on 23 December 2014
Michael Moore has got such a great way of getting under the thick skins of the people who helped create the worst credit crunch since 1929. The answers are so simple as to why we allowed this to happen, yet the majority of our so called politicians ran away scared of upsetting the capitalist apple cart that continually feeds them. I'm no economist but if you remove all the regulations that were in place before Reagan and Thatcher to stop another 1929 scenario, well what happened in 2008 was always going to happen sometime very soon. Yes it just took 25 years after they removed the safety net from the high wire act of capitalism and bang were all paying for these suckers stupid and fraudulent mistakes, again! When will we ever learn, well the revolutionary cycle always comes round its just a matter of when it comes round, not if! Looks like were heading for world war III sometime in the not too distant future USA v Russia or maybe North Korea and then China will get stuck in as well. If it happened in the past, it can happen again in the future.
I was at a time a big, big fan of Moore's movies and publishing but havent seen Sicko [DVD] and stopped reading his books after Dude, Where's My Country?, I'd always had differences with Moore but I'd started to think that he was beginning to appear like the show boating or grandstanding individual his political opponents had made him out to be.
So I was prepared for a feature that would be more Moore than anything else, with a good measure of exaggeration and sensationalism but I have to say this was actually a very good feature.
Moore is able to present how the US was able to sell the world and its public a story of what capitalism was built on profits derived from a lack of international competition and short term profiteering from pretty brutal managerialism.
The business practices of Walmart, who derived massive revenue from life insurance claims upon dead employees, airlines which underpay pilots and the subprime mortgages are used to illustrate how characterising working people and communities as "peasants" has become the norm.
There is a lot of nasty class war going on without a socialist in sight, the icing on the cake are memos from within Citibank describing the US as a "Plutonomy" and hailing the decline and demise of democracy.
By the point at which Moore is compariing deregulated finance and gansterism it doesnt seem that vitriolic at all, when he goes to a financial district to ask them to explain their loans he is probably trolling/provoking but he doesnt cut their "advice" that he stop making movies.
Its a sorry story of business practices becoming less and less ethically sound, involving less production and more predation, describing the action of the rich in the run up to the global crisis as heists is not unreasonable.
Moore doesnt propagate what could be described as "anti-capitalism" either, not really, there is an ethical critique made by religious commentators and he presents businesses whose practices and structures by design would prevent scandalous boardroom pay and, for want of a better word, the "gangsterism".
I'd recommend this to as wide an audience as possible, I know that it will probably end up as fodder for Moore's usual viewers, he has a fandom of his own just as he has another "following" who villify him unfairly, but that would be a shame. This is a good documentary, without real prescriptions besides what has until relatively recently been commonplace, and what really is the unreported world.
on 24 May 2010
Thanks to Michael Moore we have another brilliant documentary that highlights more injusticies in the political world.
The film is focussed and to the point, with snippits of humour thrown in. Anyone failing to follow this movie is clearly not concentrating!
Of course all of the salient points are backed up by alot of evidence, which is especially disheartening to the Moore-haters.
I recommend everyone to watch this movie and do their own research of the evidence, it is time we all exercised our democratic rights!
For those wanting to research more into the failures of Capitalism, I suggest you look at David Harveys book "The Enigma of Capital".
on 7 November 2014
After falling out with Michael Moore over the inaccurate, left wing propaganda that he created with Bowling For Columbine & Fahrenheit 9/11, I never watched any of Mr Moore's films for a decade. However after watching Capitalism: A Love Story, I was very impressed & pleasantly surprised with this well researched, thoughtful, emotional & at times amusing documentary film on the evils of Capitalism. Michael Moore seems to put his usual self important narcissism to one side in order to make probably his greatest film ever!
on 9 March 2014
As the financial meltdown hits Europe too I would say this film is as true as ever. Capitalism is DEAD! All our pathetic politicians can do is to try to revive a corpse. What caused the meltdown? Greed and risk taking from gambling bankers always craving for their fat bonuses and inept politicians who wouldn't regulate. Who pays the price? Not politicians (when did you ever see a destitute Member of Parliament in the UK?), not immoral bankers (should that be spelled w*nkers?), but the firms that have shut down, the young unemployed, those suffering benefits cuts, those forced to live off food banks. If we had a riot in Britain against Cameron's pathetic state-of-denial about poverty, I would take up arms. It is time to terminate wretched Capitalism and the pathetic excuses made for it. It is pure evil.
on 22 September 2012
I've just watched this film and as always with Moore, there is much to admire. One has to look past the sniping from commentators who judge his work naive and wide of the mark. Forget also the economic education that has formed our perception of the world. The last 5 years have shown what a heap of clever lies this is. Watching this film and others like Zeitgeist, that are trying to realign the misinformation clouding the presentation of 'economic reality, is timely, and a wake up call for us all.
Of course, Moore is capable of his own clever presentation of a message, with doom laden music, and careful selection of interviews and stories to hit the right note of desperation and outrage. It's done for a reason, because shock is what is needed to propel people to question what has always been taken for granted. I esecially appreciated the footage and interviews with members of Congress who were opposed to the bailout and continue to question the motives and tactics for how it was achieved.
I whole-heartedly recommend this film for it's inherent message of fairness for all and of the need to sift carefully the message put out by corporations and marketeers.
on 6 March 2010
This is a timely film questioning the appropriateness of capitalism at a time when many will be undoubtedly feeling that it increasingly a system biased in favour of the greedy and reckless at the expense of the conscientious and cautious. The theme will resonate with many in light of banking bailouts. Moore quickly highlights the reason that Capitalism has proved so popular is the way in which the many believe that they might be one of the top brass themselves one day - so don't rock the boat that you might be climbing into... The connection with Brave New World is apparent.
Moore reminds us that however this is unlikely to be the case, because the game is rigged, people like Paulson and the other top bankers are pulling the strings of global government so they will always win the game at our expense. Until the point comes when there are are so many disenfranchised `peasants' that there is an uprising.
Capitalism: A Love Story starts well, drawing parallels with the fall of Rome, and echoes of Adam Curtis's short film for Punchdrunk's "It Felt Like A Kiss", using archive material of the American Dream. It reminds us out how we are increasingly expected to work harder and longer for the money to be concentrated in the hands of the few - i.e. working more for a lower quality of life, and the hand in glove relationship between the big banks, governments and how monetary policy and the focus on financial markets. All of which has generally been at the expense of the real economy.
Moore questions what has become of the `common good': altruism, humanity, open-source. People like Dr. Salk? Where are people's champions like them these days? He correctly identifies the fact that if you're smart and motivated, you go to Wall Street or the City where you use your gifts to develop ever more esoteric financial instruments to allow the world to engage in more and more complex financial betting.
Moore highlights how the short-termism of the markets frequently ends up costing those in the real economy, and increases the disparity between those at the top and bottom of the pile, and has contributed to the high levels of personal debt that the majority of the working classes now rely on to live their everyday lives. He reminds us of how we were persuaded to remortgage our homes to keep financing the consumer frenzy, which, now it has unwound, has driven the repossession boom in the US. The footage about the FOA's (Friends of Angelo of Countrywide) and the corruption at the very top regarding Countrywide is truly dismaying and alarming. As we all know, the people who are (still) running the show now are the very same people who caused the problem in the first place.
The documentary has a lot of POV footage of US homeowners getting repossessed after foreclosure, and having to burn their worldly possessions after cleaning the property out. The human face of the credit bubble, the face that the bankers would obviously not like to, and don't have to worry about.
Many have said - capitalism isn't great, but it's the best system we have. Moore isn't convinced, and nor am I, but Moore doesn't offer up any alternative other than democracy, which in itself I am not sure is sufficiently strong. Regrettably, as is the case with a lot of American film-directors of his ilk, he gets swayed by the religious / righteous issue and the Christian view of capitalism.
That said, Moore does keep himself in check with the loudaphone and publicity stunts, limiting himself to only a few stunts in Wall Street towards the end of the film. He correctly gives over the majority of the film to narrating the real story here - the human cost to the people at the bottom of the ladder who can least afford it, and should be commended for reminding us all of their plight at a time of further excess in the City. Above all, it is incredible that a film questioning Capitalism has proved so popular amongst audiences in Capitalism's birthplace - the US. Had this film come out 10 years ago, I expect it would have been broadly panned across all social strata. 4/5
on 24 May 2010
This is the first film I have seen by Michael Moore. I found it riveting from the start. It must be one of the hardest-hitting films I have ever seen. We are led through an analysis of how ever-looser regulation of banks, finance generally and companies generally led, via political corruption and negligence to a gigantic collapse in which the losers are home owners, employees and taxpayers, rather than the really or mostly guilty, meaning the politicians, highly paid suits etc. Though an American film about America, the same happened and is happening here in the UK.
Stalin is said to have said once that one human death is a tragedy, a million a statistic. That can be applied to people losing their homes of decades for such relatively piffling reasons as being unable to pay utility bills or local taxes. We read that X-thousand homes have been repossessed and it is a statistic. This film shows a few real people and for them it is, as it is for most people in such a position, tragic beyond expression. Despite the so-called "free society", these people have no recourse but to curse, look upset and to mutter about how they "should" rob a bank to get their own back...but of course will not, in almost all cases. It is a film which makes one angry at the System.
Moore notes another phenomenon common to USA and UK: the takeover of public institutions such as schools and prisons by private contractors. Dreadful and always likely to lead to dreadful results in the end. I have no idea whether Moore knows about the opposing idea postulated by Rudolf Steiner in the early 20th Century, that of the Threefold Social Order, mutually autonomous spheres (Economic, Political/Rights, culture), so that, for example, the takeover of a soccer club in the UK by BUSINESS interests is worng in principle, because a sport club should be run, as a cultural institution, for the fans, spectators, players, staff, not for outside shareholders. We can see in the UK that when business takes over (for example) football clubs, it leads to degeneration and chaos ultimately.
I was not really convinced by Moore's solution to the present finance-capitalist downturn etc, that of collective or co-operative takeover of all business, with all decisions within the business taken by popular vote, even by those who really know little of the issues in detail, being technical ones...
Socialism or Marxism-Leninism has proven itself to have been a failure as applied in the 20th Century, though I concede that, like capitalism, it was only a partial failure. A new way, probably based on the principles of the Threefold Social Order, is needed in the world, particularly in North America and above all, arguably, in Europe.
I havve no idea what are Moore's politico-economic views or "solutions" other than what I saw in this film. Based on the film, he seems to me to be closer to some form of anarchism or anarcho-syndicalism than anything, or to the form of anarchistic ideas found in Kropotkin's book Mutual Aid.
The stunts Moore carried out in the film made me laugh and were an amusing "propaganda of the deed".
An important aspect is that the political system in both UK and USA is not responsive at all to the real needs or wishes of the people. I cannot agree with Moore's naive idea that the election of Obama was almost a revolution, when it was, quite obviously, partially an expression of reformist ideals and partly a simple racially-based vote by American non-whites. Obama was elected by about 52% of the popular vote, McCain getting about 46%. No "landslide" contrary to what is often claimed. In any case, Obama has, as I predicted in a restricted-circulation study a couple of years ago, proven himself to be just another tool of the System, wittingly or otherwise.
Another important point made is that, in the 1950's (I think the date may not have been mentioned), the difference between bottom-rung employees' pay and that of the CEO was around 15x, whereas some CEO's now get hundreds or even thousands of times the pay of the people at the bottom. The same is true of the UK.
The result of the present finance-capital setup is that the corrupt top layer have created a mess and the people at the bottom are being told that "we" are "in debt" (to whom??) and have to "reduce deficits". Shades of the Protocols of Zion?
I was very struck by this film and hope that many people will see it and have compassion for those who suffer, then take action for a better society.
on 1 December 2013
Moore starts good where he gave a history of where capitalism was that -the middle class , free markets , and then went to bank corruption with the aid of corrupt government .He gives some accounts of the wrongs of corporatism , not capitalism which is better than failed socialism which he seemed to support in USA with the election of the lord and savior obama , which has been a disaster with massive debt , failed gov backed companies like cylindra , rising lay offs , companies burdened with greater regulations etc , and this before we talk about socialized medicine run by the gov who cannot even get a web site to sign up to start .There are wrongs with corporatism , but even that is better than socialism .
on 27 March 2010
One of the reviews below says that this film is timely. Well that's no acident, it's timely because Mr. Moore is striking while the iron is hot. The film is essentially a colourful and entertaining political tract suggesting viewers dissent against capitalism. And why not? America has always been that insane epicenter of excess and greed, bur previously in a way we could laugh at - not now, now its groteque excesses are not funny in the least. We have Paulson making a personal $20Bn by playing markets and so adding not one jot to the real economy, at the same time as this one in nine Americans is on food stamps - and they are on food stamps precisely because of the Wall Street that made Paulson his money! And if this were not bad enough these same ordinary folks watching the rich get richer have to put up their tax dollars to save the institutions that caused the mess in the first place! Yes, America has absolutely reached new heights of imbalance and inequality and this film gives you a glimpse of all that. We get footage of people being turned out of their homes, we get footage of documentary about the disintegration of Rome to which Moore compares America, we get Jimmy Carter almost preeching to he American people that their greed and materialism has become hideous, and we get an expose of the corruption of the politicians and regulators that was a contributor the prpoerty bubble and the mess America is in (and that has taken the rest of us with it). So what is going on in the USA now is horrible and, to me at least, disgusting. However, despite this ugly focus the film itself is entertaining and funny. For example, as Moore protests against the co-option of Christianity by the radical right in America he has an overdub of Jesus saying that he cannot heal someone because they have pre-existing condition. So it's well made and clever and it will surely stike a chord with many people - even the ones still asleep as they dream the American dream.
But is it cogent? I am not sure it is.
One of the other reviewers here suggests that Moore does an OK job of criticising but says very little about what could replace the Capitalism he hates. I would like to balance that by saying that Moore effectively suggests that a return to the 90% tax for superhigh earners would be desireable and he argues a lot in favour of workers democracy, and both of these would surely make *some* difference. But would it end capitalism? Of course not. Both Moore's suggestions rely on the *continuation* of Capitalism - and that is contraditory. More than once he has Catholic priests saying "Capitalism is evil" - and our Michael is himself a Catholic nd obviously thins the same thing. Well Michael mate, make up your mind! Do you want it or not?! I don't think he really knows. I think Moore thinks with his heart, and I love him for that - but for my money it just doesn't quite stand up.
Also I think the film fails in a way I have seen many times in leftist films like this; at one point he produces a story about a corrupt judge who sent kids into detention to line his own pocket. Well this is certainly a story of some very cruel and selfish people, but that story is really about *corruption* and does not really amount to a criticism of capitalism itself. Socialst stats have corruption of exactly this kind too...And you will see more this when you watch it - these are filmatic non-sequitors.
OK so it is entertaining, it makes a few (good?) suggestions, but I think it is ultimately self-contradictory.
Fine, fine, fine, is it any good? Yes reader, it is - five stars good - because despite its shortcomings the film is a genuinely entertaining invitation to everyone, especially those who are profoundly asleep dreaming the American dream, to wake up. That dream is now a nightmare of inequality and almost surreal imbalances and Americans just *have* to wake up. This film may help, and I hope so, because if they don't (and frankly, I don't think they will) then the nightmare will get a *lot* worse, not just for Americans but for all of us. Failing that American epiphany America's gun culture will erupt - and take everything with it. That will make our current economic hardship and the little wars we have going on in Iraq and Afghanistan look like like some of the best things that ever happened to us...