Michael Moore’s myth-making on the big screen is the latest the attempt to weaken the American public’s confidence in capitalism. It could prove effective because let’s face it, more Americans go to the movies than read economic theory. Moore’s movie Capitalism: A Love Story is standard Michael Moore buffoonery—light on facts, heavy on juvenile humor. But there’s no doubt, some would also call it convincing—especially to those who don’t know what capitalism actually is--like Michael Moore himself.
In a rather embarrassing and revealing interview on Larry King Live, Moore made his ignorance of his movie’s title glaringly apparent. A caller to the show suggested to Moore that the movie’s central theme dealt more with corruption and greed and asked “what does this have to do with capitalism?” Watching Moore attempt to answer reminded me of my son learning to talk—struggling for the right words, trying to put them into a complete sentence, then trailing off. In other words, a collection of words clumsily put together, ultimately leading nowhere.
While Moore’s latest salvo might make some nostalgic for capitalism’s glory days of Reagan, Thatcher, and Friedman, the truth is that despite the recent public relations hit, capitalism remains extremely popular in this country and around the world. Why? It’s simple: People know what’s good for them.
In July, the New York Times ran a story about a new Pew Global Survey with the predictable Obama-centric headline, “Global Views of U.S. Helped by Obama, Survey Says.” Indeed, the survey did show an increase in pro-American sentiment in nearly every country since the election of Barack Obama.
However, and perhaps not surprisingly, the New York Times failed to mention some of the other (and frankly more interesting) trends the survey revealed, such as the substantial popularity of free market economics and free trade. The Pew report authors summarize the finding by stating: