Thursday, October 08, 2009

Capitalism: A Love Story (movie review)

Naturally industrious Americans yearn for a time when their leadership makes sense. That time is not yet, as voodoo economics remains the prevailing religion, a kind of neo-Victorianism which externalizes future shock, assumes its boilerplate class definitions (in the object oriented sense) have a right to world domination, no matter how crufty and ill conceived the original source code. We're stuck with a caste of failed engineers unwilling to upgrade its skills.

Michael keeps it light and poignant, his signature blend. His body of work is consistent and this one helps tie off loose ends by hearkening back to Flint, Michigan. A core irony: Flint, already devastated by non-planner types who helplessly respond to "market forces" (hyper-specialization has been devastating), has become a center for mailing out foreclosure notices to the rest of the nation, as nervous nellies in banking continue postponing a day of reckoning.

The judiciary branch is the most marginalized in this film. The Wall Street power grab through puppeting Congress blocks court supervision (no prying eyes).

That case of a judge who willfully commits teens to a penitentiary for minor infractions, in exchange for bribes, is like a nail in the coffin of that older way of behaving. A next generation, betrayed and exploited, has little incentive to prop up those dying credos.

If "the corporation" is really able to run amok in this way, with its creation in legal fiction attributable to a manipulated judiciary, then it's clear a Frankenstein type monster is on the loose, and until judges effectively deal with this reality, they're in no position to hear a next case (Wall Street concurs apparently).

I saw this with mom, Tag and Lindsey at that Lloyd Center cineplex. We had some coffee in said mall before the various taxis took off, bound to and from their several destinations.

My take is the word "capitalism" is somewhat up for grabs as to what it means. I favor "using one's own head" plus boost various cities as capitals of this and that e.g. I boost Portland as an open source capital. In those two senses, I'm a capitalist. I'm a socialist in using social networking software like Facebook and Twitter.

Narrowing the whole show to two competing Isms (capitalism versus socialism) is not my idea of a good idea though, seems more of a dumbing down. Of course there's fascism, communism, and just plain whining about stuff (more like Protestantism), so maybe I shouldn't complain.

As articulated elsewhere in this blog, I think it's the discipline of Economics itself that needs some real competition. I look for general systems theory on a resume, when thinking in terms of filling responsible leadership positions (and I vote).

Economists with stronger science and engineering credentials might fit the bill (in terms of having some credibility), but I sense most cookie cutter gamblers on Wall Street are unimaginatively depending on inherited reflexes and hand-me-down source code, are neo-Victorians in that sense.