Sunday, October 4, 2009

Capitalism: A Love Story

I just came back from "Capitalism: A Love Story", by Michael Moore. A must see!

Following the same "interview" style as an in SIKO, he made me aware of the following pieces of information:

Pilot's salaries
Apparently, airline pilots in the USA make around $20,000 a year. In Switzerland, they (used to) make the same amount, but per month.

Life insurance on employees
Many employers (see the list) bought life insurance on their employees' heads. So, when an employee dies, the company would collect money (in the millions). It seems a little problematic that someone can choose to get money when someone dies, without even telling the person. This could be defined as a "conflict of interest"... or even an incentive, for a company, to have some of their employees die!

The most surprising is that health insurers haven't thought about it yet.

For profit kids detention unit
Refers to the case where 2 Luzerne County, Pennsylvania judges received money for giving outrageously long sentences to 6500 children, who were sent to a for-profit detention center. The owners of the prison made tens of millions as well.

We can discuss about the utility of the death sentence. But since it exists in America, USE IT for these guys!!

Mortgage abuse
Apparently, banks and the like aggressively approached home owners, encouraging them to "refinance" their homes: get cash against the warranty of their homes. Many did, and either spent the money, or lost on the stock market. When the real estate crashed, the banks increased the interest rate and asked for more money (to cover for the potential value loss), and those who couldn't pay had to leave their home.

Financial Coup d'Etat
This is probably the masterpiece of the movie, where Michael Moore actually suggests that the banks and the politicians organized a gigantic Financial Coup d'Etat:
  1. Deregulate mortgage laws
  2. Let people borrow more than they can
  3. Cash in good loan interests and huge bonuses
  4. Let everything collapse (2 months before the elections)
  5. Banks can "buy", or recover, a huge number of properties for dirty cheap
  6. Use public money ($700 billion) to refinance the banks, who are on the verge of bankruptcy (but the bankers - the people - still have their bonuses!)
  7. Pay out large bonuses again
This is not the whole movie. Some are my opinions and not (only) Michael's. Go see the movie!