“I look at history and see that every time our own system of capitalism has gone off track we put aside ideology…and very pragmatically get on with what needs to be done,” he remarked at Sherwood Auditorium on April 13.
Reich, labor secretary under President Clinton and now a professor at UC Berkeley, said it is hard not to be optimistic when he teaches some of the best and brightest young people. He was in San Diego for a screening of his 2013 documentary “Inequality for All,” sponsored by the San Diego Foundation Center for Civic Engagement and the UCSD's Blum Cross-Border Initiative.
The documentary draws attention to rising income inequality in America and the danger that poses to a democracy based on equality.
He said the proximity of great wealth and great poverty in the San Diego-Tijuana region will be a challenge for civic leaders on both sides of the border. “You have some of the richest people in the world living 20 minutes from some of the poorest people,” he said, but he added that San Diego “can actually create a model for the rest of the world.”
Reich also touched on the minimum wage, immigration, the community college, antitrust law and the Tea Part and Occupy movements as major elements in the creation of wage equality, exhorting the crowd to “get outside your bubble and talk with people who disagree with you.”
The Center for Civic Engagement is attempting to facilitate dialogue and collaborative action in the San Diego area, while the Blum Initiative promotes research into poverty in the San Diego-Tijuana region, the largest binational metropolitan area in the world.
– Times of San Diego