Michael Moore's Roger & Me Essay

Michael Moore's Roger & Me Essay

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Michael Moore's Roger & Me

Roger & Me is a documentary film chronicling the workings of one of the world’s largest corporations, General Motors, as it nearly turns its hometown of Flint, Michigan, into a ghost town. In his quest to discover why GM's management and board of directors would do such a thing, filmmaker Michael Moore, a Flint native, attempts to meet the chairman, Roger Smith, and invite him out for a few beers up in Flint to "talk things over." Moore is the son of a Flint autoworker and a whole family of autoworkers. Roger & Me examines how Moore's hometown of Flint is affected when General Motors closes down a series of factories in order to set up production in Mexico. The town is devastated, economically and spiritually, because GM was practically the only game in town - the city was built around GM.

Since 1983, car sales had steadily risen and GM has posted record profits of nearly $19 billion. So why lay off all of these people? Moore points out that he and his friends were raised on the American Dream which promised that if you worked hard and the company you worked for prospered, you would prosper, too. Now, it seems GM's board of directors has changed the rules: you work hard, the company prospers- and you lose your job. Roger & Me shows that capitalism is not always consistent with this American Dream.

Roger & Me shows that GM's board of directors used company profits not to create new jobs, but to buy already existing assets, such as data processing companies (EDS) and weapons manufacturers (Hughes Aircraft) at inflated prices, and to automate their current assembly lines, and build new plants in Mexico and in Asia -- destroying jobs in the United States in the process. In Mexico, GM pays the worker...


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...t be done in work. This man is also upset because the point of unions is to increase the workers strength in bargaining with employers. The union clearly did not help in the case of the GM workers in Flint.

Roger & Me is a great documentary film. It captures a lot about our form of capitalism. Moore shows the problems that large capitalist companies make, in a way that appeals to a broad audience. Since it is a real story, it is not telling some story of how things could be or would be, but how things really are. Fred Ross must evict numerous people out of their homes daily so that he has a roof over his head and food for himself. While one half of Flint is receiving some kind of Government Welfare for being unemployed, Roger Smith is giving himself a $2 million raise. In a better world profit maximization would not be the goal of an economic system or a society.

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