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September 7, 2009

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Capitalism is evil, says Michael Moore film

CAPITALISM is evil. That is the conclusion of American documentary maker Michael Moore's latest movie "Capitalism: A Love Story," which premiered at the Venice film festival yesterday.

Blending his trademark humor with tragic individual stories, archive footage and publicity stunts, the 55-year-old launches an attack on the capitalist system, arguing that it benefits the rich and condemns millions to poverty.

The bad guys in Moore's mind are big banks and hedge funds, which "gambled" investors' money in complex derivatives that few really understood and which belonged in the casino. Meanwhile, large companies have been prepared to lay off thousands of staff despite boasting record profits.

The filmmaker also attacks the uncomfortably close relationship between banks, politicians and United States Treasury officials, meaning that regulation has been changed to favor the few on Wall Street rather than the many on Main Street.

He says that by encouraging ordinary Americans to borrow against the value of their homes, businesses created the conditions that led to the financial crisis, and with it to homelessness and unemployment.

Moore interviews priests who believe that capitalism is anti-Christian, because it fails to protect the poor and encourages greed.

"Essentially we have a law which says gambling is illegal but we've allowed Wall Street to do this and they've played with people's money and taken it into these crazy areas of derivatives," Moore told an audience in Venice.

"They need more than just regulation. We need to structure ourselves differently in order to create finance and money, support for jobs, businesses, etc, to keep a healthy economy going."

Amid the gloom, Moore detects the beginnings of a popular movement against unbridled capitalism, and believes President Barack Obama's rise to power may bolster it.

The film follows factory workers who stage a sit-in at a Chicago glass factory when they are sacked with little warning and no pay and who prevail over the bank.

And a group of citizens occupies a home that has been repossessed and boarded up by the lending company, forcing the police who come to evict them to back down.

"Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil," the two-hour movie concludes.

"You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that is good for all people and that something is democracy."

Moore asks traders whether they can explain to him exactly what derivatives are. When he asks for their advice, one man out of shot can be heard replying: "Don't make any more movies."


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