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Frontline: The Warning


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Product Details

  • Actors: Reported By Jim Gilmore
  • Directors: Michael Kirk
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: January 5, 2010
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002Q5O6ZW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,986 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

In the devastating aftermath of the economic meltdown, THE WARNING sifts through the ashes for clues about why it happened and examines critical moments when it might have gone much differently. Looking back into the 1990s, FRONTLINE discovers early warnings of the crash and uncovers an intense battle between high-ranking members of the Clinton administration vs. one woman trying to sound the alarm about the need to regulate the emerging, highly complex, and lucrative derivatives markets, which would become the ticking time-bomb within the American economy.

Customer Reviews

God help us all.
Allegrobas
Ironically, the gains from these transactions are privatized, while the losses are socialized... the ultimate in corporate welfare.
Doctor A.
This is especially true of political documentaries.
Darth Mortis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Doctor A. on May 26, 2010
An objective and fact-based account of how derivatives impacted our 2008 economic depression. Sadly, many people fail to understand that these financial instruments are essentially "vaporware" -- the exclusive side-bets of uber-wealthy insiders that have no intrinsic value or sustainable wealth creation. The complete lack of federal regulation and the absence of transparency is virtually casino capitalism in a black box.

Alongside derivatives exist credit default swaps, securitized debt instruments, and the entire smorgasbord of pseudo-transactions of Wall Street. Ironically, the gains from these transactions are privatized, while the losses are socialized... the ultimate in corporate welfare. Given the well-documented nefarious tactics of Summers, Rubens and Greenspan to shield the derivatives market, the courageous efforts of Brooksley Born to bring this debacle to light are extraordinary.

After viewing this presentation (or any of the numerous documentaries on our current economic catastrophe), it is astounding that any thinking person would object to the need for appropriate market regulation or mandated transparency in our public and private institutions. As Justice Louis Brandeis once remarked, "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
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This PBS DVDs preserves a memorable episode from their award-winning Frontline documentary series. "The Warning" is a surprising revelation of how early warnings of impending economic meltdown were tragically ignored; high-ranking members of the Clinton administration were at odds witha lone woman seeking to advocate the need to regulate the complicated new derivatives market that would eventually sour the nation's economy. A fascinating story of how entrenched self-interest to the extent of blindness stymied the earliest attempts to prevent future economic meltdown. Highly recommended, especially for public library documentary collections. 60 minutes.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Darth Mortis VINE VOICE on May 28, 2010
I am a big fan of PBS Frontline documentaries as they seem, at least in my opinion, to be a bit more unbiased than most. This is especially true of political documentaries.

Alan Greenspan for years was considered a financial guru. He carried the opinion that the market would regulate itself and didn't need government interference. How wrong he was (and he later admitted it to congress, and really took a death-dealing blow to his reputation). This is another example of the collective ignorance of the government and old fashioned greed causing people to not only ignore legitimate warnings, but to actively push to cover it up.

I recommend watching this with i.o.u.s.a., FRONTLINE: Ten Trillion and Counting, and Frontline: Inside the Meltdown for a bigger and more in depth overview of the financial crisis.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on March 23, 2010
Verified Purchase
This is the story of one woman who was the lone wolf in the financial world who tried to sound the alarm of the impending financial disaster. Her warning would make her an enemy of very powerful people who would attempt to shut her up and shut her down. Unfortunately, they would succeed.

Brooksley Born who is appointed Chairperson of the Commodities Futures Trade Commission (CFTC). As chairman of the CFTC, Born was authorized to regulate agriculture futures and derivatives. The men she would go up against are Allan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Robert Rubin, who served as Assistant to the President for Economic Policy under Bill Clinton, and Tim Geitner. Rubin's top deputy would be Harvard Economist, Larry Summers. Together they formed a powerful influence. When these men spoke, Government and Wall Stree listened.

Over-the-counter derivatives soon get her attention for its lack of regulation. Derivatives, or swaps, are essentially insurance policies that companies enter into to protect themselves against unforeseen calamities. It is a twenty-seven trillion dollar market that was hidden from public view. In 1993 Proctor & Gamble sued Bankers' Trust for losses in the millions from swaps. Proctor & Gamble employees find secret tapes of conversations between Bankers' Trust representatives bragging how they played P & G knowing they would lose. The only way the Federal Trade Commission found out about the fraud was from the high profile lawsuit. The largest banks are operating in secret. There is no recordkeeping, reporting, or regulation of swaps and their failure could take down the entire financial system.

Worried about an out-of-control financial instrument, Brooksley Born decides to attempt regulation by issuing a concept release.
Read more ›
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Idahome on June 17, 2011
So why don't we all know more aout Brooksly Born? All these men, who were portrayed as great and powerful oz's with the characters of common schoolyard bullies are still better known than the woman whose voice might have prevented all of this. Why is congress still hesitating to regulate derivatives? It has been shown in a number of bank-sized petri dishes that greed, not wisdom rules in black box situations. These people may have known what was best, but were in no way compelled to act that way. One has to wonder why Americans will allow themselves to be beaten and robbed this way while the real criminals are never charged and live out their days in excessive luxury. I think if I were president, I'd want opposing opinions for important matters. Ms. Born should be hailed as an American hero and whistle blower.
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