A SAMO Within A Project: "Saving Capitalism" Conclusion

Robert Reich, as wonderful of an author as he is, reaches even more audiences by posting on his Facebook page about current happenings in the world and how he interprets them. He follows each post with a simple phrase: "What do you think?"

I find that of all the books CST students were given as options for this project,  Saving Capitalism was the most opinionated. Sure, you can easily file feminism, ableism, or climate change under the liberal umbrella, but Reich's ideas about the economy were clearly and indisputably left wing.

I feel that the opinion he gives leaves little room for the reader to form his or her own, and to answer the very question Reich poses so often. It's more like an agree or disagree situation. Students also may have been predisposed to how they about Reich's ideas because the little voice in their head tells them they need to follow party lines. Alternatively, if a reader didn't already know of Reich's democratic affiliation, or the actual difference between conservative and liberal economic policy, a reader could have been appalled/amazed by his ideas and completely thrown off of what they thought their views originally were.

A brief summary of the differences between liberal and conservative
Source: Constance Armstrong via Slideplayer

As a project, I wish that Will, Josh, and I had incorporated some way to hear the thoughts of other members of the GBN community. I loved the different projects that involved polls (with beads, stickers, Orbeez, etc) or that encouraged post-it notes/pins with thoughts on the topic or project itself, and wished I could have immediate and anonymous feedback on my project too. Especially reading the feedback, the only suggestion we received was for a deeper interaction with the audience.

As I said in my very first blog, this definitely is not the book I would have chosen on my own to read first. I probably would have chosen Status Anxiety or Bad Feminist but I am happy to now have them both as summer reads. I enjoyed the book and leaned a lot from, but I'm simply not an econ person (if you need further evidence of this, talk to Mr. Berg. He will laugh at the words "Gillian" and "Economics" in the same sentence). Th big concepts made sense to me, such as the building blocks of capitalism and the money/power revolving door. But I really struggled to understand some of the more focused topics. I had to do a lot of research throughout the reading to help me understand what Reich was actually talking about.

Picking a different book absolutely would have made this project easier for me. But I am glad I read this book on both personal and project-related levels. Firstly, I've never really struggled in such a way in an English class before. The research paper was a difficult an daunting task, but I never doubted my ability to do it. There was never a lack of understanding of like, how to research or anything like that. So having to struggle through a book full of words that didn't make a ton of sense to me taught me that there are things I need to know that I will need to fight to understand. And in terms of the project itself, the information I gained from this book is eye-opening. It's impossible to say which of the issues discussed in the Gallery is the most important or needs to be addressed soonest, but the growing wage gap and the power the wealthy have just seems a little too timely with our current presidential situation. It's hard to know what the next step to take is, but knowledge is certainly the first.


  1. So it's sort of like you created a SAMO for your book - diving into something truly foreign!


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