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Thursday, January 9, 2014

If You Want to Understand Income Inequality in America, Read This Book or Watch This Movie

Posted by on Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 4:32 PM

The documentary Inequality for All is finally available on DVD. You really ought to watch it. Inequality is a feature-length explanation of the American problem of income inequality, as explained by economist (and former secretary of labor) Robert Reich. As an introduction to the sorry state of American economics—that is to say, as an answer to the question, "Why is the economy supposedly improving when everybody I know can barely make a living?"—it's about as clearly stated as it possibly can be. The film explains where the money went and how inequality came to be so pervasive. It uses Reich's considerable gifts as an educator to provide a crash course in everything that's wrong with the economy.

However, if, like me, you learn better from books than you do from movies, you should seek out Reich's 2010 book Aftershock instead. I reviewed Aftershock on its release, and it served as my introduction to Reich's theories about the importance of the American middle-class. In 146 pages, Reich covers pretty much all the ground that Inequality for All covers, and then he forges ahead with a bold proposal to get America's engine of capitalism fully back on line again. It's a book that sticks with you; I've recommended it dozens of times in the years since I first read it.

If you've already read Aftershock, you can rest easy knowing that you missed nothing of importance in Inequality for All. If you've watched Inequality, you'd be better off digging deeper into other economic books than reading Aftershock. This is too important for you to remain ignorant of Reich's theories for any longer. You only need to experience one of these texts to understand where Reich is coming from, but you definitely need to introduce yourself to Reich's teachings somehow. Choose one.


Comments (14) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
Basically, they sold the EU jobs to China, give China free naval and air and ground troop protection by the US military to extract resources without the processing in the US but all the costs in the US and then act surprised you want to be paid half what I made in the 80s, in real constant dollars, for a high school education, but you need a Bachelors Degree ...
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 9, 2014 at 4:46 PM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 2
I recall Reich writing about the day Clinton signed the 1996 law which "...ended welfare as we know it..." He wrote that he looked out the window, expecting to see mobs storming the West Wing before Clinton slashed apart the safety net that had protected the Middle Class for two generations.
Posted by Ballard Pimp on January 9, 2014 at 5:22 PM · Report this
Robert Reich is an America hating moron, though admittedly less errantly stupid than a thing like Mudede.

It's perfectly safe to disregard anything he has to say on anything to do with America. It was only ever written for the sizeable minority that makes up the Dems voting base. That is, whining losers who will neither do the work to make a better life nor accept the consequences for their choices.
Posted by Seattleblues on January 9, 2014 at 5:31 PM · Report this
emma's bee 4
I read Aftershock and then watched Inequality For All. I appreciated both.

Having previously read Locked in the Cabinet and watched a lot of his vlogs, and followed him on Facebook for quite some time, I was prepared for Reich's engaging manner, but it's a different thing to watch him on the screen, connecting with young people as he conducts his class. '

See the movie.
Posted by emma's bee on January 9, 2014 at 5:54 PM · Report this
Rujax! 5

OHHHHHH....SEATTLE BLOOOOZE (the pearl-clutching ass) thinks Reich is "America hating moron." I like Reich a LOT better now.

The real "America hating moron" is the idiot Sb...but we all know that by now.
Posted by Rujax! on January 9, 2014 at 6:57 PM · Report this

For my part, knowing you think that oinking hog Reich likeable confirms my impression of him.

Thanks, buddy!
Posted by Seattleblues on January 9, 2014 at 7:03 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 7
@3- Robert Reich does more for America while taking his morning piss than you've done for America in your whole life.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on January 9, 2014 at 7:15 PM · Report this
Auntie Seattleblues, sweetie, just what exactly is it about what Robert Reich has to say on labor and economics that twists your granny panties?
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on January 9, 2014 at 7:24 PM · Report this
Rujax! 9

I'll put it on your tab.
Posted by Rujax! on January 9, 2014 at 7:49 PM · Report this
In my ideal utopian world, Robert Reich or Elizabeth Warren would be president and anonymous corporate and private election contributions would be illegal.

Corporations are not people, they're vampires. They're a non-human entity that cannot die, cannot be killed and are fundamentally immortal.

That is not a person.

I agree with the bumper sticker, 'I'll believe that corporations are people when Texas executes one.'

These are my thoughts from the SLOG's token gun-toting, assault weapon-wielding, tax-paying, law-abiding, not crazy, volunteering-for-public-service-for-thirteen-years, liberal who has compassion for his fellow man.

Good day.
Posted by CPN on January 9, 2014 at 8:18 PM · Report this
Does Reich mention the devastating effect bastard babies have on the economy?

If he doesn't address the out-of-wed birthrate you can just wipe you ass with the pages of his book.
Posted by kawabunga on January 9, 2014 at 8:34 PM · Report this
@11 What the fuck do you think this is, Game of Thrones?
Posted by Solk512 on January 10, 2014 at 6:26 AM · Report this
I haven't read the book nor watched the movie, but I don't have to in order to know what I need to do in the future to help solve the problem: vote Democratic every single time.
Posted by tniel on January 10, 2014 at 7:26 AM · Report this
@13 - You want to rethink your profound solution after reading "The Best Democracy" post Charles put up this morning?
Posted by cliche on January 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM · Report this

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