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Capitalism: A Love Story

October 4, 2009


I went to go see this yesterday. It’s what you would expect: a sentimental and non-systematic presentation of the abuses of the capitalism, designed for the viewer to hang negative emotional associations onto the idea of capitalism. In sum, it’s good leftist propaganda, although unsympathetic viewers probably won’t find much to change their mind (i.e., due to the non-systematic presentation of the issues).

The one substantial criticism I have of the film is the unambiguously positive presentation of Obama as for change. I was absolutely certain, as I was watching, that the coverage of Obama’s campaign was a set up, and that the punchline would come: as far as capitalism goes, Obama has not advanced change—just more of the same.

Sadly, the punchline never came. There’s no recognition of the fact that Obama has done nothing to alter the status quo as concerns capitalist practices. If he was for change, he wouldn’t have appointed Geithner to run the federal reserve.

Apart from that, Michael Moore’s latest delivers what you’d hope and expect: an opportunity for a sympathetic crowd mostly to shake their heads in disgust and disbelief, and—at times—to cheer.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. roland permalink
    October 5, 2009 12:13 am

    Moore might lack some of the systematic rigour we’d hope for, but he’s not a bad publicist for the left. Even with all your (and my) misgivings, he does speak to a wide audience.

  2. October 7, 2009 12:40 am

    Oddly, I just watched “Sicko” for the first time last night, and I loved it. I put up with Moore like I put up with first year seminarians—often irrational but with their hearts in the right place. I liked “Sicko” because it focused on regular people with lots of stories to tell, not on Moore annoying Republican congresspeople. The stories of the people, both those in the USA and those in other countries, made the movie shine.

    So, I’m looking forward to seeing if “Capitalism” has the same sort of focus. If so, I’ll be happy.

  3. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    October 7, 2009 1:34 pm

    This one is sort of split between individual stories and Moore walking up and down Wall Street bugging people.

  4. October 8, 2009 10:04 am

    Moore’s pulling his punches on Obama (if he in fact even had any punches he would otherwise have landed) was definitely the low point in the film for me. I don’t know why he painted the Rubin guys as such villains and then conveniently “forgot” to point out that Obama hired precisely them to carry out his economic policy. Perhaps he’s in too thick with certain parts of the Democratic Party, perhaps he wants to give Obama another year or so to see the light on economic affairs before he attacks, or perhaps he really thinks that Obama offers “hope and change,” despite his record so far.

    In any case, I don’t think Moore is really the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to economics. He definitely bit off more than he could chew when he decided to take on the topic of the nature of capitalism and what to do about its failings. But then again, I’m not in the intended audience for this film; he seems to be going for the mass American middle. And who knows? He might get some of them thinking.

    And what’s with that jazzy Internationale under the closing credits? Is he trying to suggest to the more clued-in watchers that he really is a socialist in the traditional sense, or was it just another cute Moore move? He really doesn’t make his actual political stance clear.

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