Monday, April 19, 2010

We Never Saw It Coming

I sometimes have time to listen to podcasts. I forget how enjoyable and informative they can be. This American Life is one of my favorites.

Last Sunday I listened to the episode titled: "Inside Job." Here is part of their web page on it:

405: Inside Job
Originally aired 04.09.2010

For seven months a team of investigative journalists from ProPublica looked into a story for us, the inside story of one company that made hundreds of millions of dollars for itself while worsening the financial crisis for the rest of us. It includes our original Broadway song "Bet Against the American Dream": MP3; video; sheet music.


Ira talks about a friend who for years had a very trusted business partner and bookkeeper, until one day when he ran away with all of her money. (1 1/2 minutes)

Act One. Eat My Shorts.

A hedge fund named Magnetar comes up with an elaborate plan to make money. It sponsors the creation of complicated and ultimately toxic financial securities... while at the same time betting against the very securities it helped create. Planet Money's Alex Blumberg teams up with two investigative reporters from ProPublica, Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger, to tell the story. Jake and Jesse pored through thousands of pages of documents and interviewed dozens of Wall Street Insiders. We bring you the result: a tale of intrigue and questionable behavior, which parallels quite closely the plot of a Mel Brooks musical.

If you have any questions after hearing this story, you can email the ProPublica team for an answer. (40 minutes)

We commissioned a Broadway song to go along with this story, which you can listen to here.
This American Life pods are generally pretty comprehensible. I have some interaction with the terminology of this subject, but the way they put it is very easy to follow, with definitions and explanations along the way.

This is an interesting story. The theory was posed that the predator (in this case Magnetar) is just doing what predators do. Can't blame them. True enough I think.

If you're wondering these days how Wall Street really works, listening to the Inside Job will give you some good ideas and maybe even help connect some dots regarding current Wall Street events like the SEC suing Goldman Sachs.


No comments: