People seem to be focusing on the individual grains of sand instead of looking at the entire beach. Occupy Wall Street has been an example of this and has been a target of much critique. Some say that the protesters’ debt and unemployment are their own fault; perhaps borrowing on student loans to gain ‘ridiculous’ degrees. There are those who claim the mortgage fiasco is the consequence of those living beyond their means.
I agree that there needs to be an element of personal responsibility in this discussion. There indeed are many people who chose to live a Gucci lifestyle on a Kmart budget. They thought only of the moment and did not consider their future. They purchased homes they could not afford and now their neighbors are paying a cost with decreased property values.
But that is looking at it in a very black and white perspective. There are many people who understand next to nothing about finance, interest rates and equity. It is beneficial to the 1% to keep the 99% as ignorant as possible. When parents are working three jobs to put food on the table, when schools are gutted repeatedly – people do not learn the fundamentals of economics and finance. It is almost like a different language to many.
We grow up in a society of consumption and with a false sense of needing that which is unnecessary. Once we are able to communicate we are bombarded with messages of BUY! AQUIRE! MORE! MORE! MORE! We have mile long buffets and disorders such as hoarding. It is never enough. Buy a smart phone and the new upgraded version emerges before you can enter your contacts. Save up for that lavish hand bag only to be told you are out of style once it’s on your arm. Dress your kid in Walmart shoes and watch them get ridiculed as they step onto the bus.
We are pushed into the idea that if we do not attend college, we are inferior and worthless. We are told over and over that without a college education, there will be no jobs. Instead of job training and skill testing, students are required to take classes which may never impact their lives in the least. There are many who wind up in college (if they’re lucky) with no direction and a pile of debt before they even hit the gate.
But not everyone belongs in college. I would even argue that a college degree is worth far less than we were once told. And what’s worse – typically, employers require a degree regardless of its bearing on the job. Simply having a piece of paper determines a person’s employability. So essentially, one has to buy (to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars) a right to have a decent earning position in our society.
So, as you can see – the Occupy movement and what motivates, propels and influences it is complicated. It’s messy. It’s amalgamated. I have said this before in regard to OWS: I don’t blame you for being confused. The 1% wants you to be.
I have not taken part in any of the OWS protests. But I support the movement based only on my own personal convictions.
I want a complete do over. Our tax system is sneaky and weird and unfair. Change it. Lobbyists have no place in our political and legal systems. Get rid of them. Campaign finance is nothing more than legal corruption and an obscene waste of money. I made my suggestion about this in an article a few months ago.
Fact is, we simply cannot trust our system. When there is no trust, there is no stability. And as it is now, we are on stilts and the wind is getting stronger.
This may not be the formal, official and announced motivation for the Occupy Wall Street Movement. But it is my motivation for supporting it. For what it’s worth – that is my grain of sand.
See the original article and reader comments HERE.