Two Questions for Those Who Wish to “Occupy Wall Street”

Day 14 Occupy Wall Street by David Shankbone. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0

Occupy Wall Street is scheduled to “sweep” through my city today. Yes, my blog is wading into the seas of current events for a moment. If you’re here to find out about writing and literature, ignore this post.

First of all, some questions for the protesters of Occupy Wall Street:

1.) Do you expect the government to solve all your problems? ‘Cuz they can’t.

Bad times and recessions do come, and there’s only so much a government can do about this. They’re not some magic fairy up there, waving their wands and granting “jobs for all.” If there ain’t no jobs, they can put policies into place to create more jobs, but you’re not going to get employed overnight. Not to mention, the government is not exactly swimming in a sea of cash right now.

To be even more cynical, even if they could, they wouldn’t. The influence of money is not going to disappear because the common people protest, especially if the government is strapped for cash. Like I said, I’m being cynical here – this is not a good thing.

2.) What kind of problems are we complaining about?

There’s people in this world who are far too busy surviving to go out and protest on Wall Street. They’re the ones making our shoes, our t-shirts, our cellphones, and living on a dollar a day, while we whine about not being able to afford university education. No, really, I’m not trying to minimize how miserable it is to be in debt or unemployed – but do you realize how much we already have to be able to complain about this kind of stuff? We’re in the richest 15% of the world, we shouldn’t forget that. If we raise our standard of living, are we willing to do that for everyone – for those who are below us economically – if it means we pay more for our laptops/coffee/chocolate?

Hey, I’m likely to be one of those university graduates without a job in a year or so, so I don’t mean to pretend our life is peachy. But while corporations exploit us, we’re perfectly willing to live off exploiting others as well, and we don’t like to think about that. That’s the way this miserable world works. 🙂

 

 


Don’t get me wrong, I’m right with Occupy Wall Street on cutting down on corporate greed and injustice. I’d march right beside them to get rid of corruption in our governments. After all, we all should know by now that paying a CEO billions of dollars does not guarantee results (much like paying a hockey player a truckload of dollars to play for your team does not guarantee he’ll have a good year with your team.) And no one should be able to lead the government around by the nose just because they’re able to afford three mansions and a Ferrari.

We all just need some perspective on this. First of all, what exactly do we think is a solution? Second of all, are we just being self-centered North Americans blind to the good we do have (relative safety and security with no pressing wars, and a certain amount of social security in place)? If we’ve got some good answers to that, then by all means, go full speed ahead. Have a plan, have perspective, and demand change to right the wrongs.

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6 Comments

Filed under Randoms & My Life

6 responses to “Two Questions for Those Who Wish to “Occupy Wall Street”

  1. Totally agree with what you said! I think that most of the people in that crowd probably don’t even know what it is that they are protesting.

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    • The thing with ‘Occupy Wall Street’ is there is no central idea it is promoting or protesting, so some are there because they’re unemployed, some are there to protest corruption, and some are probably there because they just like to protest. We’ll see what it ends up looking like 🙂

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  2. Alexia

    It’s just so weird, we have that too ! But it’s not called “Occupy Wall Street”. It’s called “Les Indignés” but I’m not sure I can translate it… It’s a word that comes from the verb “to be indignant” but apply to a person. You’re “indigné” like you’d say you’re angry. I think it comes from a book a 93 year old man wrote not long ago (I call it a book, but 18 pages is no Victor Hugo…) that was called “Indignez-vous”… “Be indignant”, if you will. Anyways, I haven’t paid it much attention, and I don’t think anyone has. Is this a big thing in North America ?

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    • It’s a big thing in the States, but not in Canada (at least, not yet). It’s supposed to be spreading worldwide, so I guess it’s now in France too!

      I find it interesting how words can be similar in different languages, but with just a slightly different meaning in one language than another. Unless you know a language well, you don’t always grasp the full meaning of every word.

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  3. Aunty Jeannette

    Hello! Rather than bore you with a long lecture on the current economic state of most the developed world (especially the United States), I think it better that I refer you and readers of your blog to a small list of readings to educate yourselves on this very complex issue.

    Books
    Hacker, J. S., Pierson P. (2010). Winner-Take-All-Politics. (available at the public library)
    Taibbi, M. (2011). Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America. (available at the public library)
    McQuaig, L., Brooks, N. (2010). The Trouble with Billionaires.
    Articles
    Krugman, P. (Oct. 9, 2011). “Panic of the Plutocrats.” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/opinion/panic-of-the-plutocrats.html
    Taibbi, M. (Oct. 12, 2011). “My Advice to the Occupy Wall Street Protesters.” RollingStone. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/my-advice-to-the-occupy-wall-street-protesters-20111012
    ———- (Aug. 17, 2011). “Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes?” RollingStone. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/is-the-sec-covering-up-wall-street-crimes-20110817
    ¬¬———- (Feb. 16, 2011). “Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail? Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them.” RollingStone. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-isnt-wall-street-in-jail-20110216

    While I do not feel compelled to join these protesters, I am sympathetic to their concerns. I also find it curious that they have not received the rather positive reaction that the Tea-Partiers received. Both are upset at the behaviour of Wall Street (especially the major role they played in causing the current recession/depression) and the excessive bailouts at taxpayer expense. The only real difference is that the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters are demanding a more equitable distribution of the wealth of the nation while the Tea-Partiers were just mad.

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    • That’s interesting that you should say that, because I’ve only ever heard of the Tea-Partiers in a negative light (crazy people in revolutionary war costumes…).

      I understand one of the stated aims of the Occupy Wall Street movement is to take-down corporate greed and corruption, which I would never disagree with. But the whole thing is so nebulous it’s hard to pin it down exactly what their goals are. Demands for government laws tightening up the loopholes for big business are reasonable, but some demands aren’t.
      I’d still argue even with the corruption we have, we don’t know how well off we are. This does not excuse what corporations are doing, however – it’s just perspective.

      Thanks for the reading list 🙂

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