How Movies Created the Financial Crisis

16 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2009

See all articles by Larry E. Ribstein

Larry E. Ribstein

University of Illinois College of Law (deceased); PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: November 1, 2009


Narrative makes sense out of reality and can forcefully persuade listeners to a particular point of view. Artists in general have a narrative of business which springs from their belief that at least some aspects of business are antithetical to art. Filmmakers add to this a resentment of the constraints capital places on their art. Film is particularly persuasive because of its vivid images and because of the consistency of filmmakers’ anti-capitalist perspective on business. Filmmakers’ negative portrayal of capitalists has helped to prepare the public to believe that capitalists - and not government, economic cycles, greedy people or business generally - caused the financial crisis. This will help the public accept a regulatory agenda built on this premise, specifically including the regulation of hedge funds.

Keywords: Film, business regulation

JEL Classification: G38, K20, K22, L21, L51

Suggested Citation

Ribstein, Larry Edward, How Movies Created the Financial Crisis (November 1, 2009). Michigan State Law Review, Winter 2009; U Illinois Law & Economics Research Paper No. LE09-029. Available at SSRN: or

Larry Edward Ribstein (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law (deceased)

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

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