Introduction: Purpose of the Film
This documentary is written, directed and produced by Michael Moore and is about the social repercussions of capitalism as well as corporate and government issues that conflict with the basic needs of people and their families. Moore takes a liberal humanistic look at the consequences of General Motors closing down several auto plants in Flint, Michigan in the late 1980's and what can happen when a city is almost completely reliant on a single industry that shuts down or moves away. Moore also looks at the failure of Flint city officials to reverse the effects of the closures with trends like Auto World which had little effect (Moore, 1989).
After the closures of the auto plants in Flint, the unemployment and underemployment rates increased to approximately 50% which was unprecedented in United States history. As a result of this, sociological issues such as homelessness, drug abuse, crime rates and poverty rates have all increased dramatically leaving the city of Flint in economic and social shambles.
Instead of Flint being recognized as the auto making capital of the world, it is now distinctly known as the worst place to live in America.
Sociological Theory: A Marxist Perspective
The main sociological theory that is evident in this film is that of Karl Marx and the Conflict Theory. Flint can be seen as a stage in which the bourgeoisie and the proletariat battled for power. The bourgeoisie owners of General Motors exploited the proletariat workers and took what they needed for 80 years to serve their bottom line which was profits and power.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) sit down strike of 1937 was reminiscent of what Karl Marx would have called the inevitable revolution against the bourgeoisie against the oppression of the working class auto manufacturers.