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‘Capitalism’ the movie calls for consumer action

Having missed the opportunity to see Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” when it briefly played at local movie theaters, I was pleased to see it’s being shown at our local alternative theater.

As a consumer specialist who’s written about consumer issues for three decades, I think the movie has a lot to offer.

When I studied consumer economics at Washington State University and The Evergreen State College, the role of the consumer in the economy was emphasized. Consumers have power in the economic system and a role to play that’s as important as the roles of business and the government.

However, consumers don’t often use their power. Instead, they identify with the producer interests of the companies they work for. Consumers don’t join groups and work for their economic interests. They’re influenced by advertising and capitalistic rhetoric.

While “Capitalism” did a good job of reporting on the abuses of the capitalistic system, especially what went wrong to create the Great Recession, it was outstanding in its call to consumer action.

We need to create new systems that help working people, the people on Main Street not Wall Street.

Look for groups that are working in your community on issues such as affordable housing, health care, the environment, economic justice, and simple living.

To find a Public Interest Research Group in your state, see the Web site of U.S.PIRG.

National groups that are worth working with are: Public Citizen, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and the Environmental Working Group.

We can improve the economic situation of consumers in this country. But we need to get back the power that has been usurped by corporate interests.

Copyright 2009, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


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