I watched Michael Moore's latest hit piece earlier this week, the (supposedly) incendiary "Capitalism: A Love Story." Moore came to the conclusion that capitalism is an inherently evil system that robs from the poor, gives to the rich and brainwashes the masses to accept an unfair distribution of wealth based on an untenable chance that they to might someday be amongst the wealthiest 1%. Pretty heavy stuff there. As someone who writes for a financial publication, I was taken aback by Moore's thesis. Capitalism, evil? Could this be true? Is socialism the way? Should it be from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs? Workers of the world, before you unite, think on this. Moore's central thesis is wrong. Not exaggerated, not only slightly true. Flat out wrong. Capitalism is not evil. The reason why it sometimes comes across that way is because when done properly, it can be harsh and unforgiving to those who make mistakes. And yes, many capitalists are evil. But the majority of people involved in the trading of goods and services are not monsters. They're people like you and me. In fact, they are you and me. Now, far be it for me to defend all the bankers responsible for the recent economic meltdown. They had crumby lending policies, and if there was an justice, they would have to live with the consequences of their actions. Too big to fail was just a campaigning slogan used by the federal government to get us to overlook on of the basic fundamentals of capitalism: that there is negative price to pay for bad investment decisions. However, despite the will of the American people, which told their Congressional representatives that they opposed the bailout, the federal government went ahead with the plan anyway. All this is true, and it's a black stain on our political system. But equally as true, just not mentioned in the same detail or with the same degree of vitriol as the banks' actions, was that a lot of Americans took on loans that they could not keep up with because they fell in for fast-talking lenders, or refinanced their houses to go out and buy big-screen TVs, another car or lots of other junk they didn't need, or just flat out got in over their heads with credit card debt during the free-wheeling 2000s. It's not popular to point fingers at the little man and say they made dumb choices. It doesn't get you awards to expose people being evicted from their homes as having made terrible financial decisions. The little guy is somehow always right and never responsible for their own actions. But, even now, as we deal with the aftermath of a $700-billion corporate bailout and a potential foreclosure freeze, what have we learned from this fiasco? Apparently, nothing. Speaking with a co-worker, who has a background in real estate, has been revealing. He says that in a properly run economic systems, everyone who made bad financial decisions would be forced to eat their losses. Individuals who took out subprime loans would lose the houses they never would have been able to afford to begin with, and the lenders who based a big chunk of their business on offering such loans would likewise have to deal with their stock value dwindling, or going bankrupt. Goldman Sachs does not have a divine right to exist. We human beings have lived on this planet for millenia without the existence of Washington Mutual, somehow we will continue to exists as a species without it. But because we bailed out the banks and put a stop on foreclosures, we did not allow capitalism to act properly. We put our foot down because don't like it when there's negative consequences to our actions. To some of us, that's the reason why government exists: to protect us from ourselves. We can't be trusted to be held accountable for our behavior, and we need a wizard to wave a magic wand and erase our mistakes. Drizzle, drazzle, druzzle, drome, I won't be evicted from my home! Sorry, but you're not Tooter Turtle, and the government isn't Mr. Wizard the Lizard. What does Moore offer in place of capitalism? Well, he offers democracy, which is not only ridiculous for the fact that democracy is not a financial system (with that logic, let's replace our Nintendo Wiis with love!) but really because its based on the assumption that everyone deserves to make the same amount of money, regardless of their labor. The problem that Moore, and a lot of like-minded individuals when it comes to economics, is they assume the best of mankind. At least when it comes to the commoners. People at the top of the financial chain are of course evil, lecherous fiends who dine on kittens and wipe their noses with puppy carcasses. They think that if given an even playing field (ie, a redistribution of wealth) , everyone will naturally assume an equal amount of responsibility and work for the common good. You know, the "Star Trek" scenario. Except there's a reason why we list "Star Trek" in the science fiction section: that's just not going to happen. Lots of people are lazy. Lots of people are irresponsible. Lots of people want to skate through life doing as little as possible. Lots of people want others to do their work for them. Lots of people don't want to work at all. Giving lots of money to people who haven't earned it and don't know how to behave in a rational financial sense is essentially the same as putting a five year-old behind the wheel of a car and telling him to go nuts. In other words, you have a recipe for disaster. The unfairness of this is that in our society, we allow people at the top of the economic and political systems to make bad decisions and get away with it. That's unfair, and I'm all for reforming that. But if the problem with capitalism is that it keeps some people behind while allowing some people to have too much power, the problem with socialism is that it never allows anyone to get ahead. Basically, you have the whole system being reduced to the lowest common denominator, and then calling it equality. Which is really where Moore's thesis is taking us.