Capitalism is evil and you cannot regulate evil. You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that is good for all people and that something is democracy.
– Michael Moore in Capitalism: A Love Story.
Yes, it’s the evil maderch*ds of corporate America and their pimps in Congress (both Republicans and Democrats) that have brought America to ruin.
Make no mistake, folks.
It’s the insatiable greed and unholy lust for money of scumbags like Shitty Bank CEO Vikram Pandit and his ilk that’s causing untold misery in the lives of tens of millions of everyday Americans.
Millions have lost their jobs. Millions have lost their life’s savings. Millions have had their lives upended.
All because the shameless greedy ch**ts like Vikram Pandit wanted more. Wanted more. Wanted more.
Touting the virtues of capitalism, corporate animals like Vikram Pandit have cut a wide swathe of destruction across the breadth of our country, laying off millions of workers (this greedy desi swine Vikram Pandit alone has butchered over 70,000) and impoverishing countless families.
Michael Moore’s latest documentary Capitalism: A Love Story is a wake-up call to America.
Alas, this wake-up call comes too late.
The wound is deep and damage to the body politic far too severe for the patient (America) to recover.
We’re in slow decline.
And notwithstanding what the pundits (no pun intended) may say, it’s going to be very hard, if not impossible, for America to recover from our current economic morass.
Capitalism: A Love Story is set against the backdrop of our present financial disaster, mortgage mess, daily foreclosures, $700 billion corporate bailout, massive layoffs and corporate plunder.
It’s a familiar story, sure. But one that needs to be retold.
After all, there are so many idiots out there who still believe capitalism is an unalloyed virtue. Despite the fact that capitalism in America is not taking and giving but, as the film says, is mostly taking.
In a nostalgic trip down memory lane, Michael Moore takes us to his childhood years (his dad worked at a GM plant in Flint, Michigan that’s now reduced to rubble) when American families could lead comfortable lives on a single salary, had a stable job, send their children to college without the current burdensome loans, go on vacations and generally lead a good life.
The film shows how the corporations have corrupted Congress and even the judiciary in pursuit of their holy grail of higher and higher profits.
Children are sent to private prisons by a corrupt judge. Large corporations like Wal-Mart, Shitty Bank, Bank of America and AT&T take out life insurance policies on their employees, who are referred to, for some unexplained reason, as ‘dead peasants.’
The Reagan and Bush years worsened matters through deregulation.
The list of villains is lengthy. Here’s a short list: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner, Countrywide, Senator Christopher Dodd (D), Bank of America, Wal-Mart et al.
As the film cites how Jesus has been hijacked by Wall Street, Moore in a clever move has members of the Christian clergy declare in no uncertain words that capitalism has wrought much agony to the people and that Jesus wouldn’t condone it.
One priest is blunt:
Capitalism is contrary to all the common good…contrary to all the religions…Capitalism is wrong and has to be eliminated.
Another priest declares capitalism to be immoral, outrageous and radically evil.
Just in case we didn’t tell you before Capitalism: A Love Story is written, produced and directed by Michael Moore.
Shitty Bank (headed by Vikram Pandit) features often in the film and shown deservedly in an unflattering manner all the time.
Vikram Pandit is shown at least twice in the film, on both occasions in an unfavorable light.
Rightly so, because Vikram Pandit is a microcosm of the evil that’s sucking the blood out of average Americans.
A disgusting, confidential and revealing plutonomy report by Shitty Group highlighted in the film has two desi authors (google “Citigroup October 2005 plutonomy” for the report).
Guys, we’ve made no secret of our support for Michael Moore’s documentaries (loved Sicko and Fahrenheit 9/11).
We strongly encourage you to see Capitalism: A Love Story.
Irrespective of whether you love Moore’s style of film-making or not, this corporate rape of average Americans is too big an issue to be ignored.
If you live in America, Capitalism: A Love Story should surely be playing in a theater near you (others: don’t ask us when it’ll release in India because we have no clue).
I was waiting for the SI orgasm on this one.
Just remember, Moore is allowed to make a bucketload of money on the movies he makes because of the same capitalism he rails against.
You write: Just remember, Moore is allowed to make a bucketload of money on the movies he makes because of the same capitalism he rails against.
Even if Moore is laughing all the way to the bank, he ain’t doing it by firing someone, paying starvation wages or denying them the basic right of health insurance.
In this instance, the subject (corporate rape of Americans) is so much bigger than the film-maker.
“Another priest declares capitalism to be immoral, outrageous and radically evil.”
Did Michael Moore care to ask this priest what his thoughts are on all his fellow priests who list kiddie-fiddling as their favorite hobby? Because certainly that’s not immoral, outrageous and radically evil.
You write: Did Michael Moore care to ask this priest what his thoughts are on all his fellow priests who list kiddie-fiddling as their favorite hobby?
We think Michael Moore may be reserving that question for his documentary on Catholic buggers, which should appropriately be titled Buggered.
In our not so humble opinion, when people believe in that nonsense called religion, one way or the other they get buggered. 😉
amazing movie…. need moore of it!!!
You write: need moore of it
Hey, that was a cute comment. 🙂
SI quoting Moore:
>”Capitalism is evil and you cannot regulate evil. You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that is good for all people and that something is democracy.”
I haven’t seen the movie, so can’t quite comment about it yet. But, the above quote of his does not make any sense. Capitalism is an economic philosophy, whereas democracy is a political philosophy and these are not necessarily at odds with each other.
While runaway greed and rampant consumerism are at the root of the malaise that is afflicting the U.S (for e.g., even the little guy wants a mansion that he can’t afford), the vast majority of the practitioners of capitalism have little to do with the collapse of Wall Street which brought the U.S economy to its knees. The crooks in this case were primarily Wall Street bankers (& their honchos) who are in the business of engineering financial products, the purpose of which is to create more money from money using all manner of shenanigans if necessary.
Leaving aside the oddball scandals of the past, like Enron, Worldcom etc., companies that have been creating tangible products (or utilities & non-financial services) are largely untouched by the scandals involving these investment banks, insurance companies or mortgage lenders. The Hondas, the Fords, the Gillettes, the Googles and the Apples, to name a few, are capitalistic entities that continue to produce goods/services, generate revenue and make profits the good old way and I see nothing inherently wrong with their practices.
Presently, its mainly the financial sector in the U.S that needs to be overhauled and adequate checks and balances put in place so that these firms can be quickly held accountable for their “insane” actions and the cancerous entities among them should be extirpated before the rot in them metastasizes and destroys the entire economy.
Slaying capitalism to fix the ills plaguing the American economy today, is IMO, like throwing the proverbial baby with the bathwater.
1. You write: But, the above quote of his does not make any sense.
At first glance, it doesn’t.
But in the film, Michael Moore highlights a couple of companies where democratic principles extends to the corporation too…in terms of decision-making, decent wages for all employeeset al. In the current setup, the CEO/top management takes all leaving crumbs for the rest and decision-making is highly centralized.
While democracy is traditionally a political concept and capitalism an economic concept, Moore advocates democratic principles in businesses so that everyone has a voice in how the business is run. Not just the CEO firing thousands to appease Wall St and boost the stock price. Given a democratic way of decision-making in the corporation, you’d be less likely to treat your fellow employees in a cavalier fashion.
Moore showcases two examples of such forward thinking firms (a bread-making firm and a robotics company) in the film.
2. You write: companies that have been creating tangible products (or utilities & non-financial services) are largely untouched by the scandals involving these investment banks, insurance companies or mortgage lenders. The Hondas, the Fords, the Gillettes, the Googles and the Apples, to name a few, are capitalistic entities that continue to produce goods/services, generate revenue and make profits the good old way and I see nothing inherently wrong with their practices.
No, no and no.
Corporations/Capitalism doesn’t mean just Wall St.
Non-financial firms like GM, GE, IBM, HP et al have all sacrificed tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of workers on the altar of greed and short-term expediency of boosting share-prices to appease the Gods of Wall St.
This has been going on for decades now in non-financial firms, a fact well documented.
3. True, Michael Moore’s film did not touch upon the individual responsibility of greedy idiots who aspired for McMansions, even when they couldn’t afford one. While that’s a weakness of the movie, we understand Moore’s rationale behind leaving that angle out.
Sometimes to ensure focus, you have to weed out less important stuff and Moore did the right thing here.
4. You write: Presently, its mainly the financial sector in the U.S that needs to be overhauled and adequate checks and balances put in place so that these firms can be quickly held accountable for their “insane” actions
As we’ve said earlier, it’s not just financial firms that have treated employees like dirt or behaved irresponsibly, virtually all the major U.S. corporations have done so.
Moore advocates democratic principles in businesses so that everyone has a voice in how the business is run. Not just the CEO firing thousands to appease Wall St and boost the stock price. Given a democratic way of decision-making in the corporation, youâ€™d be less likely to treat your fellow employees in a cavalier fashion.
In a shareholder owned company/corporation, there *is* limited democracy already. The CEO is answerable to the board of directors and the board is answerable to its shareholders. And there are unions that have influence on company policies as well. If Moore is advocating greater say for the shareholders and the employees /unions that is one thing (like a shareholder bill of rights for e.g., so that shareholders can have more say in the executive compensation of executives), but if he wants a corporation to be run like a democratically elected government that is an entirely different thing (Look at how fast and efficiently Congress functions, such a corporation will be filibustered out of existence).
No, no and no. Corporations/Capitalism doesnâ€™t mean just Wall St.
Of course not. And that is why, I was careful to delineate them from the rest of the corporate entities. But, without the flow of money that is enabled by Wall Street bankers and corporations, we would not have capitalism as we know it. The essentiality and the importance of Wall Street to American capitalism and its functioning cannot be overstated. If essential utilities such as water or electricity are cut-off, a modern society cannot function. And so it is with money supply and any wholesale destruction of its gatekeepers will grind the economy to a halt. This is precisely why the government stepped in to bailout the likes of Bear Stearns, AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
My point is that the focus of government regulation ought to be on increased oversight of this industry /sector more than others given its disproportionate influence on the smooth functioning of the economy.
True, Michael Mooreâ€™s film did not touch upon the individual responsibility of greedy idiots who aspired for McMansions, even when they couldnâ€™t afford one. While thatâ€™s a weakness of the movie, we understand Mooreâ€™s rationale behind leaving that angle out. Sometimes to ensure focus, you have to weed out less important stuff and Moore did the right thing here.
No, less important stuff its *not*. Its at the root of the near meltdown of 2008 and the ensuing recession in the U.S and global economy. There was a reason why “sub-prime” became a popular word in 2008. The greedy fellows on Main street were just as responsible as the greedy lenders, the greedy Wall street bankers and their
greedy enablers in government and inept watchdog agencies and they were all involved in a cobweb of collusions that sent this economy into a tailspin.
There are any number of write-ups that would attest to this and here is one such about who was the “patient zero” of this global recession.
Hire/fire practices or excessively high executive packages did not cause the near collapse of the U.S economy and the moral advocacy against one or more of these obscene practices can be dealt with on its own without repudiating capitalism as an economic philosophy.
1. There is hardly any democratic principles at play in America’s corporation.
Boards are packed with CEO’s cronies so that they can sign off on his egregious pay packages. Then there’s the practice of one CEO sitting on another large corporation’s board and vice versa. You scratch my back and I….
2. Unions in America? What planet do you live on?
Sadly, the unions have been almost completely emasculated in this country.
Wal-Mart, one of the largest employers in America, does not allow unions. Ditto with many large corporations that engage in union-busting tactics.
3. Many ideas that seem Utopian at one time have merit when you stop to think of them in a different setting.
We used to think Gandhi’s emphasis on village as self-sufficient economic units as a quixotic notion.
But as we see the destruction of American industry (and now the service sector too) due to ‘free trade,’ we see merit in Gandhi’s emphasis on local self-sufficient units. Maybe not at village level but certainly possible at country level in a nation like USA.
How can an American worker hope to compete with an Indian coolie who works for 50 cents or $1 an hour answering customer servicetech support calls?
4. Individual greed played a role. But our stand is corporate greed is longer standing and more egregious and hence deserving of greater attention.
5. You write: The essentiality and the importance of Wall Street to American capitalism and its functioning cannot be overstated.
Moore refers to this aspect too in the film. Propaganda of the ‘virtues’ of capitalism has now made it seem indispensable.
But no ideology, political or economic, is indispensable. Communism collapsed in Soviet Union/Eastern Europe but those nations are all thriving after a short period of turmoil.
Existing stakeholders and beneficiaries of capitalism would like you to believe that the world would collapse if thir ideologies are tinkered with.
6. You write: My point is that the focus of government regulation ought to be on increased oversight of this industry /sector more than others given its disproportionate influence on the smooth functioning of the economy
Impossible given corporate control of Congress.
Look at the Senate Finance Committee’s actions on the health insurance bill. They have watered down the bill into an ugly caricature.
>There is hardly any democratic principles at play in Americaâ€™s corporation.
Shareholders do get to vote by secret ballot which is hardly an undemocratic principle.
>Boards are packed with CEOâ€™s cronies so that they can sign off on his egregious pay packages. Then thereâ€™s the practice of one CEO sitting on another large corporationâ€™s board and vice versa. You scratch my back
Cronyism is as old as the caveman and capitalism in itself has nothing to do with it. Moore’s brand of democracy is not the silver bullet for fixing this.
As a shareholder of a corporation, I’d much rather have someone who has run a large company or knows how to run a large company sit on the board of another large company than someone who is clueless about corporations.
>Unions in America? What planet do you live on?
Last I checked, the UAW, the USW, the UMWA, the AFl-CIO (to name a few) were all U.S entities.
>But as we see the destruction of American industry (and now the service sector too) due to â€˜free trade,â€™ we see merit in Gandhiâ€™s emphasis on local self-sufficient units. Maybe not at village level but certainly possible at country level in a nation like USA.
As is apparent here, SI subscribes to protectionism and I don’t.
> But no ideology, political or economic, is indispensable.
True, in theory. But, till you find something that works or is shown to work that supplants an existing system sufficiently well, you are stuck with what works notwithstanding the fact that it has warts and moles.
(Maybe Michael Moore ought to put all the millions he has made to good use by showing that “self-sufficient systems” that embrace his philosophy works on a small to medium scale better than capitalism, before the country as whole adapts it)
> Communism collapsed in Soviet Union/Eastern Europe but those nations are all thriving after a short period of turmoil.
Crumbling under the weight of a defunct philosophy, they found an alternative in the capitalistic models of the west that they’ve embraced and thrived.
In keeping with below remark about political systems,
“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried”
I’d say the same holds good for capitalism as an economic philosophy and to the extent I see, the U.S is in no great rush to write its obituary yet.
1. You write: As a shareholder of a corporation, I’d much rather have someone who has run a large company or knows how to run a large company sit on the board of another large company than someone who is clueless about corporations.
HP, IBM, GM, Ford, Chrysler, GE, Kodak, most airlines (with exception of Souhwest) are only some of the large corporations that have shown time and again in the past that the management is not the fount of wisdom that you imply but often clueless.
We provided examples of the above companies as they are the most obvious of the corporations that have gone through near-death experiences.
In each case, the management was richly compensated but had little idea how to steer the ship. Multiply this a 1000-fold and the wisdom of corporations quickly falls apart.
2. You write: Last I checked, the UAW, the USW, the UMWA, the AFl-CIO (to name a few) were all U.S entities.
Existence of unions is not the same as influence of unions.
For Christ’s sake, unions in the U.S. have had their cojones in a vice for decades now. Have you been in Rip Van Winkle land?
Union membership has been declining for decades.
As we’ve said earlier, Wal-Mart the country’s largest private employer with 1 million employees plus is NOT unionized. Most large employers do not allow unionization and make impossible any efforts by outsiders to better the lot of workers.
UAW, USW, UMWA et al are in terminal decline.
1941 – Less than 500,000
1971 – 1.5 million
2009 – 431,000
1946- 500,000 members
2009 – About 250,000
Trend is similar for other unions. They are in terminal decline NOT thriving as you imply.
To repeat, mere existence of unions is not the same as their flourishing.
Further, the demonization of the unions by the Right has also contributed to their weakening along with the decline in industry.
The steel industry and with it the USW has been in major decline for over three decades. USW is maintaining membership mainly through mergers with other unions.
Bottom line, Unions as a tempering force/influence in American Business is a thing of the past (with some exceptions).
Read this excerpt from Washington Post:
3. Shareholders in the U.S. are mostly mutual funds, hedge funds et al i.e institutional investors, who invariably tend to vote with management on most issues. Plus if your shares are held by a brokerage, as they often are, and you don’t vote for/against a measure in protest,, the custodians of your shares (i.e. the large financial firms who are usually in bed with corporations/management) can vote anyway they want on your shares.
4. Cronyism may be as old as the caveman but crony-capitalism is a relatively new phenomenon in the world.
Pl read http://austrianeconomists.typepad.com/weblog/2009/09/simon-says-crony-capitalism-in-the-financial-sector.html
Bailout of Goldman Sachs dollar for dollar via AIG is nothing but an example of crony capitalism. Military-industrial complex is another excellent sector for study of crony capitalism.
5. What you see as protectionism, we see as the interests of our countrymen i.e. Americans.
Those like you who raise the bogey of protectionism are little concerned about the protection of American workers but merely protection of an abstract concept mindless of its impact on the people. No different from some of the influential British writers like George Bernard Shaw, HG Wells et al in the 20th century paying obeisance to Stalin’s Soviet Union.
6. What you see as the ‘warts and moles’ of Capitalism, we see as deep scars of millions of workers who have been disemboweled and brutalized for decades.
7. Unless, there’s considerable pressure from the bottom, i.e. the people, the current unjust system will continue.
But we think the end of the road for capitalism in its present unjust form is nigh upon us.
You’ve had the opportunity to make your stand clear at length to both SI and readers on three or four occasions. Each time, we’ve responded to your points.
Given our different stances, it’s very unlikely there will be any meeting ground between us on this topic. Time to move on now to other topics.
So no further comments/discussions will be entertained from you on this topic since we have radically different views on the topic with little chance of a meeting ground.
Amongst Michael Moore’s movies you listed Sicko and Fahrenheit 9/11.
I haven’t watched Sicko, but I did watch F911 and after that I watched Bowling for Columbine.
Of the two I somehow felt that there was more propaganda-peddling in F911 (though I liked the movie very much), while Columbine felt like a very heartfelt movie.
Have you watched it?
1. You write: I did watch F911 and after that I watched Bowling for Columbine. Of the two I somehow felt that there was more propaganda-peddling in F911
It ain’t propaganda if it’s the truth.
George W.Bush and his evil idiot cronies are infinitely worse than depicted by Michael Moore.
2. No, we haven’t watched Bowling for Columbine. One of these days, we will.
@SI: “George W.Bush and his evil idiot cronies are infinitely worse than depicted by Michael Moore.”
Agreed, and before I proceed to the rest of my comment, let me make my position clear:
1. I believe Bush and his friends had no business attacking a country that had nothing to do with the US terror attacks.
2. I also believe that the war had one key motive – oil.
3. Lastly, the war was meant as a cover-up for the inability to capture the main perpetrator of the terror attacks.
That being said, various facets in the movie upon retrospection made me feel like Moore had pushed his creative license too far. There was the whole prologue about the Democrats really winning the election, which sounded a bit like a conspiracy theory. Note that I wasn’t in the US at the time of the election and followed it only as a casual observer, hence I say “sounded”.
Plus there were instances that remind one of Yudhishthir’s quote to Dronacharya in the Mahabharat, “Ashwatthama hato iti … “, basically saying the truth, but not the whole truth. The example that comes to mind is the film suggesting that the soldiers fighting the war did not really believe in it or were naive enough to play along. True, there were a lot of soldiers who fell in these buckets, but there were several of them who supported the war fully: http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/2004/08/15/2004-08-15_g_i__pans__9-11__role__hurt_.html
I was very impressed with F911, and hence I made sure that I caught Bowling for Columbine. Watching it made me compare the two movies and that is when I started taking F911 with a pinch of salt.
1. You write: I also believe that the war had one key motive – oil.
Oil, of course. But the U.S. also wanted to prove a point to the world by kicking around a weakling like Saddam Hussein.
We/they couldn’t catch that troglodyte Osama nor could we/they do anything about the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (a Machiavelli, if ever there was one), who really has WMD as opposed to Saddam Hussein, who had no WMD at all.
Moral of the lesson: You get attacked if you are a weakling.
As Abdul Kalam (former President of India) once rightly said: Strength respects strength.
Also, we think it’s stupid to tell the world: We’ll keep our nukes and even expand our arsenal. But you cannot go nuclear, which is what we’re now telling Iran.
Before some schmuck brings up the issue of responsible nuclear power and irresponsible nuclear powers, let’s not forget we’re the only ones in history to have used nuclear weapons against another country – Japan, in 1945 on the ostensible ground of quickly bringing World War II to an end.
2. You write: That being said, various facets in the movie upon retrospection made me feel like Moore had pushed his creative license too far.
You shouldn’t be surprised for two reasons: Political documentaries usually have a strong, strident viewpoint in one direction or the other. Second, we all know Michael Moore’s predilections/leanings.
Bottom line, you should have been surprised only if Michael Moore was less strident in espousing the truth as he sees it.
Having lived long years in the U.S., we can say with conviction that Republicans are corporate-bootlicking animals (Democrats are to a lesser degree guilty of the same offense).
There’s nothing beneath the Republicans. Look at how they are trying to block healthcare reforms. But when tax cuts were provided to the wealthy by the Bush administration, they were the biggest cheerleaders.
3. A lot of people who join the Army and its siblings in the U.S. come from the lower-middle and lower class, both Whites and Blacks.
These days, we see even financially distressed desis in the U.S. joining the armed forces.
Not sure what positions a lot of these people have. Given the size of the forces, the views are bound to be heterogeneous.
BTW, your NYdailynews link is not working.
“BTW, your NYdailynews link is not working.”
The “.” at the end of “html” is playing spoilsport.
Thanks for the fix.
It’s working now. We’ve also read the piece.
Agree with this sentence in the second last para of your link:
On the topic of capitalism have you seen the movie “The Yes Men Fix the World”?
It is a pretty recent movie and is shown on HBO sometimes. It talks about how mega-corporations stoop low to increase their bottomline. It is a movie by a couple of pranksters who call themselves the Yes Men. Their greatest claim to fame was one of them pretending to be a Dow Chemical spokesperson and announcing on BBC World on the 20th anniversary of Bhopal that Dow had decided to give $12b in aid to Bhopal for cleanup activities. In a couple of hours shareholders dumped massive quantities of stock and wiped out $2b of the company’s worth.
They talk of a few other pranks that they played – catch the movie if you haven’t seen it.
1. Netflix has yet to get The Yes Men Fix the World.
Will watch it when they get it.
2. You write: Their greatest claim to fame was one of them pretending to be a Dow Chemical spokesperson and announcing on BBC World on the 20th anniversary of Bhopal that Dow had decided to give $12b in aid to Bhopal for cleanup activities.
Recently, there was a piece in the NYT on the former Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson of Union Carbide.