Socialist Worker

Why save capitalism? It should be put out of its misery

by Bethan Turner
Issue No. 2583

Robert Reich thinks capitalism should be saved from itself

Robert Reich thinks capitalism should be saved from itself (Pic: Harvard Ethics/Flickr)

Former US president Bill Clinton’s secretary for labor Robert Reich thinks inequality is too high and that the rich should pay more tax. He endorsed Bernie Sanders for president.

That’s almost the only nice thing you can say about new documentary Saving Capitalism, which Reich presents. It takes its title from his 2015 book of the same name.

No one’s going to be falling off their chair in shock at the news that the US is a vastly unequal society and people are unhappy about it. But that’s the main thrust of the documentary.

The main problem is you don’t learn anything you didn’t already know but it’s presented as if it’s all groundbreaking information.

The makers do attempt to spice things up. In the first ten minutes you get to see Reich dramatically get off an escalator. Then he gets in a car.

At one point a woman plays golf before driving down a motorway. To add to the tension you get to see lots of footage of Robert Reich looking cross.


You could be forgiven for struggling to see why Reich wants to save capitalism at all. Until he explains he wants a return to the “ethical” capitalism of the 1960s.

The small matters of the Vietnam War, the brutal suppression of the Civil Rights Movement in the US and an illegal bombing campaign in Cambodia aren’t mentioned.

The takeaway is that the US can get back to ethical capitalism by people protesting and taking back control of their democratic institutions.

Protesting and striking are good things. But we can push further than limiting the worst excesses of capitalism—and fight to get rid of it.

Saving Capitalism

Directed by David Kornbluth. Available on Netflix at

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Tue 5 Dec 2017, 13:12 GMT
Issue No. 2583
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