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Michael Moore ignores capitalism's blessings

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The overwhelmingly positive reaction to this new worker-empowered management style led Fortune magazine to publish an annual list of the "100 Best Companies to Work For."

The Container Store earned a top spot on the list when reports rolled in of employees saying things such as, "[I]t's rare to find a company with the same values, philosophy, and foundation principles. Going to work is like going to a family reunion every day." Research shows that this enthusiasm is a cash cow: Members of the 100 Best routinely outperform their autocratic counterparts. Indeed, American automakers' refusal to adopt team-oriented practices is often cited as the reason they could not outsell their foreign competitors.

Given that American automakers needed a bailout, Moore's movie seems more like a documentary of capitalism's authoritarian losers, rather than its democratic winners.

Self-interest is not always selfish

Business is booming for companies like Tom's Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes to needy children for each pair purchased. Psychological studies reveal a symbiotic relationship between capitalism and charity: Donations to charity increase when matched with the purchase of "luxury" products.

For instance, consumers are more willing to splurge on a $5 cup of Fair-Trade Starbucks coffee, since they can rationalize the cost as a contribution to some third-world coffee bean grower.

Contrary to Moore's view of the free market, recent research confirms that consumers are willing to buy higher-priced organic, environmentally friendly, and socially conscious products. Wanting to feel good about one's own charitableness is certainly self-interested, but is not always selfish.

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