October 2, 2009

(Above video clips supplied by Overture Films)

I went to see a preview of Michael Moore's new film: Capitalism, A Love Story at the Bruin Theater in Westwood last week with Howie and Digby and it was a very fun night.

Moore has an incredible sense of humor and it always translates well into his movies and Capitalism is no different. He makes you laugh throughout his new project with images of the Roman Empire to satirical caricatures of Bush and AIG, but then he can also make you cry a second later, which makes his movies all the more powerful. When you see people holding camcorders while the eviction police are breaking down their doors to remove them your heart cries out.

We know that Wall Street and the mortgage industry pulled a monster con game on Americans and the result was that hard-working families lost their most prized position and that is the message at the heart of his movie. What good is "Capitalism" if it can't fill the basic needs of our people? How has it served America? Not how has it served the top 1% wealthy population, but the remaining 99% of the country that is driven by the messaging that you too can become rich and famous if you just work hard enough.

Ahhh, The American Dream.

What Moore believes is that capitalism is an absolute failure and is actually evil because at its heart, it's missing a moral core. The core comes back to the American worker. Does capitalism translate into the kind of America his father was part of while he grew up in Michigan? A place where a person could work hard, earn enough to raise the family and then retire with a pension? To Moore, the answer proves it has been a failure. He doesn't say he wants socialism to take hold, but I thought he was arguing for a sort of Constitutional Capitalism since he liked Capitalism back in the days when he father was able to prosper working at one company his entire life. Corporations should have to take care of their employees just like they do their profits. An equal partnership, so to speak. Is it possible? Moore thinks the system has become too corrupted, too evil to succeed in delivering the promise of a good life for the vast majority of the country.

Corporations are beholden to their stock holders and must maximize profits at all costs, regardless of how that affects their workers. So, even if GM records a huge profit for a particular year, they could then cut thousands of workers from the company the following year just to increase profits. Destroying cities and people's lives in the process don't factor in even when there has been no financial shortfall for them. To Moore that is the real evil and the way he sees it, it may be too late to fix.

He attacks Wall Street and Congress and all the players you think he would over the bailouts and then he asks the viewer to come up with a solution to the problem as he sees it.

Can America survive without Capitalism? Where do we go from here? There is much to see in this new flick and much to like. The one thing that he does is also give his audience plenty to think about.

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