Greed Is Bad

11 Oct

God bless Michael Moore.

When he gets going making an argument, there’s just no stopping him.

He’s got such a knack for making persuasive — and entertaining — movies that clearly push an agenda but aren’t like sitting through a thesis presentation.

Films like Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine presented Moore’s worldview regarding the Iraq War and gun control, and regardless of what you thought of Moore’s arguments, he made them convincingly and with passion.

Now Moore is back with Capitalism: A Love Story, a treatise about how our economic system is flawed and only benefits a small fraction of our country.

Moore benefitted from having the economic collapse happen while he was making the film last fall, and he takes full advantage of the situation.

Capitalism is a great movie.

It uses real people to put a human face on the economic mess we’re in, and predictably makes fun of politicians and other authority figures.

What’s refreshing, I suppose, is that nobody is safe; Democrats and Republicans both earn Moore’s wrath — as do the big banks and Wall Streeters, health care insurance companies, mortgage brokers, and real estate predators.

Yes, Barack Obama is made to look good, but it’s not him that Moore celebrates, it’s the spirit that was awakened as a result of his election.

Capitalism will make you laugh and cry. It’ll infuriate you and spur you to take action (for example, check out DeadPeasants.biz). What you won’t be able to do is look at your employer or your paycheck the same way.

I do have one bone to pick, though.

The film’s target is capitalism, but it’s really not. Moore is, as usual, taking issue with greed. Now, I’m not the world’s most knowledgeable economist, but when you think about it, isn’t at least some bit of capitalism good? Don’t we all celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit, and isn’t capitalism a big part of that? Given the choice, wouldn’t most people choose to make more money?

What Moore is really saying, I think, is that on the surface, capitalism isn’t bad. It just needs to be checked, limited, and shared. And Moore includes a couple examples here of how businesses have been able to make money without being unfair or cruel to employees or the community. I walked away from Capitalism more fond of the smaller businesses that treat others with respect, and I doubt I’m the only one.

Anyway, Capitalism is another strong film from Michael Moore. It’s a quick-moving two hours and 20 minutes, and I’m giving it a B+.

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