“Roger and me” is an eye-opening stance of dark part of Capitalism. Michael Moore’s documentary is a courageous attempt to unfold the damages, caused by Capitalistic mentality of the time – laying off 30,000 auto workers in an American city, Flint for the sheer purpose of profit. Moore’s presentation unfold the pathos of a society, suffers through the years of loss and sorrow. He showed how the “American dream” shattered. Moore, an Irish American Catholic, son of a middle class G. M. employee, observed the thousands of layoffs in Flint and the aftermath of the greed of General Motors, move from Flint to Mexico for cheap labour.
He interviewed some auto workers as disguised TV journalist and found their intense revolt against GM chairman, Roger B. Smith. Moore attempted to confront him, but he failed to see him personally, nevertheless, he kept trying to get a chance to meet him. He interviewed an autoworker, who suffered nervous breakdown due to getting laid off, living in mental health facility. He showed in the movie all failed attempts of economically stabilize the city, such as, Flint convention and visiting bureau; Hyat Regency Hotel; Auto World; and Water Street Pavilion.
US President Ronald Reagan, an Evangelist, Robert Schuler, Pat Boone, Bob,E. He attended GM Shareholder’s convention, but shut him off by Smith, the general manager and also being ridiculed by Smith’s board members. He met as well some female residents of Flint. A radio host joined Amway, as a sales woman and another resident, Rhonda Briton started selling rabbits. He showed the loss and sorrow of the residents, who got eviction notices from their Municipalities, i. e. immediate eviction during Christmas Eve.
Moore shows in his documentary film the apathy and coldness of the riches and the devastation and anguish for the poors. He exemplified a resident, who lost her job from GM plants, started raising rabbits for income and what Roger Smith did to the people of Flint, sums up the relationship between the employer and their employees. The rabbit woman states she raises the rabbits to the age of four months and then kills them; that way, they are nice and tender. At one point in the interview, she is holding a rabbit, caressing it ever so softly and then states indirectly that this one will be her dinner.
She proceeds to kill, skin, and gut the rabbit in front of the camera. This leaves a haunting visual image in the mind of the viewer, showing that there is no difference from what GM has done to Flint and what she does to rabbits. What employers cannot understand is that human beings are not like rabbits and should not be treated as such. General Motors chairman Roger B. Smith announced the closure of Flint Auto plants and to shift to Mexico for cheaper labor. GM’s board of directors, led by Roger Smith, decided to move to Mexico to reduce the wage and benefit expense of GM.
Showing this; it was obvious that lots of Americans are socially brain-washed into believing that global competition and corporate downsizing is good for America. During one part of the film, as a majority of GM employees are cheering as the last truck rolls off the assembly line, a male GM employee comments, “Why are they cheering? They’ve just lost their jobs”. Moore shows his disgust and help public to see the real picture of the hidden intent. GM tried to justify its move through ad Propaganda to get support of general public.
That’s why a part of public was cheering of GM move; it was a same story in the neighboring country, Canada. A majority Government passed the bill of free trade with US and later with Mexico, which called NAFTA. To change public opinion about the ferocious act of Free Trade, the Government justified it with statistical data of increasing trade (Policy and Partisanship). Hundreds and thousands of big companies left Canada and set up in states or Mexico. It was big economic fiasco in those years. The Government imposed GST to recover the losses because of NAFTA.
Unemployment rate in Most of the provinces increased to the alarming level. In Flint, a city of auto plants faced major economic and social upheavals. Due to this shift by GM to Mexico, thirty thousand workers got unemployed. It caused Flint’s crime rate skyrockets, with use of weapons and murders. Crime becomes so common that when a TV channel tries to do a live story on the plant closings, someone steals the network’s van (along with the cables), abruptly stopping the broadcast. Living in Flint becomes so desperate that it is commonly called Flint as the worst place to live in America.
In terms of jobs within a country, supreme executive authority gets a mandate from the citizens of the state, not from the corporations. Corporations, especially Corporate America, have usually nothing to do with the livelihood of the work force to gain economic power. It is much more interested in the stockholder’s profit margin. Why do we allow corporations to replace our liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the individual in favor of the stockholder? How can the employees even know what their rights are, if they are working in excess of 50 hours a week?
Isn’t it about time we start changing the basic structure of corporate America? We may restrict US corporations to own or lease, stock or property in foreign countries and to keep foreign corporations from manipulating the US economy. Any foreign corporation must not to be allowed to own or lease, stock or property in America. This way we could reverse the trend of outsourcing jobs to the cheapest third world country, force corporations to start manufacturing products within their own nation, and stop corporations from dictating policy in their own country and other nations.
Moore shows in his movie how riches get richer and poor get poorer. This is a sad depiction of Corporate America. This closure of GM auto factories cost hundreds and thousands job-loss; lack of funds at Municipal level to use for welfare of the residents; and run the city’s general works. Despite of GM decision-making of its move to Mexico, Chrysler, Chief, Iacocca, borrowed money from US Government to regain his dying company. He would have a choice to leave US and find cheaper labor in Mexico, but he introduced two affordable cars for general public.
Chrysler did a great business and paid off all loans and gain lots of profit. It created jobs and circulate money within US. On the other hand, greedy, GM chairman, Smith, moved out to Mexico to have cheaper labor in cost of socio-economic fiasco in Flint, Michigan. The city has not enough funds to spend on garbage removal. The city health department holds a press conference and announces that the rat population in Flint has surpassed the human census. The department blames it on the fact that the city can only afford to pick up the garbage twice a month and offers a bounty for every dead rat brought in by a city resident.
Eventually, Moore approached Smith and confronted to ask him to visit Flint and could see the devastation by himself. He mentioned how the residents of Flint, who couldn’t pay their rent, were evicted from their houses. Moore failed to convince, GM Chairman, Smith to bring him in Flint. He proclaimed that “as we neared the end of the 20th century”, as the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, and “it was truly the dawn of a new era. ” At the end film displays the message “This film cannot be shown within the city of Flint”, followed by “All the movie theatres have closed.
” It was a bold attempt to give an eye-opening message to the country’s law makers the system needs to be overhauled and revise the boundaries and limitations of corporate America. Citation • Christopher Waddell, “Policy and Partisanship on the Campaign Trail: How Mulroney Works His Magic Twice”, ch. 1 of R. B. Blake, Transforming The Nation: Canada and Brian Mulroney (2007) at p. 22 • E-Notes Encyclopedia of Business, “U. S. -Canada Free Trade Agreement of 1989”