Reich’s inequality and its hollow recommendations…


Robert Reich’s Prescription Rings Hollow

~~Inequality for All, the Robert Reich film everyone is swooning over, is a disappointment disguised as a charming little flick for the chorus. It’s really a middle-of-the-road film in which no one is really held responsible for the mess in which we are–neither capitalism, nor Clinton and his era, nor Bush 2, nor even Reich himself.

Don’t get me wrong, I like very much Reich’s writing and viewpoints. But he can’t have it both ways, which he tries to do in this film: be a capitalist and aim to change the system. In the end, his “solution” is the old, hackneyed one of each individual making a difference. Please, dear God, not that one again!

Reich himself is charming and intelligent and on-point. And the film has some innovative aspects to it; it is visually pleasing and intelligently delivered, which almost sabotages the hard truths which lie underneath its surface. But the fundamental questions are dodged, and pretty consistently.  And to put the burden of all the failures of the “system” since the Eisenhower years on the backs of his students at Berkeley, and ask them to fight and make a difference is neither convincing nor correct nor viable. When all else fails, the old song comes back:  Each person can make a difference.  In this film, the slogan sounds very, very hollow. ~~


About Taline Voskeritchian

Writing teacher at Boston University; translator (from Arabic and Armenian); prose writer; occasional editor; incurable wanderer.
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