Margin Call: A movie on strategy and investment banks and morality

Over the weekend I had a chance to watch Margin Call a movie ostensibly about the 2008 financial crisis and the choices made by one fictional investment bank. It was a gripping and fascinating movie. In strategy terms this movie is all about defection from relational contracts.  Under what circumstances do investment bankers burn bridges with other bankers so that they can save their own hides? And even more amazingly do you knowingly sell crappy assets to parties you have been doing business with for a very long time?  Even more compelling is the entire investment banking and financial industry based around finding the sucker who will take your bad assets off your books?  The movie is deep and complex in many ways and it will take me a while to process it all – but if you have watched the movie – would love your comments – and if you have not watched the movie – go see it and lets discuss it here…


3 Comments on “Margin Call: A movie on strategy and investment banks and morality”

  1. I also thought it was a good movie, Teppo. It takes survival of the fittest to a whole new level. I was struck by several things: 1) the casual tone and requisite lack of emotion when someone was fired 2) the need for Kevin Spacey’s character to motivate the troops (which raises questions about psyched out strategy per Russ’ earlier post) 3) whether Jeremy Irons’ character was a psychopath and how important this was to success in the industry 4) why Spacey was so conflicted when he’d done the same thing many times (albeit not on the same scale).

  2. Rich Makadok says:

    The title of this posting is an oxymoron.


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