For over thirty years, you and I have lived through a radical redistribution of wealth — upward, to a tiny fraction of the population — as though we’re part of a bizarre experiment to see how much inequality a democratic society can tolerate. Finally this past year, as a result of the Great Recession that burst the mortgage/refi/credit card bubble that had allowed too many of us to deny reality, people have woken up and “We are the 99%,” the rallying cry of the Occupy movement, has spread far and wide.
CHUCK COLLINS has been on the case since at least 1995, when he co-founded United for a Fair Economy to raise the profile of the inequality issue and support efforts to address it. In fact, when he did so, he was one of my first guests on this show and we talked then about the same issues we will talk about today.
Chuck’s new book, 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It, paints a picture of how disparities in wealth and power play out in America and the world, and identifies the shifts in social values, political power, and economic policy that have led to our current era of extreme inequality. He lays out the destructive cost of inequality on virtually every aspect of society.
But Collins believes there’s hope and offers proposals for closing the gap, and a guide to many of the groups working toward a society that works for everybody.
PHILLIPE DIAZ is writer director of a new documentary THE END OF POVERTY that exposes the roots of the south’s poverty first in colonialism and then in the policies of the World Bank, IMF and the WTO.
The film features: Nobel prize winners in economics Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz; expert authors Susan George, Eric Toussaint, John Perkins, Chalmers Johnson, government ministers such as Bolivia’s Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, and leaders of social movements in Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Kenya and Tanzania.
THE END OF POVERTY’s opening line by narrator Martin Sheen: “Why, in a world of so much wealth, do we still have so much poverty, where billions of people live on less than one dollar a day?” According to writer-director PHILLIPE DIAZ, the ultimate goal of the film is to change the dialogue around the poverty debate from "poverty is a shame," to "poverty exists for a reason."
Born in Paris France, PHILIPPE DIAZ studied Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris, and began his film career as a director in 1980. He produced a number of features both in France and the US, and in 2003, with a consortium of partners he created Cinema Libre Studio, to provide an alternative structure for intelligent, independent films. His directorial debut, THE EMPIRE IN AFRICA won the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at Slamdance 2006.
According to Diaz, “The end of greed on Wall Street will not end poverty in the world. The problem is much deeper than that; it is centuries old. Our economic system since colonial times requires cheap labor and cheap resources from the global South to succeed and to finance our lifestyle in the North. Without changing that we will never alleviate poverty.“