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Occupy Wall Street protests

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I thought this was worth mentioning, it's been going on a while now:

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/10/10/earlyshow/main20118005.shtml

 

The short version is a bunch of people nationally are protesting economic inequality and other miscellaneous grievances. In general, the top 20% of people in America control about 85% of the wealth. To look at another way, it's a protest on behalf of 99% of Americans over how much government influence the richest 1% has. If you earn less than $350,000 a year, you're in that 99%. I put this under the Civilization Problems section since I think this is a reflection of potentially major impending economic problems the USA is facing.

 

Personally I don't think much will come from these protests directly, though I'm cynical. I think our current political process is too deadlocked to accomplish much of anything significant. From the Democrat side, I don't think I've heard any proposals that sound like anything more than a band-aid to try and address financial inequality problems, from the Republican side, I'm not aware of any sort of proposals that would seek to address this. Anyway, it's good there is some kind of social awareness of this issue, though it doesn't seem especially guided. In its current state, I think the most that will come from this is to skew voting results some for 2012. If they start burning buildings, maybe we'll see something change though.

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Maybe I've done the math wrong, but as of May 2011, there are 8.4 million million-dollar households in the US. And 118 million households.

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/05/chart-of-the-day-9-of-americans-are-millionaires-in-2011/238458/

 

That's a lot closer to 10% than to 1%, to me.

 

EDIT: On the other hand, that's assets, not income, and a lot of those kinds of millionaires became millionaires because they're hyper-frugal (which is how my grandmother - a schoolteacher married to a coal miner/farmer - managed to leave behind a 6-figure inheritance to her two daughters.)

 

That said, there is absolutely no doubt that there is too much influence of money from all large organizations (from corporations to NGOs to unions) in government. I just don't see anyone being willing to come up with a solution that removes ALL influences. This is still too much about POWER for both political parties, and each side still only wants to strengthen their own big donors while weakening the other guy's.

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What are your guys' opinions of this?

 

If you don't know what it is, here is a link.

http://occupywallst.org/

 

I'm glad this is happening. It's about time someone stood up for this crap. I would be there too, but sadly, I am nothing but a school boy and my parents aren't going to let me go anywhere nearby (Closest to me is Occupy Oklahoma City).

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There is already a thread about this in the Civilization Problems Section.

Edited by Guest

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Maybe I've done the math wrong, but as of May 2011, there are 8.4 million million-dollar households in the US. And 118 million households.

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/05/chart-of-the-day-9-of-americans-are-millionaires-in-2011/238458/

This guy is screwing up his facts and/or math somewhere. First off, I saw this comment from that same page:

 

"This is stupid and poorly thought out. First you include the caveat that this is about households. Then you use spurious statistics like 1 in 10 americans are millionaires when you just said it was about HOUSEHOLDS.

 

Since there are 300 million people and you said there are 100 million households, the real statistic is 1 in THIRTY people."

 

So that means his math is flat out incorrect, regardless of the real data. As for that number, I think it's still inflated. I found this on wikipedia, this pretty much lays it out:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States

 

In 2005 that showed about 1.5% of people earning over 250k. That is just income however. Still, the thought of 1 in 10 people being a millionaire feels like a fantasy. The article doesn't specify how he quantifies being a millionaire. I think income combined with all assets you would STILL have trouble getting those numbers. Maybe if you combined the entire payout value of retirement pensions you MIGHT get those numbers. Afterall, if you work a 33k job for 30 years, that's about a million dollars.

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What's going to happen is really interesting! According to reports of The Street, Occupy Wall Street is zeroing in on a unifying theme. And in an effort to send a message to big banks, some protestors, who seem to be associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement, have organized an event to remove all funds from banks and into credit unions. Protestors are calling the event "Bank Transfer Day" and are encouraging people nationwide to participate on November 5 (Occupy Wall Street introduces Bank Transfer Day). I would like to see what would happen if the majority of Americans took their money out at the same time.

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I believe the whole obsession with banks is nothing but a modern witch hunt.

 

Banks did not cause the crisis, which happened because governments throughout the world decided to disregard economic realities and went on a spending spree, pushing the banks to do the same. Like a drinking binge it all felt good until the morning after...

 

Now, those very governments basically made the deal with banks - "we will use you as scapegoats, deflecting the blame, and you will just keep quiet but for that we will recapitalise you out of public funds".

 

A great deal of responsibility also lies with the public who borrowed without thinking or even knowing that they will be unable to ever repay these loans.

 

And, of course, there is a wider issue of where is value creation in Western economies, which could realistically generate growth, coming from? We don't do things anymore. We will soon stop designing them. We have to buy resources and fuel from others. Financial services are only good when you have finances.

 

So, these protesters are like moths knocking their heads on a light bulb to me... Found a false target for their anger...

 

Regards

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Personally, I think everyone's to blame. There's plenty of it to spread around.

 

I was talking to an OWS supporter online the other day, and we came around to the fact that he doesn't have a job because he chose a career in which there are something like 5 job openings in the United States in any given year... and maybe 1-2 in a decade in his particular metropolitan area.

 

So I asked him why he didn't try doing something else, and his response was "Why, as an American, should I do anything other than what I want to do?"

 

For a lot of people, I think THAT attitude lies at the heart of everything.

 

Nobody seems to think that they should have a backup plan, anymore. Nobody seems to want to have a "way to get by until I get back on my feet if I unexpectedly lose my preferred job." Nobody's willing to do "the jobs Americans don't want to do." even if that's what it takes to survive.

 

(Except the Mexicans. Go Mexicans! OWS has done more to change my mind about illegal immigration than anything else. At least the illegals have a work ethic.)

 

Well, that's not the way the world works. Crap happens, and you'd better be willing to do what it takes. My ancestors crossed an ocean to find a freer life. My great-grandfather worked in a coal mine so he could pay my grandfather's way through trade school, so he could work in the mill. My grandfather worked in the mill so he could help my father pay for college. My father worked his way through college so he could become a teacher, and make enough money so that I WOULDN'T have to work my way through college.

 

(I'm not having kids, so I can relax. But if I'd screwed that up, it'd be all on ME.)

 

That's how the American Dream works. It's not "a better life for me, IMMEDIATELY!" It's "a chance at a better life for my kids."

 

Some people screw up. They decide that it's easier to get high, or drunk, or gamble, or become parents WAY too soon, or just goof off, or that they don't need to worry because they're athletically gifted, or they make some other crummy choices, and they don't have a backup plan. (I know a guy from high-school who will probably spend the rest of his life pumping gas, because he thought he didn't need to study because he was a badass football player. But he wasn't. Our team lost 2 out of every 3 games. He just thought he was. Those people are usually wrong.)

 

Other hard-working people get screwed, through no fault of their own. And those people deserve all the help they can get. But the thing is, I don't think they're the ones protesting. I think they're too busy trying to do whatever it takes. They're the ones pawning their TVs and laptops and eating ramen so they can take a non-credit college course that will improve their job marketability, not blogging about it. (The college campus I work on offers those. We're almost entirely serving working or job-hunting students.)

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Maybe the protest will do something about it. I don't think a big riot will solve anything though, that would just make it worse.

The economy is already bad though so the richest people should be down here with all of us helping us fix it. As in we should all have the same amount of money

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I think as long as the United States of America has political problems they will ignore their internal problems...

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merged a duplicate topic with this one, the 3rd and 4th posts are from the merged topic.

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maybe the 1% should all pack up and take their wealth to another country, that will show em. The 99%s don't want them here anyway, let's see how long all these social programs last when there aren't anymore rich people to tax. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

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Vapymid: This basically reflects my own attitude on this. There's not a sole group responsible for this situation, nor is there one clear solution. I think the most fundamental problem of this is the influence of corporate lobbying in modern government, but I also think it's more complicated than that.

 

Doom Shepard: I don't think people with their heads in the clouds is an especially new trend. In fact, I believe Generation X was characterized by having unrealistic expectations for their careers and had a lot of difficulty obtaining jobs. I don't think that's at the core of what's happening here. Our current wealth distribution is similar to what existed under Feudalism. As for who is to blame for this, this is my general thought process on that:

 

1. Well Wall Street and corporate America has gouged our economic livelihood and profiteering at the expense of 99% of the populace, except

 

2. That's what business people DO, most successful businesses today operate on greed to some extent, this is expected. If you fuck people over, but maximize profit, that just means you're a good businessman. That's why we have government and laws to try and stop the most egregious practices and try and restore some balance to society, except

 

3. You can make the argument that much of our current government is halfway run by corporate interests and lobbyists now, except

 

4. The representatives got voted in there somehow, by us as a people, so that would be our fault except

 

5. Politics are such a mess now, you don't really have great candidates, even less so in a two party system. For me personally, I feel like neither party is capable of handling the changes I think government needs for the future until after-the-fact. Hell, my ideal governing system that could handle the problems I think we're likely to face in the next decade are closer to something out of science-fiction. So that's not a realistic alternative unless

 

6. Things get so out of control that the only avenue left IS radical action, but who really wants to go that route unless you have nothing to lose? Besides, I think the individual is practically helpless to bringing about a meaningful change, it has to be on a massive group scale. Except:

 

7. In its current state, these protests aren't scaring nearly enough powerful people to have a long-lasting impact in my opinion. This whole thing is a mess.

 

So I guess you could say we're all to blame, but not because of work ethic. Whether you work hard at a job or not doesn't really impact any of this on a macro-level. I'm also unsure what or if there is a practical solution to this, but the protests are definitely an interesting reflection of the current state of society.

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Well, the good thing is you are having a protest.

Some countries can't even do that.

Now if you just try hard enough to tell your government that you run the country and not them and that they are supposed to listen to you they might reform.

 

I just get the general sense of what is happening there, in reality I don't exactly understand what the protesters are trying to accomplish. To transfer money from the rich to the poor? To put more tax on the rich?

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What's funny is that no one can actually say with certainty what the protest is about. I've seen lots of posts on the subject--some say that they're protesting corporations taking advantage of workers, some say they're protesting the corporations buying out the government, some say they're protesting the lack of regulation, some say they're protesting corporate greed, others say they don't like the tax breaks on the big corporations.

 

What's clear though is that they're clearly anti-capitalist in some way, but it's hard to say what form of statism they're for.

 

In short, I'm opposed to the protest--or rather, opposed to what I can understand what the protest is about. The "separation of state and economics" is a cause I can get behind if that's truly their cause, but if it is: why are they occupying Wall Street and not Capitol Hill?

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What's funny is that no one can actually say with certainty what the protest is about. I've seen lots of posts on the subject--some say that they're protesting corporations taking advantage of workers, some say they're protesting the corporations buying out the government, some say they're protesting the lack of regulation, some say they're protesting corporate greed, others say they don't like the tax breaks on the big corporations.

 

What's clear though is that they're clearly anti-capitalist in some way, but it's hard to say what form of statism they're for.

 

In short, I'm opposed to the protest--or rather, opposed to what I can understand what the protest is about. The "separation of state and economics" is a cause I can get behind if that's truly their cause, but if it is: why are they occupying Wall Street and not Capitol Hill?

TMW2011-10-12colorlowres.jpg

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Funny picture!

 

But seriously: what does "economic injustice" mean? Does it mean "it's an injustice that other people are making more than us" or "it's an injustice that corporations get baliouts" or even "it's an injustice that the corporations aren't paying higher taxes?"

 

But if we're sharing pictures, here's a picture of an actual Wall Street protestor.

 

article-0-0DFC321800000578-526_634x954.jpg

 

I rest my case.

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