Roger & Me Summary and Response

Roger & Me Summary and Response

In Roger & Me, Michael Moore demonstrates the devastating effects of structural unemployment on the town of Flint, Michigan. Flint was birthplace and former home to General Motors before Roger Smith, CEO of GM, decided to save money by closing down the factories in Flint and opening new factories in Mexico, where labor was cheaper. Mr. Smith’s decision to close down these factories ultimately left roughly half of Flint’s population on government support. The majority of the population was unable to obtain new jobs in Flint because the factories had supported most of the economy. What few alternative jobs there were in Flint were already taken by laid-off factory workers. In addition, many former factory technicians were under qualified for other jobs. Those that could have gone elsewhere in search of work felt too much loyalty to the town to leave it. The effects of this mass unemployment on families and the city was a sub-standard quality of life and a rising crime rate. Moore chronicles some of the duties of Deputy Fred, who handles evictions. In one scene, Deputy Fred must evict a family on Christmas. In an attempt to climb out of economic melt-down, the city of Flint hires an agency which builds a luxury Hyatt, commercial center, and amusement park in order to attract tourists. All three of the facilities, built with the city’s money, close down because of lack of interest. All the while, GM has left Flint without any tools with which to climb out of its recession. Michael Moore maintains that GM had an obligation to the citizens of Flint to ensure that the former GM employees didn’t face poverty. Job retraining could have enabled ex-GMs to find alternative work. Extended severance pay would have helped factory workers maintain their way of life while they looked for work. Roger Smith also could have cut his losses and opened up new factories in Flint to keep people employed. However, none of these things …


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