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The New Yorker published a profile of “The Big Short,” the 2012 financial news movie starring Brad Pitt, Michael Douglas, and Brad Pitt’s mother, Ang Lee, that’s set to start a movie boom on the festival circuit next week. The New Yorker also has an excerpt from the film’s first “featurette” on its website (below). The film’s main character is Paul Nader, who worked as an economist for the New York Fed during the “bubbles” of the 1980s and 1990s but returned a decade later to work as a trader, after the financial crisis that occurred there. Nader, now a former professor at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, has been speaking with Bloomberg about his book, The Big Short, and the economics of risk, as well as the recent financial crisis, in which he works as a consultant for both American and international banks.
Bloomberg: So when did you finally go back to working on the financial crisis?
Nader: As soon as I finished working as an economist with the Federal Reserve before the 2008 crisis began. That’s when I became a trader, and working for the Fed since ’07 has become an important aspect of my life. I also went to school at MIT and became a finance professor at Tufts [University], to say nothing of working on a lot of big problems, in investment banking and corporate finance, where I’ve been in and out of high-risk positions. So at that point I was in a position of great stress, and working with the Fed at that point was more stress than any of those jobs had ever been.
Bloomberg: Were you surprised in any way by the success of “The Big Short” at the box office?
Nader: I was surprised in that what struck me was how successful it was for many reasons. There are so many reasons for great things like this, but the most important one was that when the movie was shown to people in the United States, and to friends and relatives in Europe and elsewhere, it didn’t scare people and it didn’t raise people’s suspicions about how the economy works. The film said that if the economy isn’t doing well, we’re in a big
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