Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Capitalism - A Love Story (film)

About a week ago, I got a chance to watch Michael Moore’s documentary Capitalism - A Love Story. I had intended to write about immediately after viewing, but life intervened. I would encourage you to see it.

I’ve seen a few Michael Moore films and am well aware that he is a polarizing kind of guy. And certainly Capitalism has its share of melodrama that does nothing to further his cause. I do, however, think he shares some important stories - of both the inspiring and infuriating varieties - of real people. These stories are among the many that illustrate the ugly underside of capitalism as a system of enriching the few at the expense of the many.

The Chicago factory workers revolt (sit-in in 2009 I believe) was a testament to the power of the working class. I was inspired by this segment. The practice of corporations purchasing individual life insurance policies on their employees, even the most “replaceable” of employees, was utterly disgusting. The industry term for these employees after they have died, “dead peasants”, is offensive at minimum. The profits made off of the deaths of these employees is inhumane. I wonder how often it is that the families of these “dead peasants” struggle to survive at the most basic level while the corporation profits far beyond any profit the former employee might have have generated for it were she to live on. And, of course, a segment on derivatives poked fun at the insanely complicated formulas that not even many in the financial industry seem able to explain or fully comprehend themselves. How absurd are derivatives?! Do NOT ask me what they are.

As I mentioned, I would have liked to write a lot more while the film was fresh in my mind. I think this is all I have to share in any coherent way. Moore touched briefly on President Roosevelt’s proposed 2nd Bill of Rights. I couldn’t watch this film without wondering how our country’s history might have been changed had FDR lived to enact it. I am reminded that I didn’t yet write about Maxed Out, from 2006, which I saw about a month back. It fired me up significantly more than Capitalism. I think it I’ll have to go for something a lot more cheerful and escapist first.

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