Sunday, September 29, 2013

Inequality for All | Robert Reich

Just watched Robert Reich's documentary, Inequality for All, at the Camelview theater in Scottsdale.

Before I give my own personal review of this movie, let me state Dr. Reich's objective in creating this documentary beforehand. According an excerpt from the film's website -

We’re in the biggest economic slump since the Great Depression, and we can’t seem to get out of it. Why? Because, exactly as in the 1920s, so much of the nation’s income and wealth are going to the top, that the vast middle class doesn’t have the purchasing power to keep the economy going.

Until we can take a step back and understand the big picture, we can’t do anything to get ourselves out of this mess. Our democracy as we know it depends on it. I’m an educator. I love the classroom. But I also write books, appear on television and on the radio, and do everything else I can do to help people understand the economic truth. It’s my life’s work and it’s more important than ever.

One of the best ways to help people understand the challenges we face, is with a movie that can grab an audience and move them to action. And this movie will do exactly that.

With that in mind, this documentary did exactly what Dr. Reich said it would do.

It explained the big picture of our country's current economic crisis, how we got here, what's causing the widening inequality in America, and provides a generalized optimistic point of view that the 99% of us can overcome the serious threat that our democracy faces from the 1%.

You can't help but like Dr. Reich, especially since he's on the side of the people. He's a captivating and knowledgeable educator, with a self-deprecating sense of humor, but serious about his mission. He's an unfailing optimist and great motivator for positive change, and this film will show that.

Not that it's a bad thing, but be aware, Inequality for All also serves as a personal narrative about Dr. Reich. The film includes many personal introspects into Dr. Reich's life, from his youth through his time serving as Secretary of Labor during the Clinton administration, and his legacy since.

Dr. Reich also didn't venture into any specifics on how to fix our economic problems and the widening inequality gap, instead deferring potential solutions to the young people that he's trying to motivate. His basis for optimism is America's prior history with inequality at the beginning of the 20th Century (Progressive Era), and the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s. We've done it before, so we can do it again.

I liked the documentary. If there was one negative to it, it was Dr. Reich's one-sided view of the Clinton Administration's accomplishments, citing many of its positive contributions to the economy without including President Clinton's political failings, which contributed to causing the Great Recession and what's happened since. However, you can't fault the guy for trying to do his old friend/boss a solid.

Because I keep up with these things on a daily basis, am already familiar with Dr. Reich's work, and already understand the big picture, I would give Inequality for All a rating of 6/10. I found it to be more of a documentary about the author himself, instead of a film that provides any specifics into fixing our decaying economic and political systems. I failed to read the film's objective beforehand.

In essence, what the good professor is saying through this documentary is basically the same thing that I've been saying for years myself - that the only way to change things is for the people to band together as one voice, and act out against these injustices. He's confidently optimistic that we will.

Unfortunately though, like my other hero points out, I think that we're still too fat and happy.

Until Americans can get our heads out of the cellphones that make us pancakes and rub our balls, nothing is going to change. And it doesn't seem as though inequality has inflicted enough pain upon the middle class just yet. We need our balls to be squeezed in order for change to occur.

To be fair about my rating, if you're not someone who frequently keeps up with these type of things, then you'll probably find Inequality for All an enlightening, educating, motivating, and enjoyably entertaining film, and probably rate it higher. Go see it and decide for yourself. Here's the trailer -

1 comment:

  1. Funny thing - when I went to see this film, I expected an empty theater. However, the place was packed and seating was limited.

    Here's another review of Inequality for All. No One Talks About the Poor Anymore: The Persistence of Inequality