Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Movie 'Capitalism: A Love Story' Opens Today

Today Michael Moore's movie Capitalism: A Love Story opens.

Let's make a few remarks here. Some people despise Michael Moore for his political perspectives. And some people love him. Regardless, personal attacks against Moore are the same attempts to marginalize people like Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader or other political or civil rights activists today or throughout history including Martin Luther King, Susan Anthony, Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez and others. I don't necessarily agree with every perspective of any particular activist. But there is one thing that all activists have in common - a reasoned attempt to address human rights, social issues or government transformation for the common good or some attempt to give voice to those marginalized. Whether you agree or disagree with any particular reasoned attempt at debate, it is imperative for a democracy to have this type of discourse or it will die. Michael Moore's movie is an attempt at raising public awareness, educating society and creating civil dissent towards policies which have destroyed our economy. This type of discourse is key to any type of constructive change. Whether it is change Moore or Beck agrees with is irrelevant. These two personalities are on opposite sides of many issues yet they will find great common ground with reasoned discourse. Just as Ron Paul and Ralph Nader do. What democracy and society doesn't need is the politicization and emotional fomenting of radical elements in society. Instigating hate, intolerance or violence.

As we have remarked before, capitalism is not democracy. It is simply a particular economic model where the means of production is privatized. That's it. Our democracy is not predicated on capitalism. People misuse terminology too often to stir up emotional and unreasoned reactions. The health care debate is not socialism any more than a public water utility. Yet there are more productive answers to the health care problems of today just as there are better answers than anything being considered by Congress.

Capitalism is a sound economic model. That said, there are many, many improvements which could be made to capitalism as we know it to further democratize the process substantially. But what we are experiencing today is not American-style capitalism anyway - worker and entrepreneur capitalism. Our current economic model isn't American-style capitalism and our current trade policies aren't rooted in capitalism. Instead we see a co-mingling of large private businesses and government created a corporate socialism of sorts. This dynamic has always existed in America on some level but it has become even mildly fascist and terribly corrupt in its characteristics. Again, nothing necessarily new but given government has become so involved in society, the impacts of today are far more serious than historical comparatives.

Moore is down on capitalism. And why wouldn't he be? But I believe he incorrectly chooses to throw the baby out with the bath water. Regardless, we've remarked before that we aren't wedded to capitalism. There are countless methods to re-ignite the American economy. Our future might involve a smattering of many solutions, some based on capitalism and some based on other solutions. One example we said could develop was cooperatives meant to act as a localization bulwark against concentrated Washington and corporate power. Ironically, just months after we mentioned this obscure concept, cooperatives have entered into the health care debate. If executed properly, that's a very good thing regardless of the rhetoric.

I would encourage everyone to continue to embrace any and all new ideas based on some type of reason. Moore has an objective and there is most likely bias as there is in most any position but this is another example of a voice outside of the status quo adding positively to the national debate.
posted by TimingLogic at 5:23 AM