January 22, 2012
It Was 'A Wonderful Life'
There is probably no more iconic piece of cinematic Americana than Frank Capra's 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life. Even today, families enjoy the folksy warmth of small-town America at Christmas as seen in the golly-gee world of the Bailey family, living their all-American lives in Bedford Falls, NY. And indeed, Americans should watch this timeless classic often but, I suggest, more to remind themselves of just how our modern-day financial problems were born and what cavalier habits bred them. What most fans of the film and the hero of the piece, George Bailey (the role that solidified Jimmy Stewart's career), never realize is that Bailey's story epitomizes the change that America experienced in the postwar era, with his naïve values and intemperate actions laying the foundation for the world-wrecking crisis gripping the globe today. It is a story of "moral hazard" and slipshod financial management run wild in a microcosm of crony capitalism doomed to enshrine the...(Read Full Article)