Capitalism: A Love Story: A Critique

Like many conservatives – or people who call themselves conservatives – I’ve always hated Michael Moore. But recently I’ve felt that I might share a small bit of his animosity towards corporations – not a huge surprise as I’ve even found myself agreeing with the dreaded ACLU once or twice. So when his documentary “Capitalism: A Love Story” came out last year, I thought it might be an interesting view, but then it shortly faded out of my forgetful memory. But when my mom told me she’d recently watched it and that I should give it a go, well, I said, why not. So I downloaded it, the non-capitalist way as Moore would certainly want, and hit the play button on my Microsoft Xbox.

The first issue I realize I’m going to have with this film is the title. Instead of Capitalism, the film more accurately discovers the perils of Corporatism – a totally different monster. The disappointing thing is, I believe Moore knows this differentiation, but he is intentionally misusing terms to sway the viewer against the idea of Capitalism. Sadly, much of the populace is already deluded in this manner – they believe we live in a Capitalist state today. This is very, very far from the truth. In fact, the institution of a Corporation would not even exist in a truly Capitalist society. Corporations are an invention of the State.

Anyways. So the film starts out with some families who are losing their homes to the banks. ‘Nuff said for now.

Moore raises the case of the PA judge who got paid off to put kids in jail. This is a glaring example of Corporatism, not Capitalism! Corporatism, put simply, means the State is in bed with Big Business. Is that not exactly what we have here?

Next he implies that because airlines cut costs on pay and security, crash rates have increased. But I pose the question: in a truly Capitalist society, should not the airline be just as concerned with safety of its passengers, as its passengers are? If the only way an airline survives in capitalism is through consumer confidence, shouldn’t a plane crash equal the death of that airline as well? Still, though, some airlines do crash. Why do these companies survive? Two reasons. Consumer indifference and government bailouts, or, at the very least, moral support in the “interest” of national security. Hello again, Corporatism.

Moore then finds two Catholic priests and a bishop who tell us that… that… Capitalism is a sin? Is this a joke? What kind of pinko priest is this? An economic system can be a sin? LOLFATHER.

We then sit down with WSJ columnist Stephen Moore, who clearly has a good understanding of the principles upon which this country was built, explaining that in Capitalism you are free to do as you wish in business – including fail. But when he mentions the Constitution, Fat Daddy balks at the chance to belittle such a sentiment. He visits the Constitution in the National Archives in DC, where he asininely asks where in the Constitution it states that we are to have a Capitalist economy. Really, Fat Daddy? The Constitution doesn’t say you’re supposed to be fat, either. But it says you have the freedom to be fat – you can make your own choice. Nobody can coerce you to be otherwise – it’s up to you.

Moore then explores a company named Isthmus, which unlike the traditional American business, does not have an owner with employees under them. In this company, all of the employees are the owners. Isthmus has been very profitable and successful. A model company for socialism, right? NOPE. Guess what, Fat Daddy – Isthmus’ owners are agreed to a business contract. How did they come to terms of agreement on this contract? CAPITALISM. We are then given a nice little analogy to our democracy, except there’s one little thing… this country is a representative democracy, and furthermore, a republic. So if you really want to create a company that emulates our country, create a board, give each employee shares, and…. Ah, that’s too deep for you, Mr. Moore. Nevermind.

(As a side note, this is one thing I’ve never understood about socialists. You are free to employ your socialist principles in our CAPITALIST society. Start a worker-owned company. Start a healthcare co-op. Just don’t use the State to violently force me and the rest of the producers into your stupid plan with you.)

Moore then starts drilling the banks (okay, at this point I can get on board a little bit), saying that they are stealing the brightest minds out of college – away from the “common good” (you lost me again, Bozo the Clotmachine). He heads down to the NYSE to ask the bankers for advice, to which he receives the reply “don’t make any more movies” (classic). But when he launches into derivatives and Greenspan, I realize we are really about to make some intellectual progress. But again, this is not Capitalism! The legality of derivatives is regulated by who? The State. If such practices were not given blessing by Congress, if the market was deregulated and shareholders had to in fact decide for themselves whether to engage in derivatives, maybe they would be a bit more scrupulous. And did you realize what the first letter of F.D.I.C stands for? And ohbytheway, the Federal Reserve is the #1 PRIME EXAMPLE of Corporatism in the USA! Ah, if only you knew how close you are, Fat Daddy. Well, you’re kinda close. I guess.

Back to the families in foreclosure. We find out that they’re losing their homes because their payments are increasing too much every month (clearly ARM mortages, though that’s not stated). At this point it becomes blatantly clear to me why Moore’s movies have any success: his viewers are probably the same mental giants that sign ARMs. And clearly there are enough of them to go around these days. Read the contract, folks. It’s not just a catchphrase.

We learn that a large number of “hot shots” are getting special loan rates from banks. Who are these hot shots? All politicians! This is the most schizophrenic documentary ever. You’re exposing political corruption in an attempt to show how our economic system should be more regulated? And who writes these regulations? POLITICIANS? For Pete’s Sake, Michael Moore, did Capitol Hill bribe you into making this thing?

Cut to George Dubya Bush reading his bailout-begging script to the country. Good job, Big Mike, something that actually matters. But here again, uh, well I shouldn’t even have to say it at this point. But I will. THE ESSENCE OF CORPORATISM.

Okay, I admit. At this point I don’t really feel like watching more, even though it’s just getting good and there’s still 45 minutes left. Eh, I’ll watch it, but I’m done critiquing. If you ever have the (mis?)fortune of watching this, just replace every time he says “capitalism” with “corporatism”, and you’ve got a darn good expose-ay (how do you make the “cafe” e on a Mac?).

To put it simply, true (free market) Capitalism is based on contract. That means that businesses can only interact with consumers in terms both parties agree to. Moreover, the State never sets the terms of a contract – it only adjudicates disputes. This is why we have the judicial system – to preempt the need for preemptive market regulations.

So, does Moore take issue with “United States Capitalism”, or with true Capitalism? If it’s the former, then Michael, I wholeheartedly agree – but you should have made that clear. If the latter, though, then Mr. Moore: you are either a dastardly deceiver, or a dimwitted dunce.

Finally, Mr. Moore: which type of economy allows you to make these documentaries and profit off of them?

And to bring this to a more recent note: for the past month or so, every day I drive down the street, I am reminded of the stupidity and apathy of the American people. Why? Because BP is still in business, and moreso, because its prices are still equal to every other gas station’s. This is ludicrous! If enough Americans cared to make a statement, that we won’t stand for corporate recklessness – that because of the damage this company has done to our country, we will no longer do business at your establishment – BP’s gas prices would drop every day, until they were practically giving it away. A stunning example of why the Corporate State is perpetuated – indifference. And to top it all off, they’re not even American in the first place – they’re called British Petroleum, for goodness’ sake!

Oh America. Politically, economically, and intellectually, you are doing exactly what Ghost the Radio Host was screaming the other day:

YOU’RE THROWING YOUR CHILDREN INTO WOOD CHIPPERS! YOU’RE THROWING YOUR CHILDREN INTO GIGANTIC WOOD CHIPPERS!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

UPDATE: I had to comment on the end of the movie: it was stupid. Although it criticizes the bailouts a bit more, it then praises Bernie Sanders (socialist), Obama (socialist), FDR (socialist), his “Second Bill of Rights” (socialism), Europe’s socialist policies, and says we need to give up capitalism for “democracy” (socialism). Eh, I should have known.

[Mr. Moore,] what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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3 Responses to “Capitalism: A Love Story: A Critique”

  1. Allison says:

    The 8th, 9th, and last paragraphs are my favorite. Great points on the 8th and 9th.

    Aliyah and I were talking about how angry it makes us that we still see just as many people at BP as we did before the whole oil spill debacle- which considering where we live, RIGHT ON the gulf coast, is flat out unfathomable. You’d think that when your community’s economy is devastated and you can’t even go shopping without breathing toxic fumes you’d stop giving those responsible your money. It’s disgusting. There’s a gas station every .2 miles; I’m completely baffled as to why people are still getting their gas there.

    (Did I use that semi-colon correctly? LOLFATHER.)

  2. frettsy says:

    Thanks Ms. Allison. The American people are just a bunch of idiots throwing their children into gigantic wood chippers. I’ve resigned to that at this point.

    We want BP, we got it.

  3. Okay, Calen. You, again, are the consumate intellect on politics. ‘Nuf said. I can hardly hope to compete on this topic. And I am so impressed with your delivery and insight. Always said for you to keep your wits about you and someday run for a political spot. The world needs you. No joke.

    BUT, . . . I was extremely challenged AND entertained by Mr. Moore’s movie. I totally cracked up and LOVED the scenes where he challenged AIG, etc. and tried to make citizen arrests. Why didn’t we all do that? And the information about Citibank (or was it Capitol One?) with the letter sent out to its top investors that the 1% of these wealthy investors would basically rule the other 99% of us, because of our stupidity . . . EXCEPT that we have the right to vote. If that could be taken away, of course, they WOULD rule us . . . entirely. (And I quote, I think?)

    I sympathized with those who were having their homes taken away. And loved the community that rallied behind them. Not only did their neighbors realize that for every house lost to the banks and boarded up, their own property values decreased, they also tried to take on the “man” and basically won. (I would like to see the follow up to this event though. I pretty much think that the family was evicted in the end.)

    Regarding the bailouts: The fact that he demonized Dems as well as the GOP impressed me. Not my preconception of something Mr. Moore would do. How sad that the American people pressed their representatives to vote No on the bailout which was shot down at vote, but was only overturned behind the secreted walls of the White House and Mr. Bush. Shame.

    AND the realization that AIG, etc. were given carte blanch to do what they wanted with their bailout money. No restrictions. No accountability. No wonder they bought jets and vacations and million dollar bonuses. Greedy scum.

    I guess the two biggest impacts for me with this movie were the facts that Mr. Moore can, in fact, represent both sides. My former notions of his unceasing bias were overturned. And the citizen’s arrest scenes were not only hilarious, but what we all should have (and should) do when injustice against the American people are delivered by Government.

    Wouldn’t it be AWESOME for a rush on Capitol Hill by us all demanding citizen arrests. AND actually being successful?

    You are totally correct on the Corporatism vs. Capitolism aspect. But I was so hoping you would see the things I saw and felt throughout the movie. I’d watch it again. And again. And this from a formerly staunch conservative.

    Mom


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