Yesterday I finally found the time to listen to Robert Reich’s lecture “How Unequal Can America Get Before We Snap?”. Very interesting and convincing argument presented in an exceptionally humorous but also sharp-witted way (I particularly liked the ‘French designer hips’). His argument is basically that the income disparity in the US has grown since 1979 and is likely to continue growing in the near future. Although everyone is getting better of in an absolute sense, the well-of are getting much more better off than the less well-of.

The two possible outcomes is like what happens with an elastic band: you’ll have either a ‘snap back’ or a ‘snap break’. Although Reich admits to be apocalyptic now and then, he thinks that the US has shown throughout history that it is able to generate a progressive movement in order to create a ‘snap back’ instead of a ‘snap break’ (in the subsequent Q&A he proposes Governor Thomas J. Vilsack of Iowa as a possible leader of such a movement).

It made me wonder if Reich’s argument could be extended to the global level, where inequality is even more manifest than domestically in the US. Are we currently witnessing a ‘snap break’ with increasing terrorist attacks and fundamentalisms (on different sides)? Or is there a global progressive movement that can cause a ‘snap back’?

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