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Chris Hedges Talks Capitalism With Michael Moore

Posted on Dec 12, 2011

Let’s review, shall we? In this clip, shot for Michael Moore’s on-the-money documentary, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” Chris Hedges lays it all out for anyone still mystified, as it were, about the devastating human costs of unfettered capitalism. Class is in session.  —KA

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By balkas, December 13, 2011 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

the fact is one cannot separate religions, meritocracy, law making,
capitalism [finances-private ownership of whatever], etc., from the state.
and it is the state [definitely in india and u.s] which is unfettered, to
borough that term from hedges—provided he is using the label.
so, religions, banking, private ownership [of army, too] congress,
constitution, w.h, MSM, education, wmd, high army echelons, cia, et al are
free as birds [unfettered] to do what they please.
and if use of atom bombs, 2-4 mn dead s.e.asians, aggression against
korea, cuba, afgh’n, iraq, palestina; extirpation of indigenes, existence of
billionaires, multimillionaires, homelessness does not prove it, what else
cld one adduce to prove it?
and i think that OWS is aware of this fact and if so, they’d never ever give
up the struggle to fetter all these aspects of one reality, and which we cld
call “state”.
actually, subduing capitalists might come after subduing generals, cia
agents, judges, billionaires, MSM, educators, et al.
but i wld leave that problem to OWS or a political party it may form.

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By JDmysticDJ, December 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment


Capitalism does not demonstrate the survival of the fittest, unless one considers the spiritually, morally, and philosophically corrupt the most fit. Capitalism is a paradigm that has existed for half a millennium or more and Capitalism now dominates the entire planet. Historically, Capitalism as a ruling paradigm and omnipotent force exceeds that of the pre-Reformation Holy Roman Empire and the many other empires that arose and fell.

The primary definition of “Capitalist” is: “A person who has capital invested in business, or a person who derives his income from investing capital, the secondary definition of Capitalism is a person who is an advocate or a believer in Capitalism. People such as oddsox are Capitalists i.e. believers in capitalism even Hedges and Moore criticize “Unfettered Capitalism” rather than Capitalism.

The loaning of money for profit was just a few centuries ago considered to be sin by the world’s dominant religions. Today Capitalism has become a quasi-religion who’s most ardent devotees wage war against heretics and seek to marginalize and sanction those perceived to be a threat to religious doctrine.

Financial Institutions and corporations are the driving instruments of Capitalism. Contrary to popular myth it is not meritocracy that determines a person’s financial success under Capitalism it is cronyism that determines a person’s financial success under Capitalism. It could be argued that managers, upper level rank and file employees: Fund managers, brokers, salesman, etc. are financially rewarded based on the dollars they bring into financial institutions and that cronyism is a lesser factor but in corporations cronyism is the primary factor at all levels of the bureaucracy. Opportunities may lead to greater financial rewards but those opportunities are governed by cronyism. Managers at all levels of bureaucracy will give said opportunities to like minded people, i.e. cronies.

“Doing favors for friends: special treatment and preference given to friends or colleagues…”

The point being that Capitalists will promote Capitalists from the lowest levels of management and all the way up the management pyramid. Reaching the pinnacle of the management pyramid would require an ardent devotion to capitalist ideals in conjunction with having powerful cronies who will give preference. A truism is, “It’s not what you know, but who you know that matters.”

Meritocracy is subjective, but cronyism can only be considered a corruption of meritocracy. Given that only the most ardent of Capitalist ideologues can achieve the pinnacle of success in Capitalist Bureaucracies and that Capitalism is the nearly omnipotent economic paradigm much if not all of our social and political lives are governed by Capitalists. “Follow the money,” “Money changes everything.”

(More below)

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By JDmysticDJ, December 13, 2011 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

Capitalism #2

“She said I’m sorry baby I’m leaving you tonight

I found someone new he’s waitin’ in the car outside

Ah honey how could you do it

We swore each other everlasting love

She said well yeah I know but when

We did - there was one thing we weren’t

Really thinking of and that’s money -

They shake your hand and they smile

And they buy you a drink

They say we’ll be your friends

We’ll stick with you till the end

Ah but everybody’s only

Looking out for themselves

And you say well who can you trust

I’ll tell you it’s just

Nobody else’s money -

Money changes everything

Money changes everything

Money changes everything”

Sorry, the above is trite, but there is truth between the lines.

In a perfect world merit would be free from externalities and tangibly measured solely by a person’s accomplishments derived from that person’s work, and that person’s contribution to society, and not from economic gain.


1.  selflessness: an attitude or way of behaving marked by unselfish concern for the welfare of others.

2.  belief in acting for others’ good: the belief that acting for the benefit of others is right and good.

Capitalists will argue that Capitalism is altruistic. Capitalists will argue that they are the job creators and that they should be rewarded financially for being such great stewards of wealth, but that argument is fallacious if not disingenuous. Capitalists have created obscene and unfathomable huge disparities in wealth e.g. just 400 Americans have an annual income greater than the annual incomes of the bottom 150,000,000 Americans. Workers around the world are exploited mercilessly by Capitalists, to add insult to injury these workers in addition to being exploited are disparaged and deemed to be unworthy by Capitalists. These workers must suffer for the good of all say Capitalists, but it is not for the good of all that they suffer, it is for the good of Capitalists that they suffer. Elite Capitalists are the overlords; they travel in personal jets, private limousines, dressed in the finest attire, treated with deference everywhere they go. Doors magically open before them. Their wealth, power, and influence creates more wealth, power, and influence to be enjoyed exclusively by them and their sycophants.


“Unfair treatment: unfair or unjust treatment of somebody, or an instance of this.


“Not just: not equal or just.

“Unethical in business: not ethical in business dealings.”

“Socially and economically, we have created great disparities of wealth. A minority of the world’s population (17%) consume most of the world’s resources (80%), leaving almost 5 billion people to live on the remaining 20%. As a result, billions of people are living without the very basic necessities of life - food, water, housing and sanitation.

Specifically, 1.2 billion (20%) of the world population now lives on less that $1/day, another 1.8 billion (30%) lives on less than $2/day, 800 million go to bed hungry every day, and 30,000 - 60,000 die each day from hunger alone. The story is the same, when it comes to other necessities like water, housing, education etc. On the flip side, we have increasing accumulation of wealth and power, where the world’s 500 or so billionaires have assets of 1.9 trillion dollars, a sum greater than the income of the poorest 170 countries in the world.”

If Capitalism is the omnipotent economic paradigm in the world then Capitalism is responsible for the above realities. It is Capitalists by all definitions that are responsible for the above realities. Eliminating the abuses and injustice of Capitalism will require a new paradigm of thinking regarding Capitalism; a new paradigm that Capitalists, by all definitions, are not willing to embrace.

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By Anarcissie, December 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

So far the discussion has been about the credentials of the talkers, rather than the substance of the talks.  I do observe that, once again, ‘unfettered capitalism’ seems to be in the dock.  Since there is no such thing as ‘unfettered capitalism’—capitalism requiring a considerable set of fetters to function at all—I am unlikely to pursue this trial, already having a pretty good idea how it will come out.

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By Foucauldian, December 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

Granted, Moore-Hedges “analysis” wasn’t technical;
poetic may be an apter term.

I’m still at a loss, however, having skimmed through
this comment thread, which particular statements were
found disagreeable.

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By balkas, December 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

regarding master-serf relationship in my own home,
master is my youngold wife and me a serf.
but she thinks i am a cat’s meow so i get everything i
want from her. so, i am not changing the system.
besides, she has no clue what i am talking about. how
luckier cld it be for me?

in india, eg, master-sef relationship between people is
so bad that some people cannot even be touched by
but the country is democratic. and u.s approves of it
and its casteful structure of society.
in iran, on the other hand, there is no untouchables,
but is evil to u.s, nevertheless.

i wonder now, who’s now emulating whom? iran is
godologicly ruled; so, it might be emulating israel or
how about u.s? is it covertly envying/emulating india
and its near ideal fascist structure of society and
putin is emulating ivan the grozni, sarkozy
napoleon/bismarck/suleyman the magnificent.

but poor merkel is blamed for everything [by russia
and serbia and orthodox cult] and all she does is
emulating godiva, mother theresa, marilyn monroe,
and such deep thinkers. tnx

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By balkas, December 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

it’s of dubious value or even vitiating [in my thinking; there’s
others who’d agree with that judgment] to keep on saying what
capitalism IS; it is of much greater value for our survival to take
look at what it DOES.
but, first of all, and in order to obtain an elucidation, consider
what capitalism or capitalisms do, do it not in isolation from
law making, constitution, education, military, banking, religion;
in short, not separated from amy of our doings.

and it does not make a whiff of difference how one ‘explains’
capitalism if posited as existing in isolation from all that we do.

hey, folks, there is only one reality and not two. and banking,
our doings [capitalism], ‘education’, army, judiciary, etc are
inseparable parts of that reality.

so u gotta look at all of it and how each of its aspects functions
and why they function as they do.
and constitution [any and not just u.s] is the umbrella under
which everything that happens in this world stands.

naturally, a propagandist, is going to sever, say,  capitalism,
from the reality and talk only about it and blame or praise it for
OWS needs to be on guard with people like nader, hedges,
moore. merely running for president, criticizing this or that or
some individuals
is not gonna change u.s constitution nor the system of rule.
as people say [and probably for 8 kyrs]: the more things
change, the more they stay the same.
now that such people know about global warming and planet
getting daily poorer, they’d probably say: the more things
change the worse it gets for most people and better for a few.
[provided the system stays the same]. hatte herr nietzsche also
gesprochen? nein, ich glaube! bozhidar balkas vancouver. tnx

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By Anarcissie, December 13, 2011 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

Oddsox—If capitalism is a global social machine, then I don’t see why one of its constituents’ experiences and opinions isn’t as valid as another’s.  Running a corporation is only a very small part of capitalism (as I’m viewing it).

If we wanted to obtain a larger view, a compendium of many viewpoints, we would probably want to find someone who wasn’t distracted by the strong desire to make lots of money or the problems of running a large corporation—a social scientist, a philosopher, perhaps.

My problem with Hedges is that he mostly seems to operate inside his own head.  And for some reason Moore bores me.  But I don’t think their métiers disqualifies them from studying capitalism, if that’s what they really want to do.

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By balkas, December 13, 2011 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

they talk about capitalism but do they ever talk
about the right of an american not kill a civilian in
afgh’n or not be killed by a pashtun, iraqi?

do they ever talk or demand there be a police force
supervising what police does to own civilians and
the need that these rights be enshrined in law or
do they ever talk that it be constitutionally correct
never allow some people to ‘acquire’ $billions and
thus much more power and which they selves do
not approve [or seems so] of it?
and how u gonna change that unless u change
constitution, regulations, laws, etc?
and none of these issues are on ballots, anyway.
so, vote this way or that way amounts to no change
fro better. tnx

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By balkas, December 13, 2011 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

u can have any election u can think of [in u.s and elsewhere] but if it
excludes chosing between serfdom for selves and others or
emancipation for all, u get what u always get: serfdom, dependence and
in some lands more crumbs than others.
and what u get or what you’re allowed to have, wld depend only on
people u don’t know, don’t see; who talk to u from TV or a pedestal; live
in gated communities, etc. tnx

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By David J. Cyr, December 13, 2011 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

RE: “what’s Stein doing to get herself out there?”

American elections haven’t served any good purpose because American voters have been corporate conditioned to consider the corporate party’s corporate media advertised candidates as being the only choices (a non-choice choice).

The only way for a people’s candidate to emerge to provide a strong opposition to the fleet of corporate candidates is for people to advertise them directly… virally, person-to-person, both physically and virtually.

If no significantly large number of people become willing to personally do some small part to support real people’s candidates standing for election in 2012, like Dr. Jill Stein’s presidential candidacy, then people will have the continuum of corporate controlled government they have chosen… and the best future left for any humans on this planet will only be hospice care, because the human habitable climate is being casually discarded by the partnership of retrograde conservatives and depraved liberals in the developed nations.

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By oddsox, December 13, 2011 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, on Trump:
Right here on TruthDig we’ve seen recent articles and many comments on the laughable fact that Trump is neither a politician nor a journalist. 
Yes, he’s been bankrupt (never the same after dumping Ivana), but Trump is, first and always, a true Capitalist.

Sorry, but when Capitalism is the topic, “a hippie communard lady or a street child or a union organizer or a guy at the dog track,” don’t carry the same weight.  Nor do Hedges (who does most of the talking) nor Moore.

Canyon Walker, you are correct in what you wrote.
But Warren Buffet, for example, could critique Capitalism with much more “wisdom and intelligence” than Chris Hedges.
This book would make a great Christmas present for someone who really wants to learn about capitalism.

(NB: The important qualifiers “unregulated” (yours) and “unfettered” (Hedges’) are not lost on me, but I’m out of time right now… will address later.)

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By Patrick Fahey, December 13, 2011 at 10:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Catherine Austin-Fitts, the unparalleled guru of the global financial system and inner workings of Wall Street since the 1990’s, called for the creation of a National People’s Bank capitalized by US taxpayers.  The FED’s role would be reduced to financing capital markets and large infrastructure in the states, touching off an explosion of job creation that would benefit the country locally and nationally. Such a National Bank would be walled off from Wall Street, regulated by simplified rules for lending at any scale for housing, SBIR and R&D. Accountablility to the citizens they serve would be monitored on-line. It would behave like a local savings & loan but on a national scale.  Elizabeth Warren could be hired as the CEO of this bank.  Housing bubbles would cease.  The existing incentives for Too Big To Fail would vanish. A sensible national housing policy would be easy and stable to maintain. Thoughts?

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By oddsox, December 13, 2011 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

@David J. Cyr:
I was on a Marxist site last week and traded blogs with a “socialist & Marxist” reader to whom I introduced Dr. Stein.
She was predictably impressed, but I had to wonder why she hadn’t heard of Stein before.
Of course, my experience is anecdotal.

—but what’s Stein doing to get herself out there? 

You can’t do it all by yourself, David.

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By Canyon Walker, December 13, 2011 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

@ oddsox & Anarcissie:

1.  One doesn’t have to agree with unregulated
capitalism in order to speak about it with wisdom and

2.  One can thrive in an atmosphere of unregulated
capitalism and still speak of it critically.

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By Anarcissie, December 13, 2011 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

Trump has gone bankrupt several times, I believe.  He might be an expert on that sort of thing.

I suppose, though, we are all involved in ‘capitalism’ if we consider it to be a configuration of state, industry and culture, so that the experiences of a movie-maker and of a writer—or a hippie communard lady or a street child or a union organizer or a guy at the dog track—would be equally valid pieces of the picture along with those of business executives.

Oh, a sleeping drunkard
Up in Central Park,
And a lion-hunter
In the jungle dark,
And a Chinese dentist,
And a British queen—
All fit together
In the same machine.
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice—
So many different people
In the same device!

—53d Calypso of Bokonon (Kurt Vonnegut)

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By pitris, December 13, 2011 at 9:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let me see…......they shouldn’t express their opinions. Because they are not…..what? Capitalists? (I would love to have heard Mother Teresa ‘on the Kama Sutra’ by the way.)

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By David J. Cyr, December 13, 2011 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Chris Hedges:

“All of this [systemic collapse] is tied in with the environment… we don’t have a lot of time left.”

Dr. Jill Stein says White House role in blocking climate progress is “unforgivable.”

Jill Stein for President:

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By oddsox, December 13, 2011 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, yes, indeed! 
Moore makes movies. 
I’d seek his expertise in this area. 
And I’d value Hedges’ advise on writing op-eds or getting published. 

But when the topic turns to Capitalism, wouldn’t it make more sense to read a book by Donald Trump or Lee Iacocca or Warren Buffet?

Listening to Hedges and Moore on capitalism was painful. 
A similar experience might be listening to David Duke talk about Civil Rights.

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By never_to_return, December 13, 2011 at 8:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bad argument.  Sure, Moore is in business.  Lots of people are in business. The thing is, not all businesses exploit the fuck out of everything they touch.  Moore is in business, though.

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By Anarcissie, December 13, 2011 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

Moore’s in business.  Making feature-length movies is a corporate industrial enterprise for most people.

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By oddsox, December 13, 2011 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

Hedges and Moore talk capitalism.

Next up, our book review segment:
Mother Teresa on the Kama Sutra.

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By 51st Stater, December 12, 2011 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The U.S. is not alone in unfettered capitalism.

The 51st state (Australia), follows like a sheep. The U.S. is our sheperd, we shall not want (at least not the 1% and the smug middle class in the land of Oz).

The difficulty is of course, how do you legislate against Greed?

Are we greedy because of a spiritual (not in the religious sense),or a creative (self-expressive) vacuum?

Are we greedy because materialism is shoved down our throats almost from birth?

Are we greedy because we are not fullfilled by the love we have for our families and/or lovers?

Capitalism rushed in to fill the vacuum (as did Communism). It hasn’t worked.

A voluntary, non-hierachical society is the last option. No leaders = Justice. No leaders massively reduces the chance of corruption or distortion.

The pyramid needs to be turned up side down and flattened, because it has become top heavy.

Any takers?

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By thebrigadier, December 12, 2011 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Whether it was a question of the right of petition
or the tax on wine, freedom of the press or free
trade, the clubs or the municipal charter, protection
of personal liberty or regulation of the state
budget, the watchword constantly recurs, the theme
remains always the same, the verdict is ever ready
and invariably reads: “Socialism!” Even bourgeois
liberalism is declared socialistic, bourgeois
enlightenment socialistic, bourgeois financial reform
socialistic. It was socialistic to build a railway
where a canal already existed, and it was socialistic
to defend oneself with a cane when one was attacked
with a rapier.

“This was not merely a figure of speech, fashion, or
party tactics. The bourgeoisie had a true insight
into the fact that all the weapons it had forged
against feudalism turned their points against itself,
that all the means of education it had produced
rebelled against its own civilization, that all the
gods it had created had fallen away from it. It
understood that all the so-called bourgeois liberties
and organs of progress attacked and menaced its class
rule at its social foundation and its political
summit simultaneously, and had therefore become
“socialistic.”” – Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire
of Louis Bonaparte

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