Robert Reich Debunks Three Economic Myths by Drawing Cartoons

Robert Reich met Bill Clin­ton when they were both Rhodes Schol­ars dur­ing the 1960s. In the 70s, Reich attend­ed Yale Law School with Hill and Bill. And then, decades lat­er, he served in the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion as Sec­re­tary of Labor. Some­where along the line, the polit­i­cal econ­o­mist picked up some draw­ing skills (putting him in good com­pa­ny with Win­ston Churchill and George Bush) that work nice­ly in our age of white­board ani­mat­ed videos. Now a pro­fes­sor at UC Berke­ley, Reich visu­al­ly debunks three eco­nom­ic mytholo­gies in two min­utes. This clip fol­lows a rapid­fire 2012 video, again fea­tur­ing his car­toon­ing skills, called The Truth About the Econ­o­my.

ht @sheerly

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Online Eco­nom­ics Cours­es

The His­to­ry of Eco­nom­ics & Eco­nom­ic The­o­ry Explained with Comics, Start­ing with Adam Smith

60-Sec­ond Adven­tures in Eco­nom­ics: An Ani­mat­ed Intro to The Invis­i­ble Hand and Oth­er Eco­nom­ic Ideas

Read­ing Marx’s Cap­i­tal with David Har­vey (Free Course)

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Comments (11)
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  • Kieren says:

    This is the worst eco­nom­ics video I have ever watched. This guy is seri­ous­ly delud­ed.

  • Robert says:

    Agreed. This guy could­n’t run a Burg­er King; he has utter­ly no idea of eco­nom­ics, oth­er than gods/elitists like him­self should run things in a mag­i­cal way that guar­an­tees every­one acts inde­pen­dent­ly and in spite of their med­dling.

  • Tracy Kolenchuk says:

    The pur­pose of a demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­ern­ment is to enable the free­dom of cit­i­zens.

  • Craig says:

    Wow, the man from utopia. He should move to Venezuela.

  • Hanoch says:

    I have to agree with Kieren. This pre­sen­ta­tion does not even deserve a seat at the eco­nom­ic debate table; it is utter­ly vapid and non-sub­stan­tive. I’ll admit it was good for a chuck­le, though, when Reich attempt­ed to per­suade that gov­ern­ments cre­ate free mar­kets! This has got to be the pin­na­cle of silli­ness.

  • Sinead says:

    Please post your counter argu­ments, fig­ures and sta­tis­tics in more detail if you dis­agree with this .. throw­ing around insults and say­ing it’s rub­bish means absolute­ly noth­ing

  • steven i Boldish says:

    Giv­ing mon­ey to the rich and cor­po­ra­tions through tax reduc­tion is stu­pid and self defeat­ing. It will just make the cor­po­ra­tions rich­er, more pow­er­ful and will not cre­ate jobs. Trick­le down is BS. It was­n’t true when Rea­gan embraced it through Robert Laugh­er and is still not true. Why would any­one in a cor­po­ra­tion pay more for labor. Even if these cor­po­ra­tions have a boat load of mon­ey they will not give it away eas­i­ly. You must believe in a benev­o­lent dic­ta­tor. New indus­tries when cre­at­ed and high­er wages beget high­er wages. The more peo­ple spend the more there is a demand for work­ers and the high­er wages will be. So mon­ey giv­en to the top does very lit­tle. Man­agers of com­pa­nies pay as lit­tle as pos­si­ble. Low skill set and an over­abun­dance of work­ers leads to low wages. A Burg­er King is a per­fect exam­ple where all you need to know is how to flip burg­ers and how to do it fast. A good gov­ern­ment works to equal­ize the play­ing field. Good gov­ern­ment pre­vents monop­o­lies. Your igno­rance is astound­ing. You have no knowl­edge and you show it by not coun­ter­ing Reich’s argu­ments. You should read about Theodore Roo­sevelt and monop­o­lies. Mar­kets with­out some reg­u­la­tions do not work. It would be a mis­take to not have some reg­u­la­tions because then it would be the law of the jun­gle. Your igno­rance when com­bined with the col­lec­tive igno­rance will lead us to a bad end.

  • GhostRider2001 says:

    This has to be the dumb­est video on eco­nom­ics I’ve ever seen. It is noth­ing sort of pro­pa­gan­da.

  • Chris says:

    As much as this is not Robert Reich’s most com­pelling work, noth­ing he said in this video is incor­rect. I’m assum­ing none of the com­menters here have the kind of cre­den­tials that a for­mer Sec­re­tary of Labor has, myself includ­ed. If any of you Rhode Schol­ars and for­mer Har­vard Pro­fes­sors want to point me in the direc­tion of of your numer­ous New York Times best-sell­ing books are, I’ll buy one. I would come take your class at Berkley too but I prob­a­bly can’t afford the tuition since I’m a mem­ber of the mid­dle class… like most peo­ple.

  • Bill M says:

    While Reich’s con­tention that Gov­ern­ments cre­ate free mar­kets sounds redicu­lous on the sur­face, some deep­er thought is required to under­stand his point. I believe he is ref­er­enc­ing that gov­ern­ment, espe­cial­ly a democ­ra­cy, pro­vide a struc­ture that define what ‘free mar­kets’ look like via laws and reg­u­la­tion.
    As I lis­tened I feel that the demise of the mid­dle class may be the undo­ing of ‘free mar­kets’ as we know them. Tax­ing the wealthy is way too cliche and over­sim­pli­fied. Per­haps a slid­ing cor­po­rate tax scale that gets low­er as employ­ee wages get high­er would pro­vide incen­tive for cor­po­ra­tions to pay more in wages to achieve low­er tax­es.
    It’s hard to dis­agree with Reich asser­tions that the mid­dle class pur­chas­ing is the eco­nom­ic engine that dri­ves the econ­o­my. Cor­po­ra­tions require the dynam­ic of pro­duc­tion for a con­sum­ing pub­lic. I believe respon­si­ble cor­po­rate lead­ers under­stand this and would con­sid­er high­er wages a sig­nif­i­cant part of their respon­si­bil­i­ty. I this regard, ulti­mate­ly we as a soci­ety will arrive at a home­osta­sis which rewards cor­po­rate need for prof­it while con­tribut­ing to a strong buy­ing pub­lic through high­er wages.
    Hard to relay those com­plex ideas in a three minute video but it cer­tain­ly was provoca­tive and inter­est­ing.

  • Bryan C says:

    The fact that so many peo­ple both don’t know who Robert Reich is and can’t artic­u­late why his ideas are so bad is a real demon­stra­tion of how effec­tive cor­po­rate mar­ket­ing and pro-busi­ness par­ties have been on most peo­ple.

    Work­ing indi­vid­u­al­ly, labor will always be at a mas­sive dis­ad­van­tage when deal­ing with cor­po­ra­tions. The only force that can bal­ance the pow­er of cor­po­ra­tions is the Gov­ern­ment. How­ev­er, once it’s co-opt­ed by dona­tions and out­right bribes by cor­po­ra­tions it leads to the mas­sive and grow­ing income inequal­i­ty you see in coun­tries like the US.

    There are many sig­nals that cap­i­tal­ism is fail­ing but one of the most obvi­ous is that the stock mar­ket con­tin­ues to grow, and cor­po­ra­tions are becom­ing increas­ing­ly prof­itable, but more than half the US pop­u­la­tion is liv­ing pay­check to pay­check. This is why there is so much hand­wring­ing over whether a reces­sion is on the hori­zon. The econ­o­my is pow­ered by con­sumers who also form the labor mar­ket for cor­po­ra­tions. If they start los­ing their jobs the fragili­ty of the cur­rent sys­tem will be on full dis­play. You’ll see a rapid and sud­den col­lapse of the small busi­ness and hous­ing sec­tors and as large cor­po­ra­tions con­tin­ue to invest in automa­tion there will be few­er oppor­tu­ni­ties to absorb these lost jobs. The extreme­ly wealthy will bare­ly notice though and in fact will prof­it by buy­ing up dis­tressed assets at fire sale prices. The sys­tem is stacked against indi­vid­u­als and until we start enforc­ing effec­tive labor laws on cor­po­ra­tions and lim­it their size and glob­al reach cap­i­tal­ism will even­tu­al­ly col­lapse.

    For those not famil­iar with Reich, he was the Sec­re­tary of Labor for the US, so he knows about as much as any­one can know about these top­ics (of course he’s also a Rhodes schol­ar, grad­u­at­ed from Yale law school and the author of a num­ber of best­selling books on Eco­nom­ics). Every­thing he dis­cuss­es is based on data and sta­tis­tics so unlike many politi­cians or Tik­Tok pun­dits he can actu­al­ly show con­crete exam­ples.

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