While of course we know the outcome of the unfolding events Ferguson describes, his interviews with many of the players in the crisis provide additional insight into the larger question of how could so many very bright people be involved in a failure so huge? The film shows the consequences when thought capital is wrapped around the dogged pursuit of an ideology, in this case deregulation, so that conflicting data or opposing viewpoints are not allowed to interfere.
The band of men from Ivy League economics departments wielded a lot of power in the 30-year push for deregulation. They served as consultants to the industry and were selected for significant regulatory or White House advisor positions. Ferguson raises questions about their objectivity as scholars, as well as whether their integrity was compromised by conflicts of interest and accepting fees from Wall Street, or to testify before Congress, or as expert witnesses.
I’ve already written a recommendation style review of the documentary and this one is very positive as well.
You need to read it to get the full flavor of O’Brien’s prose.