In America, the rich are getting richer. Isn't that great? Doesn't that mean there's lots more wealth to go round? Or is it good news for the rich but very bad news for the poor?
740 Park Avenue, Manhattan, is one of the most exclusive addresses in the world, home to some of the richest Americans, the 1% of the 1%. Ten minutes to the north, across the Harlem River, is the other Park Avenue, in the South Bronx. Here, unemployment runs at 19% and half the population need food stamps.
The American Dream of equal opportunities and hard work says you can be born in the Bronx and end up at 740. But is that dream still true? The film argues the super-rich haven't just bought the exclusive addresses – they've bought the whole system and they're running it for themselves.
The U.S. became the world's largest economy because it invented products and then manufactured them with new processes and technology.
It is essential that the U.S. rebuild its manufacturing capabilities - not the assembly-line jobs of yesterday but the high-tech advanced manufacturing of the future - to restart the cycle of invention and production. It's the only way to address the horrendous debt and put Americans back to work.
The problems are compounded by an undereducated, entitled population, a permanently unemployed underclass, lack of universal healthcare, fighting asinine wars and ludicrous government spending however, if the political will is there, the U.S. can emulate Germany, Scandinavia and Japan by paying high wages and running surpluses in manufactured goods.
To accomplish this, the U.S. must make what it invents. However, couple the blatant ignorance of much of the electorate, whose brains are bound by cult-like devotion to some mythical god, with the gross incompetence of their elected officials and the future does not bode well for the American dream.
The foundation of any strong democracy is an educated and healthy population.
The documentary does a fine job of pointing out how the U.S. has dropped the ball on both counts and allowed greedy oligarchs and corrupt professional self-centered politicians to mismanage its priorities beyond belief.
Directed by: Alex Gibney