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Michael Moore's post on General Motors' activities in the business sector exemplifies his divisive personality, in which he addresses the nation's political debate. He is known for his criticism of the current state of the American political system and its interaction with its people. Moore's political advocacy has made him one of the most divisive personalities in society due to his ability to bring up divisive issues and debate them openly. He has published several books and produced award-winning documentaries on critical issues such as extremism and healthcare (Shales 1). The purpose of this essay is to discuss and critique Moore’s take on the structure of capitalism with a particular focus on General Motors. He notes that hunger in capitalism has allowed organizations to practice in ways that serve to bring more harm than good to the citizens of the nation. Since ‘profit is king’ organizations will do virtually anything to attain profits but usually at high costs (Moore 254). It is usually the case that such big organizations are the only ones that stand to benefit from these profit-making ventures while the communities that supported their growth and development are left to suffer. Commercial activities and restructuring such as downsizing tend to leave families, communities, and cities in jeopardy despite the fact that an organization did not experience any threat to its profit-making ventures.
The author demonstrates his idea by appealing to the audience’s sense of safety, and this is reflected the moment one looks at the title of the article. The statement ‘Why Doesn’t GM Sell Crack (Moore 253)?’ is a direct attempt to link an organization with a harmful drug that is responsible for destroying many lives and communities in America. The American Society has been fine-tuned to believe that freedom and fair-play are integral to its functioning. When such core pillars are threatened, then it is fair to say that there is a major flaw in the system that needs to be rectified as soon as possible. The author notes that the legal and political system in America is always determined to ensure that the American society is protected from societal evils such as drug abuse and chemical weapons. It is important to create a sense of safety by which the society can flourish. By linking GM with crack, the author is essentially declaring that the society is no longer protected from harm. To him, the government has already made a choice to make profits to be superior to people. Government policies encourage corporations to disrupt communities in their bid to chase the extra buck and please just a handful of people.
Moore notes that “When a company fires thousands of people… Crime goes, suicide goes up… everything bad spirals dangerously upward (Moore 256).” He then links this state of affairs with the effects of drug abuse. He appeals to the audience’s value systems by targeting issues to do with morality in which he questions the government’s indecision to change the laws. He essentially wants the government to make it illegal for corporations to practice in such a way that brings harm to entire communities. It is another instance which shows that the author is appealing to the need to be safe and protected from anything that threatens the society’s way of life.
If Moore’s intent was to raise the alarm by appealing to the audience’s sense of safety, then he has done his job well. He can discuss complex issues such as corporate downsizing, capital flight, and labor in a casual manner by simply associating the effects of such moves with that of crack. Additionally, the use of GM as an example is also novel as it is a company that symbolizes the values of the American people as well as the greed that has come to be associated with America’s brand of capitalism. Throughout the article, the author has made it clear that GM has acted unfairly and such behavior is a signatory of a wider political problem that threatens to destabilize the way of life that Americans have come to cherish. However, it should be noted that Moore was unable to prove his argument with hardcore data and statistics. Some of his comments appear to be fabricated with the aim of proving a specific point. Such a stance makes his argument weak and unable to spearhead changes in the decision-making framework that he expects.
Michael Moore’s argument has the motivational warrant in that he wants the corporate culture in America to change the way it treats its people. He believes that it is basically immoral for the organization to profit from the communities in America and then leave them high and dry in such for ‘greener pastures’ all in the aim of satisfying the wishes of a handful of shareholders. He notes that “It is wrong to make money off people's labor and then fire them after you've made it (Moore 256).” Throughout the article, Moore uses a challenging tone to put across his point, and this is reflected in the last paragraph when he notes, “Just keep firing more workers, my friends, and see what happens.” It is a reflection of the things that he believes to be right and fair for the American people.
Moore, Michael. Downsize This! London, Pan Books, 2003.
Shales, Tom. "Bill Maher: Back For More". Washingtonpost.com., 2017, http://www.washingtonpost.com/. Accessed 15 Feb. 2017.
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