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The Divide (Spirit Level – The Movie)

Written By: - Date published: 11:18 am, April 13th, 2016 - 5 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, film, poverty, quality of life - Tags: , , , ,

Wonder what kind of screening this will get in NZ. From The Guardian:

‘Why aren’t we earning enough to live?’ – how The Divide lays bare global inequality

The documentary film reveals the toxic social divisions caused by low pay for US and UK workers

Janet, a Walmart shop assistant in Louisiana, is so visibly stressed by working in a very understaffed store that a customer tells her she looks as if she’s going have a heart attack. Rochelle, a care worker in Newcastle, is miserable that her hours are so long that she can’t get home to put her children to bed. She also wishes she was better paid so that she didn’t owe £4,000 in catalogue bills, from buying clothes and shoes on credit for her children. Leah, a KFC worker from Richmond, Virginia, works six days a week, but is still behind on her rent and juggles calls from debt-recovery companies. Everyone in Katharine Round’s new documentary, The Divide, is struggling, trying to improve their lives; everyone is feeling the pressure. This is the reality of a low-wage existence in two of the world’s most unequal economies. Based on The Spirit Level, the 2009 bestselling book studying global inequality, the film highlights the toxic effects of divided communities on everyone who lives in them. Even the wealthy are scrabbling to stay happy.

When The Spirit Level was published, it quickly attracted global attention to the ideas of its authors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. It argued that income inequality is the key cause of most modern social ills – violence, obesity, drug abuse, depression, teenage pregnancies, ill health. Ed Miliband quoted the book in a piece for the New Statesman, David Cameron referred to it in his Big Society addresses, Michael Gove said it was a “fantastic analysis”. It was the most talked-about political book of the year, but also a very dense volume that analysed vast international data sets. No one said: “This would make a great movie!”

Apart from Round. “It was a totally mad idea to get a book of graphs and make it into a feature film,” she concedes, acknowledging moments of doubt over the years spent researching and raising money for a documentary based on a book that sweeps through 27 different countries and grapples with huge, abstract concepts of capitalism, globalisation and inequality. She persisted, raising more than £120,000 of the total budget, from a successful crowdfunding exercise.The finished film gives moving portraits of the lives of seven people, five in the US and two in the UK, illustrating how economic division creates another division socially, with dangerous consequences for everyone. …

Read the full piece in The Guardian for a summary of a film that puts a human face on low wage hell.

5 comments on “The Divide (Spirit Level – The Movie) ”

  1. Richard Christie 1

    Glad this film was made but the tired, defeated cynic in me notes that Boys from the Blackstuff was a great series in the 1980s with seemingly similar approach and it didn’t change anything.

    • Ad 1.1

      Doesn’t have to change anything.

      Just has to be worth doing.

      (I had a hopey-changey moment)

  2. Rosie 2

    Excellent. Thanks for the heads up. Look forward to watching.

  3. saveNZ 3

    Sounds like a great movie. They should duplicate it with politicians lives and incomes, how those in charge give themselves and their cronies more and more and others less and less.

    It’s that ‘trickle down’ that never happened over 30 years of neoliberalism and inequality is getting worse, environmental pollution is getting worse and climate change is getting worse.

    What’s the answer, TPPA of course (sarc)! Secret trade deals rammed through to implement neoliberalism’s final solution – the corporations in charge of governments and local bodies with their own business courts.

  4. aerobubble 4

    People who voted for hard work makes us all richer, finding it does not.
    When in fact it redirects our collective wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer.
    More leisure time, work to rule, its time for a return to true conservative values.
    Conservative revolution ends now.

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