Michael Moore: Old Fashioned Capitalism When “Wealth Was Shared”

In a recent interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, socialist documentarian Michael Moore — who, not coincidentally, made a socialist propaganda movie called Capitalism: A Love Story — revealed Monday (September 27th, 2011) what we all already knew: he has no understanding whatsoever of what capitalism really is.

The video clip won’t embed, but you can watch it here (and I suggest you do).

This is what Michael Moore said:

When you say the word capitalism, you have to talk about it in its current sense. You can’t told about the old days or the way maybe, you know, Adam Smith. The sort of old capitalism….

[In the] old days when you worked hard and prospered, everyone else prospered as well. And not only that, as you prospered, the wealth was shared with your employees, with the government. Everybody had a piece of the pie. You, who started the business or invented the light bulb or whatever, you got a bigger piece of the pie. And you know what, nobody cared because you invented the light bulb. That was a pretty cool thing….

None of the major religions, in fact they all, say it’s one of the worst sins you could commit, is to take such a large piece of the pie while others suffer.

Isn’t that heavy?

But the truth is, capitalism is the diametric opposite of what Michael Moore would have you believe.

What is capitalism?

Capitalism is a social system based upon private ownership of the means of production and the preeminence of the individual over the group.

This issue — capitalism-versus-socialism — hinges upon one thing, and this one thing is the only thing you’ll ever need to know about the subject: private ownership (capitalism) versus public or government ownership (socialism).

Do we each own ourselves and (corollarily) our property?

Or do others own us and our property?

Money is property.

Capitalism is an entire political theory — not, as is sometimes supposed, merely economic.

The exclusively economic component of capitalism can be described as the right to life, liberty, and property applied to commerce and industry.

Pure laissez-faire capitalism, which does not exist now and has never existed fully, means that government removes itself from all commerce (and that includes healthcare), in the same way that government removes itself from the bedroom.

In addition to early America, there is at least one other society that has come close to laissez faire capitalism:

“After the War Hong Kong had no minimum wage, low and simple taxes, zero tariffs, zero capital controls, and a stable legal environment. Postwar Hong Kong went as far with economic laissez faire as any other country in history. This resulted in economic development that benefited virtually all the people of Hong Kong. Living standards increased substantially even for the poorest people in Hong Kong” (Stefan Karlsson, “Inflation Leads to Protectionism,” 2004).

Capitalism means that commerce and industry are entirely privatized.

Corporations that receive government subsidies are not capitalistic. They’re the opposite: they’re mercantilistic.
The same is true of small businesses and farms that receive subsidies.

Trade tariffs are not capitalistic but mercantilistic.

Mercantilism is an ancient and more primitive form of socialism. It is socialism before Karl Marx.

Political theory is the theory of government, and government, properly defined, is the body politic that possesses rule over a certain specified geographic region.

Economics is the science of production and exchange, but production does not just mean agriculture, although that is certainly included.

Productive work is any kind of work geared toward the task of survival — survival in the fully human sense of the word, including, therefore, arts, sports, industry, and so on.

Thus the essential questions of government are these:

Do humans exist by right or by permission?

Are we free by nature?

If so, why?

Are we free to produce, exchange, and exist, or do politicians, elected or not, have authority and jurisdiction over the lives of us — to any degree?

Obviously, there’s only one sane answer to all these questions; for to say that humans do not exist by right is the same as saying humans only exist when someone permits us to. But if that were true, we must then ask: who permits? And why? And who gives these people permission?

Fundamentally, political freedom can be achieved only through recognizing each and every single individual’s right to life.

If, then, you believe that we are each individuated and sovereign, and if you believe that our lives are entirely our own and not the government’s and not another’s, if, in short, you believe “we each have a property in our person,” as John Locke said, then you believe in the inalienable right to life, liberty, and property.

You believe, therefore, in laissez-faire capitalism.

More here on the many permutations of socialism.


  • KJJ

    September 27, 2011

    I guess until you have become one of those people who have lost everything and are suffering, people will never understand it. I own my own business (can’t afford healthcare for myself) , my husband busts his ass 40+ hours a week (if he’s lucky) and we still have nothing because of all the interest we are forced to pay to have a house, car, (and stupid us) credit cards (because we can hardly afford to eat). It isn’t fair how companies are allowed to price fix (I think that’s what is called)so they can charge whatever they want.
    I understand prices because I can charge whatever I feel like for my services but I don’t because I feel for the people who come to me and I understand how hard it is to work and support a family.

    Could I make a ton of money? Yes, if I didn’t care about the other children in my care. If I charged a ton would people come to me? Maybe. Do I deserve it? Hell yes! Would I feel good about it? Nope, because I have a conscience.

    Why has everything gone up so much in the last 20- 30 years ( not even – because you could buy a nice sized home for $40 -50,000 when I was a kid 30 years ago) I remember buying gas at $1.25 a gal (some places cheaper than that) I remember buying food and spending $150 bucks and being able to ‘stock up’ with that. Now, no frickin’ way! I’m lucky to walk out with a few bags for that much.

    I know, I know BooHoo for us. But if I didn’t have a child to worry about, I guess I wouldn’t bother reading about stuff like this and trying REALLY hard to understand it. I have no idea who to believe when I’m watching the news or reading about this stuff. Who do you believe? Everyone has their own opinion and the own feelings of what they think is the ‘truth’. I believe you are always going to ‘want’ to believe the person/people who talk about what your dealing with. Say Obama for instance, he talks about Healthcare and how he wants it for everyone ( Pick me, Pick me!! I need that), end the war ( pick me, pick me!! I think we should)better schools (pick me Pick me!! we all know we need those) Take Michael Moore, Bill Maher, they talk about things that relate to me. Whether or not it’s true or false, reality or not, I don’t get to sit in on the governments conversations or go to White House meetings. I only get to sit on my couch and see it on TV or in the paper. Or hear about it from my mom who lives in Canada.. You wouldn’t want to hear what she has to say about the USA because their news isn’t the same as it is here.

    My point is – I can only want to believe who makes me feel like they understand where I’m at. They make you feel good about what they talk about. I have no side, I have no vote, and my voice is very quiet. I don’t believe anything anymore because even the people who are on the same side can’t come up with the same conclusions.

    Here I go again talking about stuff I barely understand but feel the impact of. Probably not even the right topic.

    Sorry, I’m ready for the bashing :-) Have a great day!

  • Greg

    September 27, 2011

    Hi KJJ,

    You said, “It isn’t fair that companies can charge whatever they want.” In fact, the opposite is true. It isn’t fair for the government to tell you what price to charge your customers. What if they force you to charge too much? Or to little? Either way you’ll likely go out of business.

    Good for you for running your own business. In my more naive days I once asked Ray, “Aren’t all businessmen capitalists?” Now I realize how silly that question was. Businesses of all sorts lobby for government favoritism and intervention. They probably have nightmares of Laissez Fair capitalism.

    Keep searching for truth by asking questions. You are in the right place.

  • Kjj

    September 27, 2011

    Thanks Greg.

  • Micky

    September 27, 2011

    I’m happy knowing that Michael Moore looks like he smells worse than me

  • Dale

    September 29, 2011

    Well done, Ray. You hit it on the head.
    However, I must call you to task on your statement “in the same way that government removes itself from the bedroom”. Marriage is largely a government-sanctioned contract for financial reporting and tax collection purposes – an unbelievable abuse of our privacy if you ask me. Tax implications lead to the discussion of “gay marriage”. In effect, the government IS in our bedrooms, don’t you think?

    As to “who permits? And why?” Democrats, an example of socialists-in-denial, are ready and willing to fill that role, because they have such high moral goals, and when they discriminate it is a good thing. Just ask them.

  • ScummyD

    September 29, 2011

    “It isn’t fair how companies are allowed to price fix (I think that’s what is called)so they can charge whatever they want.”

    Price fixing is illegal (it’s collusion among competitors to set price). But charging whatever price I want for what I produce is not illegal. It is perfectly acceptable for it reflects the sort of individual freedom necessary to bring to market the most amount of goods in the most efficient manner that consumers value most highly and to make them available to the most amount of people and put them toward the most efficient use.

    If producers are not free to charge whatever price they wish, then the price must necessarily be dictated and set arbitrarily by one man or a group of people neither of which have any clue as to the real value of a product and thus its market price. There are a slew of inputs that go into the creation of a product and there are millions of products. The cost of these inputs for production are constantly changing. The best way, the most efficient way, that is, to determine the value of a product and its price is by paying attention to the signals (input prices) sent through the marketplace as determined by millions of people freely contracting amongst themselves (buying and selling) all over the world; something that is totally impossible for some detached group of elites in a far off capital to determine daily, but that is totally possible when carried out by millions of individuals acting on their own through the market.

    The check against overpricing lies in the same sort of individual freedom for consumers that businesses enjoy in setting whatever price they wish. In other words, consumers do not have to buy anything (accept ObamaCare!). If a price is set too high people won’t buy it and that business will go bankrupt and other companies will meet demand with supply at a cheaper price.

    “I understand prices because I can charge whatever I feel like for my services but I don’t because I feel for the people who come to me and I understand how hard it is to work and support a family.”

    In theory you can charge whatever you wish, but in reality you can only charge what the market will bear. And what the market will bear, the price in other words, is determined by the freely chosen actions of millions of consumers in the marketplace rather than a few politicians or a few bureaucrats. Neither choice is perfect, but the better option should be apparent if one considers two heads better than one and hundreds of millions better than a few.

    Are you running a charity or a business? If it’s a business then your priority should not be concern for people and the public, but a focus on profit. And in focusing on profit rather than charitable handouts (which is what you are engaged in if you undercharge for your products out of sympathy for people) you are doing more to help people and the public than you do in sacrificing yourself for the supposed greater good of a few patrons of your services.

    You say you don’t charge as much as you could because you know how hard it is to support a family just after saying how little you have to support your own family. You are short changing your own family, (and assuming you have them) your employees and their families, and your stockholders. In addition, all the other businesses lose out that would have benefited from your creation of wealth that would have been spent buying their goods and services. You could take it further an observe how, because you created less wealth for yourself and your employees and stockholders, that there would be less capital deposited in banks and therefore less capital available to be loaned to create new businesses and to create new jobs and to create new goods and services. Furthermore, you would pay less taxes because you make less and so there would be less revenue for the government to provide all the goods and services it does to the less well off (not that I agree with the current role of government!). All that is lost or lessened when you undercharge.

    I would kindly suggest considering what is lost or not created when you charge less than you could for your services. Your comment suggests you act on some sort of humanitarian grounds out of sympathy or concern for people less well off, but how does that negatively impact your own family and all the others I noted and society in general? Think of all that would be lost or not created if every business charged less than market value for their goods and services out of concern for the less well off.

  • ScummyD

    September 29, 2011

    Whoa! Sorry for the block waddage of wordage. I didn’t know I had to double space or whatever. I hope you read it, KJJ. Cheers.

  • KJJ

    September 30, 2011

    Thanks ScummyD!

    I own a childcare facility and when I talk about not charging a ton of money (like most do) it is because I understand how hard it is to take care of yourself and family. I started this business after having my son. It is ridiculous how much childcare is and how little people really pay attention to the kids in their care. I’m not trying to get rich off this, I’m out to take extremely good care of my child (not letting him sit in a corner crying without anyone noticing) and while I’m doing that I can share my love with other children. The truth is about childcare, is that most people who do this, take as many kids as they want to and charge parents more then most can afford.

    Sure there are things I sacrifice by not charging more but at least I have my son home with me and not somewhere where I have no clue what is happening to him. Healthcare for me was so fricking expensive because of my preexisting issues that there was no way I could afford it. And where I live you cannot make a living here because there’s no jobs. Plus, most of the companies barely pay good benefits. I’m not going to take in a bunch of kids just to pay for certain things. Too much stress and the kids pay for it. Sounds a little unfair to me.

    Where my husband is at, he has worked for them for 9 years and still only gets 25% paid medical. His dumb ass boss (excuse me ) decided right before the economy crashed to buy a new building worth a few million dollars (because he needed that, dumb ass) and less then a year later he is laying people off left and right. So he did something for himself and screwed the people that work for him. Now all of the bonuses he gave- are gone, the medical benefits were changed ( before Obama did anything) and he goes to work every day waiting to be told- your laid off. Some days he wishes they would :-) but he has looked around to find a new job but they pay less for more work.

    So now that you see what my business is, it’s not about selling product but giving children and safe and fun place to be. And their parents not worried about them and how much they are being charged.

    I’m proud of myself and my parents are proud of me.

  • PPB

    September 30, 2011

    KJJ: sounds like you’re balancing the value of intangibles with the amount being paid and doing ok with that. If you charged more and they left, then you’d know you’re charging about what the market can bear.

  • Greg

    October 3, 2011

    Hi KJJ,

    If you were up in the Seattle area you could make a fortune with child care services. We have two boys 1 yr and 3 yr. The child care for the 1 year old is $60/day and the 3 year old is in preschool which is about $1,000/month. These are middle of the road child care schools in the area. The high-end places are over $2,000/month.

    One reason child care is so high here is due to the excessive regulations. The in-home child care businesses have to jump through too many hoops. To start a home business a friend of ours had to sink $6,000 – $8,000 worth of home improvements to get a license. Plus they went through 6 – 9 months of daycare training and certification.

    After all of that, our friend’s facility isn’t much cheaper than what we’re paying.

  • KJJ

    October 4, 2011


    -I actually live fairly close to Seattle. We were just there the beginning of September. Had a wonderful time.-

    How the hell does anyone afford that? I have to go through licencing and training’s also. Doesn’t cost that much. I think it is great that the state cares enough to have people fix up their homes so they are safe for children but because they make it so expensive, I will guarantee you there are A LOT of people doing it under the table so they don’t have to pay.

    I run my business out of my home as well, and in our state they changed it to where we don’t have to do the licensing and that to me is just plan stupid. I’m licensed because I want my parents to feel comfortable bringing their children to me – I also only take in 3 kids at a time ( because I have a son and only want a total of 4)

    I’m still in shock about the payment amount. Does the state fund them? We have programs in our state that gives grants so that providers can keep up the facilities and keep up with trainings. We also have reward programs to give incentive’s, so providers keep up with it. I’m part of a star rating system which help parents decide where to take their children. We also have a scholarship program to get providers in college to get a degree in Early Childhood Development. I would be surprised if Washington doesn’t have that. I actually think they do because Spokane uses the same program as us. (found it-The STARS Program) so you should talk to your friends about this program because it is awesome :-) It makes you want to do good.

    Back on subject – I could never charge that much no matter what. In my opinion there is something wrong with a parent working just to pay childcare, they may as well just stay home with their children. I charge enough to pay my bills. I know I could make more, I know I could charge more but I just don’t have the heart to do it.

    I get it, it’s a job I should be paid well, especially for watching infants but it is a choice.

  • KJJ

    October 4, 2011

    I charge $420 a month and that’s it. I think if I tried to charge over $1000 per child people would spit on me and egg my house :-) or just laugh in my face- I know I would.

    Seattle has a lot more to offer then here. People cannot make that kind of money here because there’s absolutely nothing here for work. People are paid crappy and benefits are a joke. A lot of people have to use ICCP ( childcare funding for people who cannot afford it)

    Sorry, I could keep talking on this subject all day.

  • Greg

    October 4, 2011

    Wow, $420/month is a bargain.

    The problem with licensing is that it is an artificial barrier to entry for competition. Two questions:

    1) Do you think there are any abuses in licensed daycare facilities?
    2) Do you think unlicensed home daycares provide quality care?

    If you answer yes to both then licensing does not solve the problem it is designed to solve. As a parent I will not defer my judgment to some state licensing board. I evaluate the quality of the daycare twice a day everyday. Regulations can never replace sound judgment.

    Licensing simply drives up the cost to the consumer by driving up cost for the business. I am more than happy to patronize an under-the-table operation. The trouble is finding them since they keep a low profile.

    BTW, obviously it is financial advantageous for us to use childcare services. If either of us stayed home the daycare savings wouldn’t cover the lost income. Plus I would much rather do my work than take care of a young human.

  • KJJ

    October 4, 2011

    I don’t think that being licensed makes you a better provider because either way I’m going to take good care of the your child. Being licensed puts me in a better position but having the support I need.(Programs) I know children get abused everyday and it is sad and being licensed doesn’t stop that but if your licensed you have to have a background check and if you have been charged before they won’t let you.

    Being part of these programs for childcare is awesome though because they will provide you with all the information you need and a resources to help you when you have questions or concerns (they are great for parents too). They are here to help providers be the best they can ( depending on the provider.. :-) )

    It sounds like you both have great jobs and that’s why you can afford that much. Luckily, my parent’s have great jobs too because they pay when it’s time. I have a parent who has told me flat out that I should charge more and I did raise my rates, $20, when I needed to but I’m not looking to get rich off this. I’m wanting to stay home with my son and raise him myself. Teach him.

    I figured why not make a couple bucks while I’m at it, by helping out a few people and paying a few bills to help out.

    I guess I will never make a great business owner if I keep feeling sorry for people.

  • KJJ

    October 4, 2011

    – but having the support I need.

    I meant by.

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