Grades 10-12, College, Adult
Directed by David Sington
Produced by Stephen Lambert and Christopher Hird
DVD Purchase $295, Rent $95
US Release Date: 2011
Copyright Date: 2010
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-870-8
Labor and Work Issues
Awards and Festivals
Sundance Film Festival
ALA-VRT Notable Videos 2012
Sheffield Documentary Film Festival
Gold Coast International Film Festival
Boulder Film Festival
Open City London Documentary Film Festival
RiverRun International Film Festival
Milwaukee Film Festival
Oneonta Film Festival
Markets, Money, Mortgages and the Great American Meltdown
Tells the story of the credit bubble that caused the financial crash of 2008, and clearly explains how excessive income inequality leads to economic instability.
[Note: Community screenings of THE FLAW can be booked at Bullfrog Communities.]
In October 2008, a humbled Alan Greenspan admitted to the US Congress that he had been mistaken to put so much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and that he had failed to anticipate the self-destructive nature of wanton mortgage lending and the housing and credit bubble it generated.
Taking for its title Greenspan's admission that he'd found a flaw in his model of how the world worked, THE FLAW attempts to explain the underlying causes of the crisis in more depth than any documentary to date.
Made by international award-winning documentary maker David Sington (IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON), THE FLAW tells the story of the credit bubble that caused the financial crash. Through interviews with some of the world's leading economists, including housing expert Robert Shiller, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, and economic historian Louis Hyman, as well as Wall Street insiders and victims of the crash including Ed Andrews - a former economics correspondent for The New York Times who found himself facing foreclosure - and Andrew Luan, once a bond trader at Deutsche Bank now running his own Wall Street tour guide business, the film presents an original and compelling account of the toxic combination of forces that nearly destroyed the world economy.
The film shows how excessive income inequality in society leads to economic instability. At a time when economic theory and public policy is being re-examined this film reminds us that without addressing the root causes of the crisis the system may collapse again and next time it may not be possible for governments to rescue it.
Note on community screenings: Please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Stephanie at 800-543-3764 and tell us the screening venue and expected audience. Thanks.
"An eye-opening look at the mischief of greed and its global repercussions. A wake-up call for those policy makers that put their heads in the sand and could not detect the rise of systemic risk and the roaring fire that ensued."
Dan Braha, Professor of Complex Systems, New England Complex Systems Institute and Professor of Decision and Information Sciences, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
"This timely documentary skillfully shows the links between the predatory lending practices of the mortgage industry, the easy credit policies of the government, the securitization of mortgages by the banks, and the increasing inequality between the very wealthy and everyone else. But it also shows the impact of the bubble on ordinary Americans who lost their homes, their life savings, and in some cases, their dignity. While accepting American capitalism with its essential profit motive,
John R. Boatright, Professor of Business Ethics, Loyola University Chicago, Author, Ethics and the Conduct of Business and Ethics in Finance
"This is a masterpiece with brilliant cinematography, intellectual mega-stars, and ordinary families, suffering the ordeal of mortgage foreclosure, on the terrible housing-banking crisis of our time...The film convincingly makes the case that our current crisis is rooted in a shift of American capitalism after the 1950s from manufacturing to finance, that produced extreme income inequality, sand-castle-home assets, and very real debts that were ruthlessly exposed by the banking tsunami of 2008. This is the best film ever on the flaws in America's post-industrial capitalism and our inadequate understanding of economic behavior."
Dr. Joseph A. Soares, Professor of Sociology, Wake Forest University, Author, Power of Privilege: Yale and America's Elite Colleges
"The Flaw masterfully explains the warped economic thinking and practices that fueled the 2008 financial meltdown. Until we understand the lessons of The Flaw, we're doomed to continue the extreme inequalities and the boom-bust cycles of casino capitalism."
Chuck Collins, Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies, Director, Program on Inequality and the Common Good, Co-editor, inequality.org
"The Flaw is a hard-hitting and astonishing account of how growing income inequality in rich, developed countries caused the global economic crisis. Mixing animation, interviews, and archive footage, The Flaw tells a compelling but accessible story. If you ever thought that greed was good, or that the free market underpinned a fair and flourishing economy, this film exposes the flaw at the heart of that thinking and reveals the damage caused to the vast majority of us by excessive income inequality."
Kate Pickett, Professor of Epidemiology, University of York, Co-founder, The Equality Trust, Co-author, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better
"Like a jigsaw puzzle, The Flaw comprises a collection of expert comments and statements, which, when assembled, provides a picture of what caused the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression. Anyone teaching about the root causes of the global economic and financial crisis will find The Flaw to be one of a number of useful resources to help students piece together the picture for themselves. A most useful exercise is to contrast the views of those who warned that a crisis was in the offing with those who not only ignored the warnings, but took actions that contributed to its occurrence. There is no substitute for both listening and watching experts, from multiple positions, opining about issues of critical importance."
Hersh Shefrin, Professor of Finance, Santa Clara University, Author, Beyond Greed and Fear: Understanding Behavioral Finance and the Psychology of Investing and Ending the Management Illusion
"The Flaw serves up a damning indictment that meshes with the 'Occupy' anti-Wall Street outlook...Highly recommended."
"Explores aspects of the crisis too often ignored...Packed with information and it does something other videos on the crisis do not do. This video connects the 'dots,' the precursor factors leading to the housing boom and why the crash was so devastating...An excellent video. It covers the real causes of the economic crisis of 2008 and foreshadows the economic crisis of 2???."
Vance Geiger, University of Central Florida, Anthropology Review Database
"Exceptionally well-made...The story begins with decades of success by the 1% and corporate CEOs in driving down incomes for everyone else. How could the majority of Americans maintain their standard of living despite stagnating wages and income? By borrowing. How could the 1% and Wall Street make the most return on the wealth they were accumulating as they paid working people less? By lending it to those same working people."
World Wide Work
"Recommended...The topic is carefully researched and presented, and will provide interesting information for students, investors, and the general public. This DVD is suitable for high school and college students as well as adults, and public and academic libraries will want to purchase."
Susan Awe, University of New Mexico, Educational Media Reviews Online
"Sobering...A thoughtful and absolutely invaluable documentary worthy of the highest recommendation that deserves to be on the DVD shelves of every public and college library in the nation."
The Midwest Book Review
"Particularly insightful are the explanations by economists Robert Shiller and Joseph Stiglitz...Strikes a nice balance between being entertaining and informative...Highly recommended for all viewers."
"The Flaw is the best film we know for explaining the financial meltdown, the crisis of capitalism, and growing inequality. It provides a deeply critical and comprehensive explanation...Engaging."
"The film's conclusion is perhaps not the one that might be expected....The Flaw displays a high level of sophistication in explaining why the markets collapsed as they did, unlike, for instance, Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story."
James Elwes, Prospect
"A lively, iconoclastic look at the current crisis in capitalism"
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"What makes this film stand out is its impassioned, at times enraged, exposé of the way our economic system has become weighted in favour of the super-rich...a furious rallying cry for change which still hasn't come, this is forceful, eye-opening viewing."
Tom Huddleston, Time Out London
"Lively documentary on the 2008 financial crisis...Unchecked capitalism, the growing inequality of incomes, the gap between the super-rich and the rest of us, simple greed and sheer stupidity are identified and explained as major factors."
Philip French, The Observer
"This sobering, informative film will enrage many in the audience. Those smiling on the way to the bank will probably wait for the DVD and watch it with some relief from 50 inch plasma TVs in their basement screening rooms."
Joyce Glasser, Mature Times