I doubt if many people take Michael Moore as seriously as he takes himself — if, indeed, he is serious in his many attacks on big business. Moore is, after all, an entertainer and entertainers give the people what they think the people want — not necessarily honest facts. Controversy and allegations sell many more books and movies than does straight fact.
In Moore’s latest assault on our intelligence however, his new movie “Capitalism: A Love Story”, now debuting at the Venice Film Festival, he makes some valid observations but he draws them to a deeply flawed conclusion. In his movie, according to this Bloomberg story, Moore points to causes for and effects of our major economic problems: e.g., Lehman Brothers failure; massive bailouts in general and specifically the “U.S. taxpayers’ $700 billion rescue of the financial system;” the Bush administration’s general economic incompetence; dishonesty in government and dishonesty and poor management in business and industry . . . but the irony is, he points to these things as examples of problems created by “Capitalism.”
Michael Moore’s conclusion (in his own words, from the movie):
“Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil; you have to eliminate it and replace it with something that’s good for all people, and that something is called democracy.”
If you follow his twisted logic you will have to conclude that Capitalism needs to be replaced by pure Socialism (he names it “Democracy” but he must knows that a true Democracy cannot thrive outside of a Capitalist society).
The U.S. free-market economic model is one of Moore’s prime targets because that is the basis of one of the only true capitalist societies in existence and Moore is on record, here and elsewhere, as detesting Capitalism. Add to this, the fact that the US free-market has been corrupted by dishonesty and greed in business, in industry and in the government and it not only strengthens his argument that Capitalism is evil, it provides a convincing debating point for people who do not want to see the fallacy in his charges. The things that Michael Moore points out as problems really are problems, but he either doesn’t understand or, most likely refuses to admit that these abominations are as disgusting to free-market advocates as they are to the critics of the free-market.
While Moore’s charges may reflect reality, Moore’s named villain: Capitalism, is misidentified; and misidentified intentionally. Capitalism is not the villain — it is the victim! Moore may WANT Capitalism to appear to be the villain but the real villains are the greed and dishonesty that have been left unchecked and have driven our economy into a tail spin. Greed and dishonesty are, and always have been, the villains.
Here, as I see it, is the basic problem:
Take any economic theory, at any point in history and examine it! You’ll see that it’s projected success is based on an impractical assumption; the assumption that all the “players” respect the theory and will ‘play’ honestly.
Sloppy accounting, outright lies, misuse of our tax dollars, government intervention into the market place, dishonest politicians, dishonest businessmen, government loans to failing businesses and the many other things that are going on now in the Obama administration, as they went on during the Bush Administration and as they went on in
previous administrations are NOT examples of the effects of Capitalism — they are examples of the abuse of the free-market system by people who have place themselves above the rules. This abuse has been going on so long it is considered business as usual and it has finally reached a crisis point.
One of three things are likely to happen at this point:
Possibility 1: The Obama administration will, in effect, grant Michael Moore’s wish by putting legislation in place that will, eventually guarantee that business and industry is so mired in regulation and so weighed down by restrictions that they will all require “government assistance” to stay in business and that assistance will come with such a steep price that the free-market will eventually become no more than another government program.
Possibility 2: The 2010 elections will sweep so many big-government Liberals out of office that possibility 1 cannot happen. At that point the government should stimulate business with a massive tax restructuring, apply intelligent controls on business that will keep everyone honest without strangling them in regulation and end all government involvement in the free-market. (Note: This option is my “pie in the sky” option; the best but also the most unlikely.)
Possibility 3: Because of Obama’s shrinking popularity, the government will be able to do nothing. On the surface, that may appear to be a satisfactory option — at least it will save us from over regulation and the price inflation that always follows, but the status quo will do
nothing to resolve the core problems, the dishonesty and greed in business and politics that got us into the current financial crisis.