Dead Peasants Rest In Peace

Last night I settled down to watch Capitalism: A Love Story on More4, it seemed appropriate given all the Murdoch related news this week.  It ran from 10.00pm until 12.45am which was a little too late for me.  I ended up watching two-thirds before retiring to my bed before the end. I didn’t complete watching what was a good film for three reasons.  I was tired and it was late. I enjoyed the investigative journalism, but the outcome was inevitably depressing. Finally, I knew how it would end and probably that was the most depressing bit.

There was a sad episode which merits sharing.  Michael Moore highlighted how certain American businesses (high street names) take out secret life insurance policies on employees.  If the employee dies the American business benefits, but the next of kin and family of the deceased person see nothing of this payout. Invariably the first they know about these policies is upon the death of their loved one.

Apparently the most lucrative policies are those taken out on young women as this age group are least expected to die and consequently if they die the American business receives a particularly large payout. Michael Moore interviewed the bereaved inevitably tearful about their loss, yet unable to find peace when they subsequently learnt that businesses were profiting from their loss.  It certainly wasn’t capitalism’s finest hour, but the sad epitaph was the use of the ‘Dead Peasant’ label that the American capitalists used for these policies.