On November 10th, the Center for the Study of Democracy hosted a viewing of Inequality for All. This documentary was yet another installment of the film series hosted in Cole Cinema.
Inequality for All is hosted by American Economist and Nobel laureate, Robert Reich. The film was debuted in 2013 at the Sundance Film Festival. In the documentary, Reich tells the complex story of income inequality between socioeconomic classes. Reich shows that the effects of inequality of income have major effects on the US economy and democracy in hidden ways.
Today, Reich is a Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. In the past, Reich has contributed to many outlets of journalism to include The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times. From 1993 to 1997, Reich was the Secretary of Labor for President Bill Clinton. In 2008, Time magazine named him one of the Ten Best Cabinet Members of the century.
According to the documentary, over the last thirty years the US economy has doubled in size. But, these gains went to a very few: the top one percent of earners now take in more than twenty percent of all income. This is three times what they received in 1970. The top one percent are seen by the public as CEOs of large companies that make jobs for people. People who are seen as “job creators” are just wealthy people that want to make money for themselves. They are rich not because they spent their time making jobs, but for spending their time making money. Income inequality is even more extreme at the very top. According to Reich, the top 400 richest Americans are wealthier than that of the bottom 150 million.
The film was organized well and centered around a lecture that Reich was giving at the University of California, Berkeley. As Reich explains a new point of information in the lecture, the film cuts to an example of people in the real world. The statistics were shown through a number of models and graphs that made the information easy to recognize.
This documentary points out to the public that there is an injustice in the world that is hidden to the public eye. Seen as just numbers and figures, the facts about income inequality are hard to recognize but they are real.