Michael Moore didn't believe his work benefitted from capitalism – but then explained exactly how capitalism spurred his success. In an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan on Monday, the liberal filmmaker questioned the notion that his work benefits from capitalism.
"In a way that is capitalism. I mean you've got a business," Morgan told him. "Is it really?" Moore answered. He then inadvertently defended the free market.
"The only reason I do well is because so many millions want to go see my movies. If they didn't like the movies, they wouldn't see them and I probably wouldn't be sitting here. So there you go," Moore insisted.
The situation is an example of the free market. The customer gets to choose whether or not he will pay to see Moore's product. He enjoys the films, and pays to see more of them. Because of the free market, Moore benefits from these paying customers.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on September 27 at 9:11 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
PIERS MORGAN: Tell me about capitalism, though.
MICHAEL MOORE, filmmaker: Yes.
MORGAN: Is capitalism in itself wrong? And the reason I ask you that, you're a very, very successful, very rich filmmaker, apart from everything else you do. In a way that is capitalism. I mean you've got a business.
MOORE: Is it really?
MORGAN: You've got a company. Well – isn't it in its purest sense? Isn't it?
MOORE: Well, Piers, there's nothing pure about capitalism.
MORGAN: Is there not, though?
MOORE: It's not capitalism.
MORGAN: What is it?
MOORE: First of all, I do well. For a documentary filmmaker, I do really well. I'm very blessed and fortunate that people want to go see my movies. The only reason I do well is because so many millions want to go see my movies. If they didn't like the movies, they wouldn't see them and I probably wouldn't be sitting here. So there you go.
MORGAN: Is there a good form of capitalism?
MOORE: Well –
MORGAN: Has it simply been corrupted?
MOORE: It's like saying – you know – when you say the word capitalism, you have to talk about it in its current sense. You can't talk about the old days or the way maybe, you know, the Adam Smith, the sort of old capitalism.
MORGAN: Wasn't America fundamentally built on a form of capitalist dream? I mean the idea that you can come from nowhere –
MOORE: The idea that if you work hard –
MORGAN: You succeed – yeah. All those things.
MOORE: And then everybody else prospered. And not only that, as you prospered the wealth was shared with your employees, with the government, everybody had a piece of the pie. You who started the business or invented the light bulb or whatever, you got a bigger piece of the pie. And you know what? Nobody cared, because you invented the light bulb. That was a pretty cool thing.