The Big One

The Big One is a documentary film by Michael Moore that was released to the public in 1998 as a follow-up to his 1989 film called Roger and Me. The film was produced during Moore’s tour around the U.S. in forty-seven towns to promote his book called Downsize This!

His visits made him to discover the unprofessional conducts of several American big businesses that they use as a means of cutting costs. The riveting and humorous movie also exposes the wrongs of some callous politicians in the United States. The main theme of the film centers on the economic conditions of our times.

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The movie exposes a familiar pattern as appertains to the global assembly line. Company after company, in spite of recording high proceeds, has resolved to go south near Mexico, or to other places around the world so as to pay minimal wages, provide minimum employee benefits, and prohibit the employees from joining trade unions.

Moore and his crew discovered that because several smaller towns are actually dependant on a small number of huge companies, the loss of any one of them brings overwhelming consequences on both the economic and social infrastructure of the town; consequently, the remaining companies use this situation to oppress the employees.

Following a series of successful and unsuccessful interviews in various companies across the U.S., the film brings it home once more by ending at Nike headquarters with an interview with the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Phil Knight. This is interesting because Knight was the only corporate executive who agreed to meet Moore face-to-face. Moore gets the CEO to confess casually that he has never gone to the company’s plants in Indonesia in which its corporate image has been ruined by employing under-age workers.

In Indonesia, workers, as young as fourteen yeas of age, are making the company’s most fashionable athletic shoes. Perhaps, Moore reveals that the unfavourable business practices of Nike make it to be the “biggest one.” Even though the meetings were tense, Moore conversations with Knight were good-natured, and they were one of the most riveting, successful feats Moore has ever pulled off.

The theory of development that best describes Michael Moore’s viewpoint in the movie is the Marxist theory. The Marxist theory tends to give a materialistic interpretation of the society by criticizing the notion of capitalism. The social theory, proposed by Karl Marx, posits that in a capitalist society, like the one in the United States, an economic minority tend to take over and oppress an economic minority.

Therefore, the system of capitalism is exploitative since the arrangement in which there are two opposing classes, the employers and the employees, the former tends to make huge profits by paying the latter meager wages. As pointed out in the earlier sections of the paper, Moore portrays various unfair practices by America’s big businesses to increase their profits. Perhaps he might not be aware of it, but this reveals the film’s director as a flaming Marxist.

On the other hand, other social theories, such as liberalism, which stress that individual liberty and equal rights are significant in the society, does not seem to represent the director’s viewpoint. Since liberals hold that the system of society ought to be the outcome of processes, this notion seems to justify the unfair practices of the corporations; therefore, this cannot fit with Mr. Moore’s ideologies.


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