Sunday, August 30, 2009

Capitalism: A Love Story




Peter Schweizer: Michael Moore is constantly trying to prove his and the Left's moral superiority, so he says things about himself that are patently not true. He's pathological about it. How else to explain that he's loudly proclaimed no less than three times that he doesn't invest in the stock market because it's morally wrong while quietly picking up shares in a whole host of companies. A portfolio that includes Halliburton, Boeing, and HMOs doesn't fit the bill so he lies about it. I think he assumed that no one would poke around and investigate. When it comes to the MSM he was correct in making that assumption. He never responded to my questions. I'm dying to know how he explains away this one.

Moore professes to hate capitalism ("the last evil empire" he's called it) but practices it in spades. Moore condemns people for their racism and claims to support and practice affirmative action, but has a lousy record of hiring minorities. He outsources post-production film work to Canada so he can pay non-union wages. I could go on and on. I would ask his fans: is this really a sincere person?

From the back cover of Peter Schweizer's book "Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy":


Originally posted at Carpe Diem.

36 Comments:

At 8/31/2009 2:54 AM, Blogger T said...

why not rise above the left-right jibber and accept that he makes a fair point about sloppy auditing and dodgy capital injections? Had a i more time to search this blog I suspect I would find both these points from your own mouth (hands!?).

 
At 8/31/2009 3:55 AM, Blogger OA said...

T, what?

The movie comes out Oct. 2, where is the stuff about sloppy auditing and dodgy capital injections? And why should we give him credit if he points out the sky is blue?

Why don't you send this message to him "why not rise above the left-right jibber?" He sure makes money off of it. I don't make a dime off the spin and I doubt other readers here do either.

 
At 8/31/2009 7:40 AM, Blogger 1 said...

Drinking the Michael Moore kool-aid are you T?

Just curious if you've ever bothered to look at just how lacking in the facts the previous Moore movies have been?

 
At 8/31/2009 8:44 AM, Blogger (UT) said...

I think Michael Moore is a hero. Period. Globalism has its pitfalls and Michael has been reminding everyone of that. He's tried to defended American jobs and American workers when many others, including MJP and many of the talking heads on CNBC, for example, have been advocating ... well.. Globalism. I'm not claiming Michael Moore is perfect - I'd be shocked if he was -

but if this "Economics Blog" (when did "hypocrisy" or "alleged hypocrisy" become Economics?) has charges to make I think it should list its sources, for one thing, relevant dates etc. the whole kit and caboodle, and maybe give Michael a chance to respond.

 
At 8/31/2009 8:51 AM, Anonymous Rand said...

He's not lying! He doesn't own a single share of stock. He owns multiple shares.

 
At 8/31/2009 9:12 AM, Anonymous Fallon said...

Prof. Perry,

I might be imagining this, but I believe that Mr. Moore said that his stock investments allow him to go to shareholder meetings and protest.

If this were true it would be tantamount to the state economist's rationalization of tobacco taxes: predict inelasticity of demand, then have the state profit from it and talk down the 'evil' industry all the while.

Since value is only revealed through Mr. Moore's concrete action, is there enough info for an economist to make a solid charge of any sort? In other words, we left with 'is the glass half full or empty' judgement call.

Rather, it seems this ambiguity could be condemning enough of Moore. He reminds one of the Committee for Decency member who 'must' review a porn movie and watches every disgusting and depraved moment so the people won't have to!

 
At 8/31/2009 9:36 AM, Blogger 1 said...

"I think Michael Moore is a hero. Period."...

Pretty much akin to saying the moon is made of green cheese or the planet earth is flat and the center of the universe, don't you think?

"He's tried to defended American jobs and American workers..."...

So you're say that the American workers need a pathological liar to defend them? Defend them against what?

"but if this "Economics Blog" (when did "hypocrisy" or "alleged hypocrisy" become Economics?) has charges to make I think it should list its sources, for one thing, relevant dates etc"...

Funny but the very same demands could be made of your heated defense of Michael Moore...

Regarding your question about hypocrisy become economics, when it started costing the American taxpayer money...

BTW Michael Moore has had many chances to back up with nonsense with something credible but running away or whining is Moore's forte...

Just a little effort on your part (obviously you have access to the internet) would've at least given you pause before you posted your comment...

Remember Sicko?

John Stossel questions Michael Moore on Cuban Health Care

Cuban hospitals for the masses...

 
At 8/31/2009 9:56 AM, Blogger QT said...

OA, 1,

Before you pile on T, read the editorial review of Peter Schweizer's book:

"reads less like a critique of liberal philosophy than a catalogue of ammunition for ad hominem bloggers"

T,

Although we should perhaps reserve judgement until the movie is released, the preview does not look very promising particularly where cross-cutting is used during interviews. Those of us who have studied film are aware of how easy it is to create a misleading impression when you cut and splice interviews.

What do images of a collapsing building, a fifties wife kissing her husband or someone bailing a canoe tell us about the roots of the financial crisis or capitalism? How do Mr. Moore's blustering antics at Enron inform the viewer?

Does the preview leave you with the impression that the documentary will move beyond superficial venting to a comprehensive understanding of the subject of capitalism?

A great documentary offers an objective, in-depth analysis of a subject exploring many different viewpoints and presenting supporting documentation to create a greater understanding of complex, often controversial subjects. Such a documentary usually moves well beyond partisanship to an appreciation of events from many perspectives for example Ken Burns' Civil War.

 
At 8/31/2009 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the Caribbean sun sank down on Moore’s breathtakingly meretricious movie, I couldn’t help recalling that when Fidel Castro became gravely ill last year, he didn’t put himself in the hands of a Cuban surgeon. No. Instead, he had a specialist flown in — from Spain.

MTV.com

 
At 8/31/2009 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only a capitalist system could produce overweight communists.

 
At 8/31/2009 10:08 AM, Blogger 1 said...

Well QT my comment has nothing to do with Peter Schweizer...

Personally I find Schweizer occassionally entertaining but mostly pointless...

I thought Schweizer was rather behind the curve in his book, "Makers and Takers"...

"Although we should perhaps reserve judgement until the movie is released"...

Hmmm, the old bit about the tiger changing its stripes, eh?

I would've thought that Moore's first stab at propaganda, "Roger and Me" would've been enough for anyone...

 
At 8/31/2009 10:44 AM, Blogger (UT) said...

Michael Moore describes his films (at least he did once) as "point of view documentaries." And I think that's a perfect description, an adequate warning label, agree with him or not.

Personal attacks on a film-maker doesn't have a place in an Economics Blog in my opinion.

 
At 8/31/2009 11:15 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

I don't care a lot for Mike, and I have known him and had mutual friends since our high school days together in the ‘70s. You don't talk to Mike if you want facts; however, he can be somewhat entertaining in a bully sort of way.

For his wealth, though, those are very small amounts of stocks to own. If the chart was the extent of his stock holdings in 2000, he obviously did not own stocks at that time to increase his net worth. He probably just bought the stock so he could attend the shareholders’ meeting and be a blowhard. That’s how he does things to make a name for himself.

UT: For some strange reason, Mike gets a lot more attention from the main-stream media than he deserves or earns and he basks in that attention. That makes him fair game for criticism. Roger and Me hurt Flint much more than GM or the UAW did.

 
At 8/31/2009 11:16 AM, Blogger QT said...

1,

I agree your reply did not concern Schweizer. Was indicating that T was not completely off base with his comment regarding "left-right".

I doubt that the tiger will change his stripes.

The truly ironic thing about Michael Moore is that his movies are multi-million dollar examples of corporatism in action which a glance at the credits reveals.

 
At 8/31/2009 11:22 AM, Anonymous Norman said...

Moore is a propogandist. As QT said, "Those of us who have studied film are aware of how easy it is to create a misleading impression when you cut and splice interviews." To this point Moore has a rule in interviews: They can't be edited. That's because Moore knows how easy it is to trick and mislead via the cut. And smart people believe his and Al Gore's doc's. This is a sad world we live in.

 
At 8/31/2009 11:29 AM, Blogger QT said...

Walt,

If you look closely, this is a schedule of capital gains & losses in a tax year rather than a copy of Mr. Moore's portfolio.

 
At 8/31/2009 11:51 AM, Blogger (UT) said...

Walt G - My admiration for Michael Moore is that he tried to do something for Flint and the autoworkers, however misguided he might have been. (I happen to think he was right on.) So I'm really interested in your view that "Roger and Me hurt Flint much more than GM or the UAW did." Could you expand on that, please? Do you mean from the publicity?

 
At 8/31/2009 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, I have my doubts concerning the source.

Any book fingerpointing loudly at "THE LIBERALS HYPOCRISY" gets as much doubt from me as the ones documenting "Jewish crime against the Nazis in the 1940s". And maybe I should have airquoted the "documenting".

I mean, come on people, seeing the American Right point fingers at the American Left for being hypocritical doesn't strike you as the prime example of hypocrisy following the Bush years?

Pot, Kettle, Black.

 
At 8/31/2009 12:18 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

QT: I assumed when I see numbers like 4 shares, Mike did not own many shares in each company. If he did not own many shares in each company, I assumed he did not have profit in mind when he bought the stock. I wish I only owned 4 shares of the old GM when they tanked :)

UT: Yes, the bad publicity. As I travel around the country and people see that I am a GM worker from Flint, Roger and Me is always the first thing out of their mouths. If Mike Moore and Ben Hamper (aka Rivethead) wanted to help Flint, GM, or the UAW they both had their head up their ass.

 
At 8/31/2009 12:22 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

anonymous 12:10,

I agree with you. Labeling people as "left" or "right" ignores many people who lean different ways on different issues.

 
At 8/31/2009 12:28 PM, Blogger QT said...

Anon.,

While I agree that Peter Schweizer's book is biased, do comparisons with jews and nazis really add to this discussion?

Michael Moore seems sufficiently controversial without introducing the nazis into the mix.

Let's keep it friendly.

 
At 8/31/2009 12:45 PM, Blogger QT said...

Walt g,

Although the money involved is not great, let us be precise. The schedule indicates the number of shares range from 4 to 250.

Again, we do not have any way of knowing what Mike owns from this schedule only what he sold in 2000.

 
At 8/31/2009 1:16 PM, Blogger 1 said...

Well QT and Walt G, T allusion to left & right was incredibly pointless so I ignored it...

Its all about the facts, the facts Moore refuses to come to grips with...

Calling Moore a documentarian is akin to considering Ken Burns (famous for whining about McCain of all people) an historian...

QT speaking left-right that credits link of yours was a nice 'who's who listing of Obama supporters...

Means nothing in and of itself other than a curiosity...

 
At 8/31/2009 1:38 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

QT, you’re right about the precision of my statement using Mike’s Schedule D. But how many high rollers do you know who buy or sell 4 shares of stock? Those 18 transactions range from a low of $21 to $8079.

Using that information and Mike’s reported wealth would seem to indicate he has anti-capitalist leanings or at least anti-stock leanings. Using this Schedule as evidence to say Mike supports capitalists because he buys stock is prima facie contradictive.

 
At 8/31/2009 3:15 PM, Blogger QT said...

1,

The curiosity is the contrast between Moore and the single cameraman image vs. the reality of million dollar budgets and a staff of 163 people named in the credits along with 7 different organizations. How is a large, profit making organization which produces a film any different from any other large corporation?

Film communicates in a very powerful way and on a very subliminal level so one should be very careful about taking any images for history or truth. Hollywood has never had a particularly good record on historical accuracy.

You're right. The word "documentary" should not be used to describe the films of Michael Moore. It's like comparing a fish with a bicycle. Pardon my lapse of synaptic connections.

 
At 9/01/2009 9:56 AM, Blogger 1 said...

"The curiosity is the contrast between Moore and the single cameraman image vs. the reality of million dollar budgets and a staff of 163 people named in the credits along with 7 different organizations. How is a large, profit making organization which produces a film any different from any other large corporation?"...

Hmmm, well QT that is an excellent question...

I've been staring at it for several many minutes now and still the only thing that comes to mind is 'who makes a salable product' versus 'who makes eye candy...

All that tells you is that I don't rate movie making as much of an endeavor, strictly my own bias...

It could be said that the only reason movies make money is due to the salable products of popcorn, soda, and candy which is supposedly the margin of profit for theater chains...

Now days of course one has to consider what sort of money movie producers (as in everyone involved in making a movie) make off of cable services and disk sales...

There I'm stuck...

Still, that's an excellent question QT...

 
At 9/01/2009 10:19 AM, Blogger Uiucfinance said...

Not that I want to jump into a debate about any of the above, but this is more a statement of addressing the single statement of calling Moore's statement a lie and that he actually does own stock.

If the only proof out there is the "schedule d" form as shown, this shows sales. The sales were completed in 2000. I don't know what date Moore was quoted as saying "I don't own any stock", but that statement is of present tense. I don't know if he went on to say that "I've never owned any stock", which the schedule d would prove to be false.

Its probably deceiving of him to say "I don't own any stock", but the proof hasn't proved his statement to be an absolute lie.

 
At 9/01/2009 11:21 AM, Blogger QT said...

Michael Moore did respond:

Text to Activate LinkSee, that's like a great comedy line. I know it's not true - I mean, I've never owned a share of stock in my life." He went on: "Anybody who knows me knows that, you know - who's gonna believe that? Just crazy people are going to believe it - crazy people who tune-in to the Fox News Channel."

It appears that technically he is correct. The stocks are owned by Michael Moore's non-profit foundation controlled by Moore & his wife. Technically, he does not own the stock personally although he does control the corporation.

 
At 9/01/2009 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, let's get back to the original discussion, folks. Clearly, Moore must be wrong on any argument he makes with respect to market regulation and closed uncontrolled feedback loops because an entity he controls once owned stock.

Also, I have my doubts about any democratic healthcare reforms because Obama sent his children to private school.

Don't get me started on death panels.

The moral of the story of course is that once tribalism enters the picture, rational debate goes out of the window and anything that reinforces stereotypes is seen as sufficient replacement.

Just treat the crazies as what they are, keep your distance and if it looks like things are going real bad real soon, convert to gold and move countries.

 
At 9/01/2009 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like MM is not really the brightest capitalist. He sold nine days short of a long term capital gain.

 
At 9/01/2009 1:47 PM, Blogger OA said...

Anonymous (11:47AM) said: "Hey, let's get back to the original discussion, folks. Clearly, Moore must be wrong on any argument he makes with respect to market regulation and closed uncontrolled feedback loops because an entity he controls once owned stock."

What original discussion? What argument? The post has nothing to do with "regulation and uncontrolled feedback loops".

If he's written something about this, then post a link. Because there's nothing here about his views on regulation. Or his "argument" on regulation.

The post is about Micheal Moore's hypocrisy in that he takes full advantage of capitalism.

 
At 9/07/2009 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is always a way to dig dirt for anything one writes - this professor's blog is no better than that.

What fraction of the faculty members in economics and business believe in global climate change? Not many - because it affects their livelihood!!

 
At 9/15/2009 8:22 AM, Blogger thebusinesshippie said...

I'm no fan of Michael Moore but I can't let this post slide.

Moore could be the majority shareholder in Haliburton and use ethnic minorities to clean his chimney for non union wages, but this is irrelevant to the validity of his arguments against capitalism.

Ad hominem abusive:

Ad hominem abusive (also called argumentum ad personam) usually and most notoriously involves insulting or belittling one's opponent, but can also involve pointing out factual but ostensible character flaws or actions which are irrelevant to the opponent's argument. This tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent's personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent's arguments or assertions.

This tactic is frequently employed as a propaganda tool among politicians who are attempting to influence the voter base in their favor through an appeal to emotion rather than by logical means, especially when their own position is logically weaker than their opponent's.

Examples:

* "You can't believe Jack when he says God exists. He doesn't even have a job."
* "Candidate Jane's proposal about zoning is ridiculous. She was caught cheating on her taxes in 2003."
* "Michael Moore's views on capitalism are invalid. He owns shares, has a lousy record of hiring minorities, and outsources to Canada to save on wages.

 
At 9/27/2009 8:58 PM, Blogger Travis Morales said...

Michael Moore does not propose a solution and in fact states he has not even read Marx. He may not be a communist, but we are! And if this movie moved you to want to know more, to get into a critical debate about the future of humanity, human nature, and the fact that there is actually a real, viable and desirable alternative - COMMUNISM - then you need to tune into an amazing evening with Maoist political economist and communist Raymond Lotta. "Behind the World Economic Crisis: System Failure and the Need for Revolution" will be a live webcast on September 29, Tuesday, 7:30pm EDT. For details go to http://revolutionbooksnyc.org/ See Raymond Lotta's new YouTube, "The Rape of the Congo and You Cellphone" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBhiEKZezhY to get a glimpse of this amazing speaker and analysis.

 
At 9/28/2009 1:36 PM, Blogger Old Guy said...

I noticed the Moore IRA was for 2000. It was a liquidation. Has he been in cash? Anything more current than 9 years ago?

 
At 10/23/2009 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, your paper shows them sold in 2000 and the statement was in a movie made in 2008. What's the problem with that?

 

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