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“Capitalism: A Love Story” by Michael Moore Essay (Movie Review)

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Updated: Mar 11th, 2020

Michael Moore presents an interesting and humorous film that exposes corrupted capitalism and the price the Americans have to pay for their unquenchable love for it (Moore, 2009). Moore’s-Capitalism: A love story-film highlights the evils of capitalism in America. The movie begins with humorous CCTV footage of bank robbery to expose capitalism at work.

Moore quickly points out that capitalism is evil and claims that the US was not born a capitalist nation (Moore, 2009). According to Gouverneur (2005), capitalism is a socio-economic system that allows few individuals (the rich) to gain from the products or services they provide.

It is dominant in nations that support the freedom of property ownership and individual stability over the society. This system exists in almost all economies in the world. The capitalists (minority) rule because they are able to produce and distribute goods while the working class (majority) provides labor to earn salaries and wages.

Gouverneur (2005) argues that capitalism is one of the best governance systems because it allows free markets, creates job opportunities, leads to competition that encourage provision of quality goods and services, and leads to decentralized economic systems. However, the picture of capitalism portrayed in Moore’s documentary is contrary to the expectations of many.

The system is money-oriented, encourages unfair wages and poor working conditions, and promotes unfair competition. Furthermore, Moore unveils the injustices and abuses committed by financial institutions leading to the current economic recession. This documentary show how disastrous capitalism can become when it is not regulated (Moore, 2009).

Capitalism: A love story provides distressing scenarios of individuals losing their homes to banks through repossession. This is shocking because Moore had highlighted that there is a foreclosure of American homes after every seven and half seconds. The rich and the powerful are revealed screwing the poor and the little. In addition, he shows the awful details of the nasty “dead peasants” insurance scheme.

Large insurance corporations display corruption of high order by receiving high insurance payouts when an employee passes away. Airline pilots are not left behind in the corruption since they are also badly paid just like other workers. The major intention of Moore is not to enlighten the audience how capitalism is evil, but rather how the greedy few abuse the policies and corrupt those in power for their selfish gains (Moore, 2009).

Moore takes a courageous ground and addresses major theme in the government that many artists avoid because of their sensitivity and complexity. He takes capitalism and reasons around the current American economic recession. He begins from Rome and brings us up to the America’s present economic recession which he attributes to capitalism.

He associates, capitalism with evils of Vegas casino, death profiteering, corrupt bank lending, and the ultimate fall of democracy. Despite his distressing realization of a good system being corrupted, he invokes cleaver humor, and creative editing for the audience to absorb the ideas in jovial moods.

The episodes, in the film show that capitalism is evil, and they prove that it is the cause of recent economic constraints. However, capitalism is known to be the pursuit of the American dream and it was never meant to be evil. The founders of the US had good intentions, but it began to spiral down when it allowed capitalism to negatively control democracy.

The rich were allowed to remain rich leaving the poor with no option, but to stay poor. Surely from Moore’s perspective, capitalism can become disastrous when the rich are allowed to control the government as in the case of deciphering the foreign language of Wall Street (Gouverneur, 2005).

The movie highlights many instances of democracy, socialism, profit motives, free enterprise, employers profiting from the death of its workers, propaganda, the senate Housing committee’s failure to polish mortgage scams, white-collar crimes, bailouts, self-indulgence, consumption and greed. All this evils reveal politics and propaganda in the political society.

The unfair trade activities highlighted in the movie reveals how the nation without regulations can get spoilt by greedy capitalists. Moore presents a nation where the working class is paying the price of capitalism. He points out some individuals and organizations he believes are perpetrators of economic crisis. For instance, he points fingers at Reagan Dubya, Alan Greenspan and Goldman Sachs, and Wall Street.

From the look of things, Moore supports democratic socialism and believes that it is the remedy for the corrupted capitalism. Socialism is a political system that denies property ownership or validity of property rights. The system is built on the principle of communal ownership of the property and thus destroys the concept of human rights by making them invalid.

However, there is a better version of socialism that is based on moral principles. This is the system that Moore prefers to capitalism. From ethics perspective, socialism is an evil political system that destroys property rights. It encourages laziness and social injustice. Adesnik, & McFaul (2006) provides that the evils of socialism are avoided only when the moral system of collectivism is embraced.

This is why Moore calls himself a social democrat because morality is the center of socialism. Moore stresses the fact that wealth in the United States is concentrated on few individuals. Those individuals are avaricious because they do not want to share their wealth with others.

He bases his reasoning by pointing at Reagan’s claim that poor republicans that existed in 1980s were poor because of their own faults, and that poverty occurs due to social factors that humans have no control over. According to Moore, Reagan’s claim is a clear demonstration of greed and selfishness. In other words, capitalism has provided the opposite of the promised social justice and human dignity.

He makes his point by exporering heavy bailouts and fear-driven wars (Gouverneur, 2005). Moreover, he tells of compelling stories of home evictions, and “dead peasant” insurance claims. This demonstrates social injustice and abuse of human dignity. This makes him to criticize media by spreading misleading news about dangers of socialism when it is capitalism than leads to exploitation, greed and corporate failure as the current events reveal.

Moore handles the theme of democracy shallowly and does not spend a lot of time on it. However, he features a business that uses true democratic ownership by the workers. Managers and line workers are paid equally, and all employees have a say in corporate decisions. Moreover, decisions are made for the best interest of everyone (Adesnik & McFaul, 2006).

He highlights the second bill of rights that President Roosevelt presented to the American people in 1944 even though the bill did not take root due to his death. He points out that the dead of Roosevelt led the nation to spin into anarchy, with indolent, right-winged, and self-seeking politicians (Moore, 2009). The politicians made unhealthy concessions with corporations and Wall Street leaving the middle-class and the low-class unemployed and without health insurance.

Moore examines banking institutions and their role in the society and discovers that they have become dangerous to the American liberties than standing armies because of corruption. Furthermore, he denotes that allowing private banks to control the currency would allow inflation and deflation to deprive of people their property. This would leave them homeless in the country their ancestors conquered.

Democracy is about equality and not a society where the top 1 percent of the population has extreme wealth whereas the rest 99% live in poverty (Moore, 2009). One wonders why the richest nation in the world is reluctant in offering healthcare, high education and pensions to its citizen when other developed countries offer all of them. Moore makes a comparison of today’s society with the ancient Rome where corruption was the order of the day.

He then contrasts it with American life in the 1950s when American families thrived on single incomes. He shows how the corrupt Reagan let Wall Street run wild and free allowing short-term profits to take precedence over the well being of employees which is great gain for executives but great loss to employees (Adesnik & McFaul, 2006).

Moore explains the effects of recession where families pay the price of capitalism with their jobs, homes and savings. He tackles the lives of families that have been ruined and turned upside down due to poor leadership and misuse of free market situation. Families that he comes across share similar symptoms such as gone love affairs, lies, abuse and betrayal with over 14000 jobs being lost daily.

Moore emphasizes that a country run as a corporate will finally fall (Gouverneur, 2005). Moore highlights an incident where thousands of young people were imprisoned in privatized juvenile detention centers in wakes, and Pennsylvania. This occurred because of two corrupt judges who were making millions of cash from the owner of the facility.

A critical examination of this incident shows how the greedy judges are using prisons to amass wealth at the expense of the poor youth. Here, Moore exposes the evils of capitalism and feels that socialism which he gives credit would do better in the US government. The scramble for profits and the rich exploiting the poor in the name of capitalism rekindles his revolutionary demands for anti-capitalism (Fullinwider, 2007).

Both the Republicans and the Democrats use worldwide economy to eliminate unions and drive down inflation. This led to the disappearance of good paying jobs due to destruction of companies such as GM in the US. The closure of major companies had a major effect on the economy leading to lower paying jobs (Allison & Beschel, 2002). This resulted into workers defaulting on their mortgages.

This in turn led to the lowering of real estate price. Moore organizes his document with skill and insight ensuring that critical issues are accompanied with humor for the audience to absorb them with little shock. He strongly holds that profit seeking is evil for the society. He maintains that America’s founding fathers strived for democratic socialism and not capitalism which they condemned.

Capitalism: A love story film makes liberals happy because it says out loud the injustices that the Americans are passing through (Adesnik, & McFaul, 2006). Finally, Capitalism A love Story documentary is organized well. It connects the world of finance, politics and power, and social life brilliantly. It is a very nice piece or art that points out evils that take place in America behind the scenes (Moore, 2009).


Adesnik, D. & McFaul, M. (2006). Engaging Autocratic Allies to Promote Democracy, The Washington Quarterl, 29 (2): 7-26.

Allison, G. & Beschel, R. (2002). Can the United States Promote Democracy? Political Science Quarterly, 107(1): 81–98.

Fullinwider, R (2007). Civil Society, Democracy and Civic Renewal. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Gouverneur, J. (2005). The foundations of Capitalist Economy: An Introduction to the Marxist Economic Analysis of Contemporary Capitalism: New York: Diffusion Universitaire Ciaco.

Manor, J. (2009). The Political Economy of Democratic Decentralization. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.

Moore, M. (Director). (2009). Capitalism: A Love Story [motion picture]. United States, Overture Films.

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