2009, Movies

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009, Michael Moore)

Full disclosure: I don’t like Michael Moore. I agree with him on many, many things, but I absolutely can’t stand the way he manipulates his audience. I am a political philosophy major and so a lack of clarity of concepts makes me insane. So…

First of all, this isn’t some story of capitalism or even a grand impeachment of capitalism. Rather it is mostly an attack on the deregulation that happened in the United States in the last 30 years. The United States’ systemic deregulation cannot and should not be construed as Capitalism in toto, though that is exactly what Moore. Moore thinks he is taking on capitalism but he really never discusses the economic system itself, beyond having some priests claim it is a sin.

Moore makes very simplistic points and grossly exaggerates many things.  He hits emotional notes that I can surely agree with. But the problem is that he is so non-specific, so all over the place, and, worse, so willing to resort to cheap gimmicks that he will never convince anyone who doesn’t already agree with him. Here is an example of his gimmickry this time out: Putting police tape around a bank. I mean, what does that mean, Mr. Moore? What are you trying to say beyond “lock up the bankers” or, perhaps, “this is a crime scene”?

And this is the film’s biggest problem. Surely the point of making a “documentary” about the economic system of the US would be to convince people that it needs repairing. However, this is not a documentary, it is a polemic; this movie will only piss off those who already hate Moore and already associate liberalism with socialism – which, of course, have little to do with each other.

Also, the soundtrack is terrible.

As an aside: Mr. Moore, capitalism is an economic system and democracy is a means of picking leaders. You cannot replace capitalism with democracy. That’s like saying you want to replace mercantilism with monarchy. It’s just meaningless.


1 Comment

  1. Point taken.

    As a film though, it hits it's emotional beats (win), captures/panders to it's true audience, and enrages a whole sector of detractors.

    Therefore it's stimulating art and a success in film making.

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