Brooksley Born on Frontline Tuesday

October 20, 2009

From PBS:

“We didn’t truly know the dangers of the market, because it was a dark market,” says Brooksley Born, the head of an obscure federal regulatory agency — the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) — who not only warned of the potential for economic meltdown in the late 1990s, but also tried to convince the country’s key economic powerbrokers to take actions that could have helped avert the crisis. “They were totally opposed to it,” Born says. “That puzzled me. What was it that was in this market that had to be hidden?”

In The Warning, airing Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS, veteran FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk unearths the hidden history of the nation’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. At the center of it all he finds Brooksley Born, who speaks for the first time on television about her failed campaign to regulate the secretive, multitrillion-dollar derivatives market whose crash helped trigger the financial collapse in the fall of 2008.

Born’s story is well-known, but it will be interesting to hear her tell it in her own words. If you can’t catch the show on PBS, it will be available online as well.


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I had never heard of Brooksley Born and I\’m a news junkie. They did a good job of \”burying\” her. Thanks so much to PBS and the producer of The Warning. I have taped it and will encourage my friends to watch for it again. President Obama – beware of these greedy power hungry appointees-Rubin, Geitner and Summers. I hope cable and main news media give time to Brooksley Born so that she can continue to educate we the people.

Posted by Anne O'Connor | Report as abusive

I am in agreement with all of the positive posts regarding the Frontline special about Brooksley Born. I JUST KNEW IT!!! I am no financial genius but I felt all this happening in my gut back then. As a self employed interior designer my small company felt the effects of the entire market crashing very early on. I had a sick feeling in my gut every time Greenspan opened his mouth and half the time I didn’t even know what he was talking about. Call it intuition. I felt the same thing the first time George Bush came on the scene. Needless to say I completely trust my gut. I pray President Obama will turn to Brooksly Born as an advisor. Let’s hope there is a silver lining to this dark gray cloud….smarter, less greedy people in the right places, a change of conciousness globally. Maybe it had to get this bad in order to change. Brooksley, I would give you a big hug if I could meet you. You’ve got balls, gal.

Posted by Melissa | Report as abusive

it’s really a joke (and hurts) after knowing the real truth of what’s happened inside the govt. i’m sure people all over the world are making a joke out of Greenspan & his allies.i’ve had my own doubts back when he was re-elected for the so-many times. it’s like c’mon, how old is he?? kinda feeling to see a super-power country’s money was handed to a grandpa. what a bunch of clueless idjets.a big applause to PBS and hands down to Born. too bad, in this world, good people, most of the time, are pushed away, silenced or ridiculed – but when their ideas/warnings are accepted/become reality, those people won’t get credited, either. so sad.. so sad..

Posted by where all mymoney go | Report as abusive

Kudos to Brooksley Born for understanding that there was more to the LTCM mess than a few noble prize winning economists making a mistake. It should also be pointed out that subsequent books and articles appeared warning about systemic risk, including but by no means limited to my own book (with Ben Lee) on financial derivatives and the globalization of risk. The financial field considered most of these books to be not even worth a review, and the reviews that did appear informed us in no uncertain terms that we had no idea what we were talking about. Systemic risk was simply not possible. It is rather important that the public understand that what appears in the financial media presently represents an interested interpretation of what is going on. It represents the point of view of the financial field, and must be understood in that way.

One additional comment. Men such as Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Storch (the new head of SEC enforcement)have all spent so much time in the financial field (mostly as Goldman Sacks) that they have deeply internalized its views, dispositions, and perspectives about the relationship between finance and regulation — which is to have as little regulation as possible because regulation is inherently economically disfunctional.

The reason the America is no longer the shining beacon of democracy and the American public are in the dark about actual true American patriots and heroes like Ms Brooksley Born, and news worthy events (like massive nationwide protests before and during the US’ unprovoked INVASIONS and CONTINUED OCCUPATIONS of Iraq, Afghanistan, and of the lands of the Palestinian people (by the other bully of Earth, Israel)), is because the so-called “news” outlets, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNBC are run by corrupt corporations employing gutless pseudo-”journalists” who flood the airwaves with distractions such as Balloon without a Boy in it, missing 2 year old (Kaylee in Florida), and countless “Reality” shows showing the world that we are a nation of morons who delight in watching such mindless crap. Obama is continuing to break campaign promises of hope and change, and his continued ability to ignore his own behaviour will lead to this being his first and last term as leader of this rapidly sinking ship which is about to explode on the ocean floor and leave nothing but destruction for the masses. Geitner, Sommers, Rubin, Greenspan, Bernanke, etc are just boils that continue to fester along with the likes of the ever greedy evil Cheney and his gang of ex-White House thugs who are walking around like innocent free men.

Other than AIG might not have screwed to such an extent if somebody was watching, explain how Born’s actual regulatory proposals would have helped avert the credit crisis of 2008.Good luck.

Posted by JCH | Report as abusive