If any policy maker watches Michael Moore’s new movie, “Capitalism: A Love Story” and is influenced by it – be afraid, be very afraid.
Moore appeared on CNN’s Sept. 23 “Larry King Live” to promote his movie, but he shared with host Larry King his thoughts on why the stock market has rallied off its lows, despite a rising unemployment. His reasoning – Wall Street likes joblessness, because it’s more for them. Moore outright told King Wall Street wants people unemployed.
“It’s crazy, isn’t it?” Moore said. “I’ll tell you why: Because your employees are your biggest expense. And, as you’ve noticed in the last few months, as the unemployment rate has gone up, so has the Dow Jones. Now, you’d think, you know – that Wall Street would respond with, ‘Oh my God, unemployment is going up, you know, this is bad for business.’ But the reality is, is that Wall Street likes that. They like it when companies fire people because immediately the bottom line is going to show a larger profit.”
Not only is Moore’s idea of the American economy cynical – it’s simplistic and just not rooted in basic economic theory. What’s frightening is it is coming from a man getting a lot of free publicity to espouse these views and wants to replace the American economic model with something different, despite showing a true ignorance of the economy and how it applies to the workforce.
As Business & Media Institute adviser and GeorgeMasonUniversity economics professor Walter Williams explained, filling in as the guest host on Rush Limbaugh’s Sept. 4 program, it’s not done for purely short-term shareholder profit as Moore contended. Williams explained drops in employment in these circumstances could show the economy is shedding inefficiency and will eventually replace those lost jobs with better jobs.
“It might be very good news,” Williams explained. “Let me just kind of go back to start off with a really simple case you can really see easily. That is, when we started out in 1787, 93 percent of our nation was involved in agriculture, now only 3 percent. A huge number of jobs were destroyed – by what? By productivity. And so, what firms are looking for now – they’re looking for ways to replace labor because if you can get a machine or a program to replace labor, well the machines not going to be in a union, it’s not going to get sick, it’s not going to take time off.”
Moore’s view is simplistic because he assumes there is only a finite amount of wealth, which he analogizes to a pie and contends it should be allocated more equally. But Williams explains that isn’t how economies have operated throughout history and he backs it up by explaining it’s as simple as identifying a human behavior trait – infinite wants that can create an infinite amount of jobs.
“So, some of the unemployment we might be seeing is maybe a relocation process whereby people are looking -- are going to get other jobs,” Williams continued. “They’re not going to get their original job, but they’re going to get other jobs. And keep in mind, there’s an infinite number of jobs in any society. Why I say infinite number of jobs is because human wants are infinite.”
But Moore wants a new system beyond capitalism. The documentary maker, who has made it a habit of interchanging political systems and economic systems when he makes his pitch, says our economy need to be more “democratic.”
“Yes, that’s correct,” Moore said. “We need to have control of our economy. I don’t understand how we can call this a democracy, just because we get to vote every two to four years. Somehow I guess that’s the democracy. But yet in our economy, there’s no real democracy in the workplace. There’s no democracy. I mean, I want to live in a real democracy, where I don’t lose my democratic rights when I go to work every morning, or when I go to the bank to cash my check.”
The ever-so compassionate Moore proposed there’s not either capitalism or socialism to chose from, but a third way that is “fair,” but hasn’t quite figured that part out yet.
“Let’s quit having this debate of capitalism versus socialism,” Moore said. “It’s the 21st Century. We’re smart enough to come up with a new economic order that is fair, fair to all people, where we don't have so many people hurting. Right now, there’s a foreclosure filing in America once every seven and a half seconds. That is absolutely outrageous. And it’s time to start sticking up for the little guy in this country.”
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