The heads of Wall Street's biggest investment banks were summoned to an evening meeting by the US Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, to discuss the plight of another - Lehman Brothers. After... See full summary »
The heads of Wall Street's biggest investment banks were summoned to an evening meeting by the US Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, to discuss the plight of another - Lehman Brothers. After six months' turmoil in the world's financial markets, Lehman Brothers was on life support and the government was about to pull the plug. Lehman CEO, Dick Fuld, recently sidelined in a boardroom coup, spends the weekend desperately trying to resuscitate his beloved company through a merger with Bank of America or UK-based Barclays. But without the financial support of Paulson and Lehman's fiercest competitors, Fuld's empire - and with it, the stability of the world economy - teeters on the verge of extinction. Written by
BBC press release
Henry 'Hank' Paulson:
The west is fucked. We fucked it up. Oh, not just you and me. All of us. The west, it's done. It's over. You want to call it a game? This is the game. You want your great-grandchildren speaking Chinese? The dollar is going to go. We had Rome, then Europe then this. Us. This thing with cars and stereos and hula-hoops. And we screwed it all up. We ran through it all. This stuff. And we've come out on the other side where it's... I dunno. Where is this place? Oh yeah. We have this one weekend ...
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This was difficult to watch. It was, I believe, intended for outsiders. Unfortunately, only insiders would know the players without a score card. Not many casual viewers would have known that "Tim" was Tim Geithner; "Hank" was Hank Paulson, etc. Only Dick Fuld was identified and had I not read something about the period I would not have known who was being portrayed.
It was also a great story told very poorly. There was a brief voiced-over introduction by an irrelevant character but, nothing nearly in depth enough to initiate the casual observer as to the historic nature of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. In fact, we enter the story well into the crisis. Again, insiders would not have cared but, the casual observer, the people who need to watch this, would not have understood the references to Bear Sterns, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac without some introduction or "ramping up" to tie the threads together and put the event into perspective. As such, without the before (Bear Sterns, Fannie and Freddie) and the after (AIG, Wachovia, Morgan Stanley), the story is about one rich dude with a bad attitude trying to get a number of "suits" to help him out of a jam. In actuality, it was a serious event the full implications of which we will not know for many years. The fact that 47 percent of Americans think the Republicans would do a better job of running the economy indicates how little about the causes of this crisis main street really understands; they are ready to give the keys to the car back to the guys who ruined it in the first place.
All in all --- important story directed at the wrong audience.
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