Last Friday night, just before nodding off to sleep, I finished Robert Reich’s excellent book Saving Capitalism: For The Many Not The Few.
My first encounter with Reich’s ideas was in the documentary Inequality For All. You can think of this book as an expansion or companion to that film. Although one might think economics to be a dry subject; Reich’s writing is very approachable. The first several chapters break down the causes for today’s chasm between the Haves and the Have-Nots.
The final chapters then explore the steps that are necessary to correct the imbalance.
What struck me the most was how Mr. Reich repeatedly stressed that this is not about some conspiracy theory. The ultra-rich have not gathered in secret somewhere to pull the political strings to create this situation. They have behaved as any rational actor would. Rather like the death by 10,000 papercuts, no one person or action is responsible. Instead, many discrete events over the course of a few decades have brought this about.
Both the documentary and this book emphasizes that we have been here before. The Great Depression of the 30s and the height of the Robber Barons of the late 19th Century have close parallels with what is happening today. Corrective action was taken in order to fix what had gone wrong. We need to take corrective actions again and make capitalism work for everyone instead of just a handful of ultra-rich.
Extreme Bricks is about the LEGO fans and Master Builders who build huge models. These are often on display at LEGOLand parks or at toy conventions.
The chapters cover some biographical information about the builder and then discuss the model and challenges behind its creation. Fascinating stuff.
As much as I love LEGO and dream of having millions of bricks, I know that I do have the patience to build at scales like these. But I profoundly appreciate the passion that these people have.