market Committee, a process accelerated following the shock of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In fact, the reason why these smaller financial firms became the mud-sucking bottom feeders of the world of mortgage finance was because the top four mega banks and their partners at the federal housing agencies in Washington the “GSEs”) had monopolized the prime mortgage market, both for loan originations and sales of government guaranteed mortgage bonds.  The big banks dominated the short-term funding market that piped liquidity to the likes of Countrywide, Washington Mutual and New Century Financial, none of which had sufficiently stable bases of liquidity to support their huge lending volumes. The housing GSEs, meanwhile, dominated the long end of the bond market, issuing securities at yields far below that possible for any bank or non-banks, large or small.

As the mortgage market crazed neared its peak in 2004-2005, the period when the anti-heroes of “The Big Short” began to realize that something was seriously amiss, the GSEs and big banks began to acquire exposures in sub-prime mortgages.  Indeed, the top banks by then had started to compete aggressively with the GSEs, pushing the market share of these three government agencies below 50% so that they could issue private mortgage bonds and derivatives at even bigger profits.  Today the housing GSEs account for virtually all mortgage lending in the US and the largest banks are actually exiting the market for making residential loans.

Government policy and the fact of the big bank-GSE monopoly in the market for prime mortgage loans drove the housing crisis as much or more that the stupidity and greed so skillfully portrayed in The Big Short. Because such details are the eye-glazing stuff of documentaries, not popular feature films created to drive Hollywood profits, Lewis could tell us only part of the story.  Part of the artistry of Lewis is that he understands that in the 21st Century, every successful book must be written as a potential movie script.

The same shortcoming affected the fascinating Lewis book “Flash Boys,” which tells a story of smart traders and computers giving the big Wall Street trading firms an advantage over small investors.  In fact, the “advantage” enjoyed by the big program trading firms is embedded in the myriad of complex order types of the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ – all of which are public and available to anybody with the knowledge to use them in their investment strategies.  But only a handful of traders and institutional investors have that knowledge.  Again, complexity, not just greed and avarice, are the drivers of financial contagion.

Another wonderful aspect of “The Big Short” is the way in which McKay explains the world of derivatives and complex financial instruments like the nefarious “credit default swap” or CDS using a casino as the foil.  CDS allows the characters in the story to bet against the subprime mortgage market.  Unlike a short sale of a stock or bond, though, a CDS truly is a gaming instrument that allows a speculator to sell something they don’t own and cannot borrow to deliver against the short sale.  Recalling the wisdom of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis almost a century ago, an incomplete sale “imputes fraud conclusively.”  (Read our November 24, 2015 KBRA research note, “Can the Credit Default Swap Market be Salvaged?,” if you want to learn more about these dubious financial contracts.)

The casino scene in The Big Short exquisitely illustrates the way in which credit derivatives allow speculators to wager against different types of assets (and one another) without having to actually “complete” the sale as, say, with a short position in stocks like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) or Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).  All of the concerns with credit derivatives ultimately start with the simple fact that buying a CDS when one does not own or borrow the underlying bond is akin to "naked shorting" of stocks.  Sure, the short-sellers in the world of CDS must pay extortionate fees to their “bookie” to maintain their best over time, but a credit derivative allows speculators to create a short position that does not exist in the cash market and without any connection to the underlying basis for the trade.

What neither the book nor the film get around to telling us in full is that Washington’s embrace of gaming instruments like CDS not only helped the characters in the story bet against subprime mortgages, but also enormously amplified the scope of the 2008 financial crisis. By institutionalizing the use of CDS as an acceptable part of the world of investing, Washington made the mortgage boom and bust possible and far worse than a mere financial bubble in housing.  You get a hint of this near the end of the film when Carrel meets with his sponsor at Morgan Stanley and discovers that the firm has $14 billion in exposure to subprime debt via derivatives.  CDS allows the creation of massive risk that would otherwise not exist.

If Michael Lewis ever gets around to making a sequel to “The Big Short,” he should tell the story of how Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, and many others, conspired to attack and discredit Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Brooksley Born in order to make the world safe for credit derivatives and the big banks that traffic in them.  This badly misguided action by these senior government officials make the acts of greed and stupidity so beautifully portrayed in “The Big Short” pale by comparison.  As we noted in the KBRA research note on CDS:

“[A]gencies such as the Federal Reserve Board in Washington have for decades publicly advocated the growth of OTC derivatives as activities that are appropriate for banks. When several large, internationally active banks began to expand into OTC securities and derivatives, and lobby in Washington for even greater powers and exemptions, the Fed Board and other regulatory agencies were either caught unaware or actively supported the expansion of the OTC market for subprime debt and derivatives.”

Sure, mortgage brokers making liar loans in FL were partly to blame for the mortgage crisis of the 2000s, but as my friends Josh Rosner and Gretchen Morgenson documented so well in the 2012 book “Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Created the Worst Financial Crisis of Our Time,” Wall Street certainly must share the credit for this catastrophe with a generation of policy makers in Washington.  The monopoly position of the big banks and GSEs, combined with the infinite leverage of unregulated credit derivatives, are equal factors in the story. 

Don’t get me wrong, Michael Lewis is a fabulous writer and author, and “The Big Short” is a great book and an even better movie.  We owe Lewis, McKay and everyone involved with this film a debt of gratitude for telling at least part of the story of the financial crisis and telling it so well.  Indeed, as my new wife Nicole and I walked around Paris over Christmas, we saw lines of people waiting to see The Big Short, an appropriate scene given the role of some of the largest French banks in creating complex derivatives based upon American subprime mortgage debt. 

If my vote counts, The Big Short deserves a lot of awards for both the acting and the directing of a very complex story.  But never forget that derivatives like credit default swaps are the fuel that turned a mere bubble in the US housing market into a global financial meltdown, the effects of which are still being felt eight years later.

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chomu's picture

I'm looking forward to reading Lewis' future book about the 2017-2019 global financial crisis, to be appropriatly titled "The Big Clusterf*ck"

 

toncuz's picture

It's good this movie exposes the true reasons for the financial crisis. 

Ralph Nader says Hank Paulson, Bush's Treasury Secretary made 500 million from Credit Swaps. But, that's just an aside. The entire "poor people caused the crisis" is pure Republican porpaganda to deflect from the fact that the financial crisis was ENTIRELY their fault. 

All the bills that Clinton signed were written and demanded in compromise by Republicans. The Credit Swap fiasco didn't happen under Clinton as the explosion of sixty TRILLION in Swap sales took place under a Republican Congress and a Republican President who's philosophy was and still is to leave our campaign funding masters...ooops...I mean leave "business" to regulate itself. They could have stopped it. They refused.

Warren Buffet even warned them all as early as 2003 that Swaps had multiplied by TEN from 2001 to 2003 and that they were "financial weapons of mass destruction". The Republican controlled Congress and President did absolutely nothing as the idea of getting people to buy houses fit in perfectly with their "Ownership Society" political strategy that homeowners would vote Republican. 

But...as FDIC Chairwoman, Sheila Bair said..."Fannie was a victim". No...the whole "Fannie and Freddie helped the crisis" was pure GOP bunk to "spread the blame" as they knew it was entirely their fault as their "philosophy" of letting criminals watch their own prison was under attack.  

Vendetta's picture

Nader has been howling in the wilderness for decades with no one listening to the simple truth of what he's been saying.  Speaker of the House Newt Gingrichs' congress in collaboration with Bill Clinton passed the legislation and deregulated the wolves of greed and avarice and, coincidently, amassed fortunes post office of greater than $100 million ... and there are some people who simply don't get it.  The only thing that is bipartisan in the political arena is the screwing of ordinary working amerikans and other people around the world.... at great personal gain to those who do the damage to others.  It is a complete disgrace and continues on to this day.

dinkum's picture

When I wrote about early variations in 1981 for a government client, a key witness was suicided. Three indictments, convictions and time in prison resulted. 

In 2004 and 2005 I retained guild figures to pitch a fictional screenplay I wrote based upon precise facts. Totally rejected for being too fantastic, unbelievable with too much sex, drugs and manic characters earning impossible profits. 

I will try again in time for the second half 2016 distressed sell-offs in the US oil patch with fantastic, amazing, breathtaking and spectacular profits in mid to long term time horizons. 

Extremely predictable even to non-Wise men on the 2016 Epiphany today -- 6Jan16. 

smithanderson7868@gmail.com's picture

That's very amazing movie. I read this post and am very happy to see this interesting post. Get shop rubberized gym flooring from http://www.gymflooringco.co.uk/gym-flooring.html

OldPhart's picture
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Follow this user's comments It's considered spam to make a mindless comment and link a sales pitch.  On the basis that you're a real person (since you posted you email address [poor, poor you]) this is a gentle warning that the Tylers will excise you before you have a chance to get edikated.
cheech_wizard's picture

He is just asking to be opted-in...

Standard Disclaimer: Followups to misc.test

two beers's picture

Nice revisionist history. Washington didn't "embrace" derivatives; Washington ignored them.

The CFMA got the government out of regulating derivatives. The CFMA replaced "functional (government) regulation" with "entity-based supervision of OTC derivatives dealers," as a nice way to say, "the fox guarding the henhouse."

CFTC Chairwoman Brooksley Born opposed this hijacking of the government monitoring that got the gummint "off Wall St's back." The architects of this move? Rubin, Gramm, and Ayn Rand fanboy Greenspan. Clinton gleefully signed the act, making him the one person ulitimately responsible for the derivatives bubble and subsequent GFC.

 Most posters here hate everything the government does (apart from the occasional bomibng of hospitals and weddings in Afghanistan), but the CFMA was a coup by Wall St to get gummint oversight "off its back," and let the magical market work its wonders unhindered by gummint meddling.

If you think the derivatives bubble was caused by gummint regulation and meddling (even though Wall St was left to "regulate itself"), just who do you expect to monitor these magical free markets and make sure these Ponzi schemes don't occur? The ghosts of Hayek, Friedman, and Ayn Rand?

 

. . . _ _ _ . . .'s picture

The key word of the entire movie was "water."

There was even a reference to it in a graph on the wall.

The only question remaining is, "Long Nestle, Brita, or Katadyn?"

Then again, maybe the derivatives market knows something about disaster capitalism and water pollution.

Maybe long Brazil olympics?!?

cheech_wizard's picture

No, look deeper for the fleecing...

Try looking into Yardi Systems and Yes Energy Management, their subsidiary.

Then start reading the complaints. You can just smell the corruption and the greasing of palms.

Standard Disclaimer: If you must rent avoid any apartment complex that has any affiliation with these people.

TrustbutVerify's picture

"The Big Short" covers what?  10% of the story?  And yet upon reading it or seeing it people assume they understand the whole story.  Laughable. I see this as more intentional ignorance - more of the same willful blindness that led to the problem.  

Kyle Bass, in the latest WallStreetWeek.com interview, reminds viewers of the much bigger untold story when he mentions his conversations with institutions before the crash - a government institution included. (I also noted, too, Bass's point of view on potential Fed rate hikes in a listen-quickly-or-you'll-miss-it comment - maybe revealing just what deep trouble he thinks this country is in.)

Online videos of Kyle Bass, and others, are well worth taking time to find and see (and listen to).   One video of particular interest that comes to mind is Bass and Mike Mayo trying to explain things to a government commitee.  

The above article cannot explain fully enough the pressures from "on high" that were (are) there to keep the housing, and other, lending Ponzis going.  Check Ken Langones comment on Barney Frank in his WallStreetWeek.com interview.

It ain't over till its over.   

 

 

OldPhart's picture

The book/movie is purposefully simplified so that  those who know little about finance, like me, can understand a little bit about what they are reading/watching without endangering the author.

I did my homework once I woke up in 2008.  I've seen the videos of Frank, Shumer and others.  And I've followed this shit-show since.  It's too complex to explain in a book, movie or article (though Vampire Squids did a superb overview) unless you're fully immersed in this bullshit or a financial PHD (piled higher and deeper).

To get the message to the great, ignorant, masses the message has to be simplified to explain how they were ass-raped.

And, I haven't even seen the movie, yet.  I expect it to be on HBO next week.

dreihoden's picture

... & which required banks to carry a certain % of CRA loans on their books ... Fucker.

dreihoden's picture

Slick Willie enabled the shitstorm by signing the Community Reinvestment Act of 1995, which radically loosened mortgage standards & re-legalized CDS's. 

two beers's picture

Clinton is reponsible for the GFC, because he signed the CFMA and repealed Glass-Steagall.

Actually, Fanny and Freddie had far fewer defaults than the private lenders. The private lenders were never even forced to do anything, the CRA just made it easier for credit-worthy minorities to get loans at a time when the lenders had no interest in them.

Again, I agree that Clinton is the one who is ultimately responsible, but you're missing the forest for the trees. It's nice to blane the collapse on poor black and brown people, but it was actually the ARMs that caused most damage, and the vast majority of those went to whites.

OldPhart's picture

In 2006 my credit manager came to me with a loan declaration for his daughter.  It had some ridiculous ARM, and he asked me if it was a good deal.  I said 'shit, no!'...she'd be an idiot to sign that thing.

His daughter signed.

She lives with him now.

Vendetta's picture

If they titled the movie "Yedi Knights of Wall Street: Using the HFT Force" it probably would be a much bigger box office hit due to the sheeples' confusion.

inosent's picture

The story is old news, and there is a 'who cares' attitude concerning the issues it touches on. The best part for me was how these guys created a market that did not exist and then took massive risks, did nto run, but just held on. Most ppl cant do that. In real time, as things are unfolding, and things getting *worse*,  well, it sucks :) But these guys  did not break. The market did, and they won. I have been down that road a few times, on a much smaller scale, but I know how it feels in the darkness, as time drags on, the initial premise made so much sense, but all you get is opposition, and all the 'news' goes against you, and there is never any shortage of traders who love to show up at the last minute to keep trading fundamentals that are totally ancient, just to keep your head under water a little longer, hoping you die. Ah, but, I am still here :)

rhadamanthus's picture

That's what it's like holding Bitcoin.

Scarlett's picture

 

What neither the book nor the film get around to telling us in full is that Washington’s embrace of gaming instruments like CDS not only helped the characters in the story bet against subprime mortgages, but also enormously amplified the scope of the 2008 financial crisis.   

hmmm nope?  It was synthetic CDOs, brother.  

All the CDS did was expose the lie.

rhadamanthus's picture

That's what it's like holding Bitcoin.

Lets Buy The Dip's picture

another BIG SHORT could be APPLE at the moment. She went down like a taiwaneese hooker today. -2% wow!

Apple keeps getting KICKED IN THE BALLS lately!!! OUCH.

SEE THE CHART HERE ==> http://www.bit.ly/1B4K0wk

Take me to crazy town, but We have only been trading for two days in 2016, and investors are already looking nervous. Hmmmm.

joga bonito's picture

Tim Cook needs a disruptive innovation, and not apple watch

tunetopper's picture

Why is it that no one seems to understand the basic premise that shorting is not inherently bad, its naked shorting thats the problem. 

Example: creating either a bad asset to sell short ie. subprime loans OR- allowing the creation of  more short positions than there are principal of the item being shorted. 

Further - the system whereby this occurred was an illegal cartel called CDS Indexco.  No one seems to ever go far enough to expose the entire fraud.  Maybe they live in a culture of fear and are thus afraid to expose the fraud in its entirety.

 

In the case of the BBB- ABX index Credit Default Swap short sales -- BOTH of these occurred.

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

"...its naked shorting thats the problem. "

Indeed it is.  In the insurance industry the analogy is referred to as an "insurable interest."  Given that CDS advocates often refer to swaps as insurance-like instruments (which they can be), the analogy is apt.   

In traditional insurance, my wife can take out a life insurance policy on me, but I cannot take out a policy on my neighbor or stranger.  To allow the latter creates, shall we say, perverse incentives.  In fact that lesson was learned in the early (17th century?) London insurance markets where policies could be taken out on strangers....strangers who, oddly enough, would often be found dead weeks or months later.  

If CDS buyer can take swaps with notionals measured in multiples of the underlying, it ceases to be even gambling and turns into fraud.  When viewed in the insurable interest light, it easier to see why the fraud is not just wrong (which it is) but mathematically unsustainable.  Insurers cant afford to pay multiple times on a single casualty event, and they certainly cant do so when the underlying insured is designed from the get go to fail.  

tunetopper's picture

CDS with multiples of nationals in excess of underlying were approved by the ISDA when Delphi defaulted (2005) so the Cartel assumed they could settle for cash upon the default of the ABX- CDS. Gambling is and was illegal in the St of NY - soooo under what legal premise can a fraud like this be constructed- I mean how did they assume it wasn't a fraud???

Kickaha's picture

And don't forget that property insurers are regulated to have actual loss reserves available in the event of a claim.  AIG's London office sold lots of these "insurance policies" and never set up any sort of loss reserve.  It would have interfered with the annual bonus payouts.

alexcojones's picture

Probably everyone on Zerohedge, even the trolls and MDB, knew more about the so-called Big Short, long before the effing big short occured.

Only the sheeple need movies like this - and they still refuse to "get it!"

malek's picture

To paraphrase:

It is hard to get a sheeple to understand something, if his comfy feeling depends on his not understanding it.

Money Boo Boo's picture

Great article and adds a lot more insight into the situaion as well_ thank you for writing this!

Dr. Bonzo's picture

The movie is okay, the book is a bit pedantic. Lewis' writing skills are greatly exaggerated. He goes on and on and on attempting to explain how subprime derivates were structured but uses the same metaphor every time. It gets a bit old after the 3rd time. His character portrayals are stock, off-the-shelf, his best lines are likely direct quotes from the people he interviews. I think Lewis is so liked by the establishment because he manages to say "tsk tsk" without making the next step and simply saying, look, these guys are all fucking crooks.

Eisman says it. The Cornwall Capital guys say it. Kudos to them. But they're just  characters in the book and Lewis kneecaps them by playing up how dumb and short-sighted the bankers were, rather than malicious and intentionally criminal. I've read several other analyses that come out and say it without beating around the bush. The mortgage bond market was one massive fraud from top to bottom with thousands of bad actors that should have been prosecuted. Full stop. Lewis keeps tiptoeing around the edges. That and his mediocre writing skills make this an average read. The movie is entertaining.

Kickaha's picture

I liked the movie's delicate touch.  The criminality was portrayed onscreen, and the viewer is left to draw his own conclusions without some character in voice-over telling you what you should think and how you should feel about it, except for that last sarcastic bit about nobody going to jail when by that time you should have concluded on your own that many, many people should have been sent to the slammer.

The number of perps portrayed in the movie included bankers, stock brokers, hedge funds, rating agencies, the SEC, real estate agents, financial seminars, the financial press, and clueless mortgagors.  Maybe there were bigger and smaller fish involved, but the movie displays a lot of gruesome creatures in its net.  It would be hard for anybody to leave the theatre without questioning if all across the nation morals and ethics had been sold for a little bit (well, maybe a lot) of money.

I've read some criticism that the movie should have included segments showing the role of the GSE's and Congress in initiating the housing crisis.  So maybe the government decided to open the door, but the real blame should still rest with the greedy bastards who walked through that opened door.  Sins of commission make for better storytelling than sins of omission. 

 

Fed-up with being Sick and Tired's picture

I appreciate your thoughtful comment, and with all due respect, I do NOT believe that the Government was not WHOLLY in this, fist-ful of dollars style.   Remember that Wall street doles out Lobby monies.

12357111317's picture

Test.  First post with new name.  Old name was "thegreatrecovery".  Name before that was something I can no longeer remember, but it was, apparently, before Zerohedge shifted to this format.

The characters in the book are real people.  They are who they are.  They are amazing people. 

I think that anyone who writes a book which provides some insights into the activities of the crooks who run the country has to be careful, and being careful means avoiding widening your aim.  Widen it just enough to show a few of the crooks.  Anyone with enough brains to vote will also have enough brains to see what you're pointing out.

I thought the book did show the bankers to be malicious.  Actually, what does "malicious" mean?  I think it means Myers-Briggs ENTP personality type, which indicates that other people simply don't matter to you.  For an ENTP, only his plans and desires matter, and whatever he did to enrich himself which clearly hurt others is, he tells himself "only what we HAD to do".

As my wise friend used to say, "the only time somebody ever gets something for nothing is when somebody else is getting nothing for something".  The entire City of New York is built on "something for nothing".  The "something for nothing" people gravitate to it.

Not that New York City is the only place.  Obviously, this is happening also in Rome, Riyadh, London, Brussels, Las Vegas, Miami, Tel Aviv, and many others.

Scarlett's picture

That's correct; Lewis is just staying away from nail guns.

superdave's picture

Dr. Bonzo, I disagree as far as what you have to say about Michael Lewis' writing skills.  I find him to be informative and entertaining.  His biggest gift, in my humble opinion, is that he is a great story teller. Have you read, "Blindside" or "Moneyball"?  Both incredible stories and true. 

I do agree with you, however, that he does tiptoe around the corruption of Washington & Wall Street. My biggest disappointment with him is he does not name names. He is too much an insider with the power elite for my liking. And yes, he does just skim the surface when it comes to the corruption.  The average person watching this movie will get a hint of the corruption but have no idea how rancid and rotten our government is.  

Dr. Bonzo's picture

That's cool Superdave. I'm more in the Hunter Thompson school stylistically. I enjoy how Hunter could inject invective and communicate moods with subtle hilarity. To me Lewis is just too.... stock. And a lot of his writing is just completely artless. Matt Taibbi over at Rolling Stone is a HST worshipper, his writing is a closer approximation of what I can stomach. Giant vampire squid an all.

Haven't gotten around to the other books, but blurbs say most of Lewis' books are cookie-cutter.

The average person watching this movie will get a hint of the corruption but have no idea how rancid and rotten our government is.

Exactly dude.

Duc888's picture

 

 

I kinda wish PJ  O Rouke wrote The big Short.    It woulda been a hoot.       Ya gotta read Parliament of Whores" some time. 

Timeless.

FrankDrakman's picture

Apparently, you missed the end where Gosling's voice over talks about the hundreds of bankers rounded up and sent to prison... NOT! He goes right out and says they're crooks but they're not being prosecuted. Lewis expects his readers have enough sense to be outraged, as I was. 

Lewis is an excellent writer. You would do well to emulate him. 

Downtoolong's picture

I was the only person in the theater who laughed outloud sarcastically immeditately after that scene. Everyone else sat silent. I think they all thought it was a statement of fact until the truth was revealed two seconds later.

The sheeple don't get it. They never will. They don't want to.

 

MASTER OF UNIVERSE's picture

Denial was the first psychological defence mechanism outlined by Sigmund Freud historically. Denial is most often associated with unconscious wishes that are sexual in nature. The prospect of psychological denial playing a part that occupies the minds of so-called sheeple in terms of high finance dark pool derivatives is real, but only from the standpoint that 'sheeple' could possibly understand Financialization/Securitization, dark pool derivatives structure of betting, and the self-serving nature of the ratings agencies, all at the same time without ever taking a course in Statistics at the university level, or a course in Macro-Economics at the university level. In brief, by analogy, only those that are bright enough to understand the structure of Casino betting are adept enough to grasp exactly what is going on in the fixed system fraud of credit default swaps, and derivatives, Collateralized Debt Obligations, and Synthetic Collateralized Debt Obligations, et cetera.

 

Don't ever forget that Economics is not a real hard science, and is most closely associated with pseudoscience like the lion's share of most disciplines in the Social Sciences domain of academia, and scientific research. Economics purports to be empirically based, but Central Bankers bastardize metrics for monetary, and political purposes, eh.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The possession of negative 'knowledge' or 'knowing' implies a responsibility to act upon the knowledge. The best way to avoid the implied responsibility is not to know.

"I see nothing. I was not here. I did not get up this morning." - The Sgt Schultz defense

kingvaclav's picture

Review of the Big Short: Essential Viewing-

http://winteractionables.com/?p=29273

lordbyroniv's picture

Yes,.....we need to blame the FEDERAL RESERVE too. 

End The Fed.

That is all.

 

Global Observer's picture

End The Fed.

Your wish will be granted soon when the US$ reaches parity with the Zimbabwe $. However, what follows may not be exactly be to your liking. What is likely to follow will be a Eurozone style North American Union with a single fiat currency (Amero?) across Canada, the US and Mexico and free movement of people, goods and capital across the union. Like that?

Ghordius's picture

global observer... eurozone style? I don't even know where to start complaining about this comparison

"eurozone style" includes the choice of leaving, for starters. or the choice of restoring border controls. or things like a bonus cap on bankers

if you had a "eurozone style" thing running, the very first thing that would happen is that your Empire State would have it's own currency and weasel around bonus caps on bankers, while keeping it's role as financial center for the rest of the thing. while Texas would immediately leave, of course

please, don't compare apples with bananas