Professor Roger Leeds, director of the Center for International Business and Public Policy at SAIS, kindly offered his time to discuss the movie Inside Job and the 2008 financial crisis with SAIS students on November 4th. Before screening the movie, Professor Leeds gave a brief introduction of its background. After watching the film, Professor Leeds pointed out that the way that this film explains the financial crisis is a relatively simple story: greed, warped value on Wall Street, academia and government that resulted in an egregious betrayal of the public trust, and corruption. The real reasons are much more complicated.
The film criticizes some political leaders with bank background in the past of helping big banks with people’s tax. In contrast, Professor Leeds believed that it was the industry background that made them the most proper people to navigate and save the financial industry and economy during the financial crisis. Otherwise, the financial crisis’s damage to the real economy may be further immense. An important reason of the financial crisis is the conflict between a rapid growing dynamic industry and the lag of relative law and regulation. In the Q&A session, Professor Leeds answered a dozen of students’ questions. For example, a student said that the government’s stricter supervision might be a possible solution to future similar problems. However, Professor Leeds made a point that the financial industry is so complicated that it requires enormous devotion and intelligence from its professionals. The compensation that can attract best talents is far beyond the budget of the public sector.
The International Finance Club was pleased to host such a distinguished speaker to conduct such a highly interactive discussion with students.