In this documentary, Michael Moore used comical tactics to attract his audience. He argues that capitalism destroys instead of helping to improve the economy of the nation. There was a line in the film that “There are people who got it all and there are people who got nothing- there is no in-between”. It means that the capitalistic system is helping the rich to get richer while the poor class is getting poorer. Capitalism destroys thousands of jobs, seizes the homes of people, and enriches a few at the expense of the poor and middle-class working people.
In this film, capitalism was highly criticized. Here capitalism was defined as “A system of giving and taking, but mostly taking”. The movie showed that the successful people in the society are actually taking advantage of others’ misfortune, loan companies bankrupting poor people, real estate employees dealing with clients who bought foreclosed homes and then resell them at a profit.
Some important points that the film triggered out:
Michael Moore talked about how capitalism affects middle-class citizens and who really benefits from capitalism. He showed in the film that when Ronald Reagan started serving as a president, he started to run the country as a corporation. He talked about how Reagan dismantled the industrial infrastructure of America for short-term profit.
There is a lot in the movie that we agree with. Moore has made some very valid points about the shortcomings of capitalist society by triggering out some important cases.
The cases Moore has shown in the film are strong and legitimate. The case of Captain Sully was heart-touching. Moore talked about the poorly paid pilots who are living on food stamps and even have to donate their plasma for living. The case of the old couple who had to leave their house because they were unable to keep up with the increasing mortgage payments along with their decreasing salary was also a very sympathy-gaining story to catch the audience.
We also agree with Moore that the government should not have used the taxpayers’ money to bail out the banks. The government took hard-working money from the Americans to bail out the banks, as well for their personal benefits. Moore believed that that money could have put to better use to help the poor.
On the other side, there are some facts and points which we think can be criticized. Moore revealed to the audience that, the reason for the increase in juvenile persecutions is due to the community’s partnership with PA Child Care, run by an attorney and entrepreneur named Robert Powell. He showed that teenagers were victimized by being falsely accused and sent to juvenile detention centers only to make a short-term profit by corrupt government officials. But the thing is, corruption can exist in any system. It cannot be said that it is the fault of capitalism; rather it should be seen as ‘Administrative failure’.
Another point was about the “Dead Peasant” insurance policy. Here, a company buys a life insurance policy on a low-level employee (usually without their knowledge) and claims the company as a beneficiary. If the employee dies, the company gets a large tax-free payout and then they refuse to share that money with the family of the deceased. Moore showed that those corporate companies were happy to have their workers dead. We strongly agree with this. But there is a fact that these companies are not the only ones who are getting profit. Even a coffin seller or the person who digs the grave gets money from the dead. It is not like that we are justifying this corporate insurance policy, but the thing is either way there will always be someone who is going to make money from the dead.
Another important point that can be criticized is the use of religious perspective to strengthen Moore’s claim. He interviewed a Catholic priest who claimed that capitalism is sinful, immoral, and outrageous. The priest added that capitalism is contrary to all that is good. Moore might have used religion to support his claim as it is one of the best ways to reach common people and to gain their support or sympathy.
According to Moore, capitalism is evil and wrong and might be the only reason for all types of social injustice and struggle of the people. But the stories that are focused on in the film, some of them are not even consequences of capitalism; rather it can be seen as some ineffective attempts of government.
Actually, the film has shown how the government of America ran for the past few decades. Moore has provided some sources of evidence to support his claim on the evils of capitalism, though his position is opinion-based. The fact is, capitalism is just an economic structure that has no evil intrinsic in it. Capitalism allows a person an autonomous life and freedom of choice. The problem is the people who make negative use of freedom. They get the chance to be selfish and take the evil decision that would harm other people. The problem is human nature, not the system; as no economic and social structure can ever change these human natures. Moore might have made a mistake by mixing capitalism with corruption. The core principle of capitalism is freedom but Moore should have understood that a free and autonomous society does not mean free of corruption. So, Moore’s claim, that capitalism is evil and the response system for almost all types of social problems and injustice in a country is not true. The problem is with the people and their selfish nature, not with the system.
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