The School of Life: Capitalism

2014, Society  -  97 min Leave a Comment
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Welcoming and insightful in both approach and tone, this compilation of short videos named Capitalism tackles various aspects of capitalistic ideals from a surprisingly human perspective which often borders on the psychoanalytical. Over a series of breezy and appealing vignettes, the authors set forth their overriding theories regarding the potentially detrimental symptoms of a capitalistic society.

Tackling issues ranging from wage inequality to corruptive greed to the ever widening gap between the haves and the have nots, the film argues that the healthiest form of capitalism should be of benefit to everyone collectively, and can only be achieved through a comprehensive and empathetic understanding of oneself and others.

One of the film's most astute segments is titled What's Education For?, and it charts the beginning steps on this journey of self-discovery to the modern classroom. After all, this is the forum where many first learn the ideals of capitalism. But what if our curriculum is all wrong in this regard? The film proposes that educational efforts should be more geared towards the teachings of practical life lessons such as the proper management of money, the means by which to find and nurture an ongoing career, and the basics involved in starting a business. These virtues can find strength in a complimentary plane of teaching; one that involves an investigation of the self, a discovery and definition of personal values, and exposure to the art of fostering positive and fruitful relationships.

In another provocative segment titled Against Philanthropy, the filmmakers argue for a different approach when it comes to the donations passed down by the wealthiest elite. Many of these accomplished capitalists make their fortunes in industries which serve little benefit to either the people or their environment. Then, they take the money they amassed from these efforts and distribute to various ventures like galleries and art museums across the globe. "People should stop being good in the way they distribute their money," the film's narrator instructs us during the segment. "They should try being good in the way they're making it." These business leaders should be encouraged to make more "enlightened investments", as the film refers to them, and place their funds and efforts towards redefining their own industries, allowing them to operate more responsibly for the greater good of all.

Whether articulating the motivations behind our obsessions with fame or the need to redesign the globe's major cities to be more open and interconnected than ever before, The School of Life: Capitalism contends that positive growth and change are only possible through self-reflection and examination.