Capitalism: A Love Story Essay

In class Ms. Crosdale sat us down to watch a documentary by the great Michael Moore “Capitalism: A Love Story.” To be quite honestly at first I wasn’t very interested in it until I started to hear little things like people losing their jobs and companies taking out life insurance on their employees unknowingly. I took it upon myself to go home and catch the rest of it on Netflix. After two hours of seeing the evil of capitalism or, as Michael Moore puts it, “legal greed,” I see myself looking at the world and our government in a different light.

I have volunteered plenty of times before in shelters and have heard stories of capitalism taking toll over people’s life and leaving left with absolutely nothing. I also view everyday the mad rush of those who have been captured up in the rat competition for more here in the investment of the capitalist world. One man said in the movie that Wall Street is a “holy place,” and also implied that capitalism, each person making as much cash as he can, is God-given.

Other comments in the movie regarded to capitalism as “evil.” Who is right?

One interesting point that came to mind while watching the documentary was was it was said following Ronald Reagan years where the policies of Don Regan “turned the bull loose” for free enterprises, corporations gained more political power, unions were weakened, and socioeconomic gaps were widened. Then after it cuts in to speak about coverage of “dead peasant insurance” policies, where companies such as Wal-Mart have insurance against losses caused when workers or suppliers die. The employee is usually unaware of the policy, and the fact that the company stands to benefit if s/he dies. Apparently the practice of taking out life insurance on valuable, high level employees started a number of years ago.

This seemed to make some sense, since a company stood to lose money from the untimely deaths of key personnel. But somehow, in recent years, facilitated by deregulation, this practice morphed into taking out policies on low- paid, easily replaced workers, i.e., peasants. Why? Windfall profits. It turns out that companies like Bank of America, WalMart, AT&T, Procter & Gamble, Dow Chemical, and others have found a way to make windfall profits off the deaths of employees! These dead peasant policies are also known to insiders as E. COLI “Employee Company Owned Life Insurance.” Funny? More like outrageous! Sometimes the company even gets the huge pay out when a former employee dies, because leaving the company doesn’t void the policy.

The movie shows a parody of what would occur if God was a capitalist who desired to “maximize earnings,” “deregulate the financial market,” and desired the sick to “pay out of pocket” for their “pre-existing condition” , in comparison with several information commentators who announce the achievements of various capitalist businesses as being a “blessing from God.” The dictionary defines capitalism as “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.” While the Bible doesn’t mention capitalism by name, it does speak a great deal about economic issues.

In my opinion, every thinking U.S. citizen should see this movie and take time out to think about the country that we are living in. Why? Very simply, because it will prick your conscience. On one level, it’s classic Moore, with indirect and subliminal humor, mockery (especially toward self-important people), understated exaggeration, and the clever use of people’s own words to incriminate themselves. But in over all, every point Moore makes is painfully true, and in this film more than in his previous ones, you feel the heart of a man who has compassion for the demoralized.

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