Roger And Me is a documentary that carries a considerable economic significance by presenting a modern version of capitalism, and by depicting an interesting example of Gunnar Myrdal’s theory of the circular and cumulative causation. Flint, the hometown of the filmmaker Michael Moore, has been built around the factories of one of the largest auto corporations in the world – General Motors. For decades on end the company has been prosperous, making high profits and keeping its workers loyal and content with their jobs and payment. Everyone in Moore’s family has worked for General Motors; the Flint residents have become not only economically but also spiritually and culturally connected with and influenced by the company – a fact that additionally explains the devastating effect of the closure of the eleven GM factories. That is where and when the tragedy begins, that is the push that sets Myrdal’s dynamics cycle in motion. General Motors close 11 of their factories in Flint, Michigan, laying off more than 30 000 workers. For people involved in capitalist economic processes that presents a disaster, since except for GM “there’s nothing out there [workers] can depend on”, says one of them – people are suddenly left with no employer to sell their labor to.
The decision of GM to close down the factories is met with frustration and lack of understanding on the part of the workers, since the company is not closing down factories because of economic or financial difficulties, but because they want to realize more and more profits than they already have (and they have realized record high profits already - $5 billion in 1989). One way to satisfy the greed for higher profits is to set up production in Mexico, where GM wou...
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...c processes taking place in Flint.
Therefore, tourism is not, as it appears at first, the way out of the crises and out of Myrdal’s cycle. Unemployment, poverty, desolate houses, crimes, even more poverty… - the circle remains closed. To a great extent, it is kept closed due to the polarization between the managers and the workers, due to the inequality gap that remains between the better and the worse off. The wealth and the greed have modified the minds of managers and directors; the lack of money has had a similar effect on the unemployed and the poor. Somewhere in this interaction between economic and cultural influences one may seek the explanation and the reason why “rich get richer, poor get poorer” – the closing line of Moore, which very clearly implies Myrdal’s theory and its perfect application with respect to the economic processes in Flint, Michigan.
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