Yesterday I watched Capitalism: A Love Story again. It is the production of Michael Moore, the acclaimed conservative film maker. (Yes, I know he is not really an âacclaimed conservative film maker.â) I had watched the movie/documentary when it first came out at a movie theater in Las Vegas. (We donât have a movie theater here in Pahrump.) I got the DVD of it from NetFlix.
Capitalism: A Love Story is a 2009 American documentary film directed, written by and starring Michael Moore. The film centers on the financial crisis of 2007â2010 and the recovery stimulus, while putting forward an indictment of the current economic order in the United States and capitalism in general.
Topics covered include Wall Street‘s “casino mentality”, for-profit prisons, Goldman Sachs‘ influence in Washington, DC, the poverty-level wages of many airline pilots, the large wave of home foreclosures, and the consequences of “runaway greed”. The film also features a religious component where Moore examines whether or not capitalism is a sin and if Jesus would be a capitalist. The film was widely released to the public in the United States and Canada on October 2, 2009. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 9th, 2010. [Wikipedia]
The Moore documentary is two hours and seven minutes long. It is fast moving. Funny in places, heart rendering in others.
Some ânuggetsâ in the film keep sticking in my mind:
- The top 1% of the population controls more financial wealth than the bottom 95% combined.
- The financial meltdown began with Ronald Reagan and the policies of Don Regan which âturned the bull looseâ for free enterprises, corporations gained more political power, unions were weakened and socioeconomic gaps widened.
- Exposing âdead peasant insuranceâ life insurance policies used by corporations such as Wal-Mart to profit upon the death of their employees.
- âPlutonomyâ where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few.
Overall Moore characterizes the capitalistic economic system as greed gone berserk. Even Catholic priests denounces it as âevil.â
Then this morning The Dailey Beast has the following:
A new report offers new insight into how Lehman Brothers fell into mortal peril at the start of the financial crisis, and the details aren’t pretty. The 2,200 page report by a court-appointed examiner describes an accounting trick known as “Repo 105″ that the company used to hide some $50 billion in assets from its balance sheet for two quarters. According to the examiner, the creative accounting could open up Lehman’s executives to lawsuits as shareholders can use them to show they were deceived by the company. Lehman’s collapse is widely credited with helping trigger the financial meltdown in the Fall of 2008 when it declared for bankruptcy.
See Marketwatch for more detail. You might want to read about the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers here. Even so, Richard Fuld, head of Lehman Brothers, said that he had in fact taken about $300 million in pay and bonuses over the past eight years.Lehman Brothers executive pay was reported to have increased significantly before filing for bankruptcy.