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roman_mir's Journal: Review of The Campaign (the film) 2

Journal by roman_mir

Finally I got to watch a movie I heard of some time ago, it's called The Campaign with Will Ferrel, Zach Galifianakis, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Brian Cox and others. It has some memorable moments and it is definitely funny. Unfortunately the message that it is sending is horrendous, to explain what I mean by this I will have to give out many spoilers, so if you don't want to see any of that stop reading right here.

The movie is about a 4 term Democratic Congressman, Cam Brady (Ferrel), running for the 14th district in North Carolina, who is behaving like a clown mostly because he has no positions of his own and he is quite silly in real life. As he says (paraphrasing): America, Jesus, Freedom, I don't know why they like when I say it but they do and so I say it. He is such a clown though, that eventually it costs him his political capital and a powerful business interest, represented by "Motch Brothers" (Aykroyd, Lithgow) (an obvious jab towards the Koch brothers), who are interested in increasing efficiency of their production facility in China, and to do this they want to open factories in America and bring Chinese labour to those factories. The reason in the movie is that the Chinese work for 50 cents an hour and work in unsafe conditions. In order to achieve this, the Motch brothers went on buying large pieces of land in the 14th district and now they need their own Congressman to pass legislation that would abolish the minimum wage and the EPA rules, which would not normally allow operation of that type of a factory because of some form of pollution that it would produce. The factories in America would increase profits of the operation by cutting down shipping costs but they would be manned by the 'insourced' Chinese labour, not by American workers.

Normally the Motch brothers would just buy Cam Brady, but Brady is having political problems and so they came up with a simpleton Republican candidate, Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), son of Raymond Huggins (Cox) to run against Cam Brady. A number of hilarious scenes are then shown, with various comical situations where Huggins is running against Brady. However somewhere alone the line, Brady finds out about Motch brothers intentions and decides to go against them because he finds their actions immoral. The Motch brothers then turn the game around, approach Brady and eventually rig the elections and ensure that Brady wins. However after the elections, Brady talks to Huggins and changes his mind, declares that he is not a good Congressman but a good Politician and resigns, asking Brady to become the Congressman instead. At the end everybody is happy that the Motch brothers lost the money on their land deals and that the factories will not be opened in the 14th district.

Ok, so that's the story. If you are like most other people who watch this movie, you are led towards the conclusion that is imposed upon you by the makers of the film, you probably think that this is a great win for America (Jesus and Freedom), and the People, who are standing strong against the powerful evil, profiteering business interests and that the politicians, while misguided, are actually good guys and they are together with the people and they just need to be shown what is the right thing in order to do it.

There are a number of serious problems with this movie, starting with the fact that this is a great piece of pro-collectivist, pro-central planning, anti-competitive, anti-capitalist, anti-humanist, anti-Constitutional propaganda. Of-course there is an attempt to hide it behind the veil of being non-partisan, since it is the Democrat, who is shown to be the politician that is in the wrong (for the most of the movie) and it is a Republican candidate that is shown to be in the right (once he gets the situation), however what is actually shown is that the Republican candidate is not actually a Republican, or put more correctly, he is not actually a conservative candidate.

A conservative candidate should understand that bringing production facilities to America is a good development. This means brining investment capital into the country, allowing tools, machinery, supply chain, management to be established to produce the goods that people apparently want to buy. After all, the Motch brothers said they were making double profits by moving production to China already and they would make double profits on top of double profits by moving production facilities back to America as long as they could produce in the same conditions as they did in China. This means that the product (kids toys, dolls and such), are a well selling product in America, so Americans are happy to buy the cheaper product that is produced in China (there wouldn't be any doubling of the profits if the Americans didn't buy more of the product, and by moving production to China, the Motch brothers lowered their production costs, allowing them to lower the sale prices and thus capturing more of the market share).

A conservative candidate should understand that government regulations surrounding minimum wage and EPA laws are actually hurting the economy and preventing businesses from bringing in capital into the country, preventing new production facilities to start manufacturing again. In fact any number of insourced Chinese labourers would still be better for the Americans, if the product was manufactured within the borders, the cost of the final product would be lower, the pollution and energy expense due to shipping would be lower, the trade deficit would be lower (those goods don't have to be imported if they are produced domestically), the Chinese workers would be spending their earned salaries in USA, there are all the income taxes that would be paid, the 14th district would rebuild some of the supply chain links, there would be more jobs eventually surrounding the factories. If the operation proved successful, more factories could be open in USA eventually, and Americans would start working in them again, even though without the minimum wage and EPA laws, but they would have jobs that would further reduce economic dependency on the rest of the manufacturing world. Eventually the Americans would decrease the trade deficit and would start working out the debt problem, and as more of the capital would be saved, the factories could be made more and more efficient, but this nearly always means less and less polluting without any EPA rules, that's just how technology works. The minimum wage laws are a problem in America and the rest of the Western world, with tens of millions unemployed people it should be obvious that minimum wage and the welfare state is the wrong path for economic growth and prosperity.

Of-course there are other problems with the movie, as I mentioned already, the politicians are shown as almost noble people, who are truly there for the 'common good' and for 'the people' and anything that they do wrong only is a consequence of the greedy, evil business interest. The politicians are shown in a positive light and the business people are shown to be evil. However it were the business people that tried brining the capital and production back into USA and it were the politicians that stopped it in this movie. It were the Motch brothers that wanted to open the factories, nobody else did. The business people are shown to be immoral, evil, greasy profiteers, who do not think about anything else but themselves.

Of-course what is omitted is the fact that these very 'greedy, evil' businessmen brought the goods to the Americans, that the Americans were willing to buy voluntarily, without any forceful coercion. This is exactly what makes businessmen and profits a much more moral enterprise than any politician, because politicians are pushing laws on people that people would normally not want to comply with voluntarily and this is done through threat of government violence. Also while businessmen are thinking profits first of all, that does not change the reality that profits made out of voluntary exchange of products and services allow for actual economic growth, that is because obviously the consumption of the wealthy individuals is limited to some amount per year, but their investments are limited only by their ability to earn. And so by limiting wealthy people's ability to earn with laws, regulations, taxes, inflation, what is actually limited is not their consumption but their savings and thus their investments, which means production.

The point is that the makers of this movie rely on people's lack of understanding of all things: economics, politics, history. It is unfortunate that most people will likely simply follow the path that is laid before them by the producers, take the bait and leave having a stronger belief that the government is the actual answer to the economic and societal problems, while business and free market is the wrong approach. Of-course the reality is that it is only business within the context of competitive free market capitalism that allows growth of economic wealth and thus improving quality of life for everybody in the society.

In this case the 'trickle down' part of the economics was the cheap, abundant products created by the capitalists and the new investments available to the society via the savings and investments that come out of profits made on the sale of those products. The efficiencies that are gained by the Motch brothers, which allow them to make more profits by running factories closer to where the sale occurs, also allows bringing the price for the final product down, which allows the consumer to have more purchasing power, because he now has to spend less money buying that very product.

The politicians of-course are not fighting to get elected to stand for any real economic growth or the people, if they were, they would be on the side of all people, not just the majority, who wants to impose various confiscatory policies upon those, who are much more productive and thus have more earning power themselves. Quite the opposite is true, the politicians know very well that they can always pander to the public and use that as leverage to pass various legislation, that forces the businesses to shell out more money to those very politicians, so that the businesses could get around the legislation. Of-course this has many effects, first of all it fills the coffers of the politicians, but it also limits competition only to those companies, who get access to the political power. Coincidentally this reduces competition in the market and causes prices for the end consumers to rise, which reduces efficiency and steal purchasing power from the people, while simultaneously reducing the economic activity that would otherwise take place.

So this movie, while being hilarious in places, is extremely damaging if taken on its face value, but that is the most likely outcome for the most of the public that will end up watching this great piece of anti-capitalist, pro-collectivist and thus pro-government and anti-individual rights propaganda.

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Review of The Campaign (the film)

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  • by Bill Dog (726542)

    the factories could be made more and more efficient, but this nearly always means less and less polluting

    Good point. Pollution is a waste product. It's something from your processes that you have to discard, and having to throw things away is throwing away money. The ideal is processes so overall economically efficient that everything possible can be monetized.

    However, newer technology that's more efficient is typically more expensive, so it's really only under the conditions of healthy margins and stable r

  • Your JE reads like it came from an automatic complaint generator..

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