Sunday, October 20, 2013

Inequality For All (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

  Inequality for All

Jacob Kornbluth's  "Inequality for All" features the charismatic   economist Robert Reich giving his analysis of our current sickened economy. While this could have been a snore-fest, Kornbluth's direction is lively enough to make even the distracted layman compelled.

Kornbluth gives a stirring and easily digestible story of our economy and by no means should it be thought of as exclusive or esoteric. It is meant for all of us. It is also not meant as an economic autopsy, but as a reading of our current psychological condition as a stimulated and sufficient country.

There are opportunities to act upon and poles to be reversed.

According to Reich, the problems of our economy are legion. It is not one single thing. At root, the Middle Class, our coral limestone of Democracy has become cheapened, cheated and undervalued. There are many reasons. The median wage has stagnated, there is Wall Street deregulation, under Reagan unions have dissolved to sugar water, and corporations are now raging Jagernauts that swallow mom and pop retail stores. Yet at rock bottom, the primary causes seem twofold: the cursory treatment of higher education and fact that we, as middle class consumers, do not really make anything big as we did in the 1950s.

Our current age is one of financiers and lobbyists and neither one has our best interests at heart.

Reich cautions against the Occupy movement and the Tea Party. Such groups are mere agents of polarity serving only to tear our society apart with no sutures to make it whole. This makes economic health equally perilous on both sides.

But the film is not without its human scope.

The scenes of Reich modestly getting out of his Mini Cooper, with wooden box in hand to face either congress or the classroom are intimate and poetic in their simplicity  as are the montages---offered in split screen ala Brian De Palma---illustrating the vivid parallels between 1929 and our present. Reich is tireless and unflagging, he states that his championing of the Middle Class stems from when he was bullied in school as an unusual looking person given his striking shortness from Fairbanks syndrome. Because of this bullying, he has always sought to give power to those with no position or voice.

There is solid information presented combined with a human spirit as everyday working people are shown against some well meaning but isolated entrepreneurs and CEOs. One one percenter interviewed correctly cites as the greatest economic success of our time but concedes that it can be thought of as an automated machine that just doesn't create jobs.

With globalization, automation conquers all.

All is not certain doom however. Reich is a shade cynical during lonely nights, but by day he is hopeful. The choice is ours. With our thoughts we can vote out the special interests of Washington and reinstate the working people. Reich has one single mantra: our government makes the rules.

And since we know that governments are made of people, We, the everyday middle class, can create the world that we desire.

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