Friday, October 30, 2009

Capitalism: A Love Story

I have not viewed Michael Morse’s new film, Capitalism: A Love Story, in its entirety, but I have viewed its trailers. I have read the reviews, I have seen Larry King's interview on CNN, and have read other online interviews. I am familiar with Michael Moore’s previous work. His trailers now nor in the past have ever motivated me to purchase a ticket or a CD.

Completely in the style of Michael Moore, the movie seems to be too much spectacle for my taste, and it certainly would not add anything to my understanding of the problem that I have with capitalism. I agree with his message, but there is nothing new regarding capitalism in the film that has not been already incessantly hashed over in print or the electronic media. And as Luke Buckmaster describes the film in Capitalism: A Love Story film review: Moore American antiestablishmentarism it is loud, ballsy, instantly palatable and designed for the masses. Again, it does make me wonder whether or not Mr. Moore is in fact at heart a capitalist, since these films are clearly made for profit.

I agree with John Stossel in his post, What's Michael Moore Talking About?, where he says he's never clear about what capitalism means. In interviews, Michael Moore provides his own definition of capitalism as a legalized system of greed. But, of course, that is too simplistic and does not sufficiently describe capitalism. Again, it does make me wonder, because if he thinks that capitalism is all about greed, and since in his mind he is not producing film out of avarice, then he maybe under the impression that he is not a free market capitalist. But, in the film, Moore does make some salient points, and he is absolutely correct when he says capitalism has failed.

John Stossel is also correct when he says the real answer is a separation of state and economy -- stripping away Wall Street's privileges. In other words: Limit government's power. But Stossel is wrong when he says Let the free market work.

The problem is that a free market cannot be free from regulation, no more than our streets and highways can be free from traffic lights and speed limits, or that society can be free of laws and regulation. Free market capitalists cannot be left to their own devices. That’s exactly why we are in our current economic quagmire. Free market capitalist need to be regulated. When politicians, pundits, and others use the word freedom in their rhetoric, which is as American as apple pie, do they really understand that since the founding of our nation, America has never been free, in the authentic, essential sense of that word.

The real answer, for now, is to take profit out of all essential social needs, such as healthcare, education, safety, security, and also housing, for it does not live-up to America’s principles and is immoral to be standing-by and accept homeless Americans to exist, sleep and some even to die as a result of exposure, out-of-doors. The long-term solution to our problems is to evolve over time to a moneyless society.

One of the moneyless society criticisms I have heard is the claim that it is socialism, wherein all societal needs will be satisfied in an egalitarian way. However, they are wrong. One can use socialism, capitalism, or any other currently known economic system, only in reference to money-based systems, or some other value-based exchange system. In a moneyless society, those words have no meaning.

Wikipedia has a good overview: Capitalism: A Love Story
A review from RollingStone; Los Angeles Times