Saturday, September 15, 2012

Here They Come -- Again

Joanna Slater writes in today's Globe and Mail that, if you thought the Occupy Movement was dead, you should hold that thought:

After months of internal wrangling and low morale, the campaign is staging a return to the spotlight. Sept. 17 is the first anniversary of the movement that took over a slice of downtown Manhattan for two months, spawned offshoots in cities from Toronto to Hong Kong, and coined its own slogan to direct attention to inequality: “We are the 99 per cent."

Occupy has been resurrected because inequality has not gone away. In fact, it's gotten worse:

Earlier this week, the U.S. census released data showing that median household income in the country, adjusted for inflation, fell in 2011, while a measure of income inequality increased.

The banks which were deemed too big to fail have gotten bigger. And they are still gambling with other people's money.

Politicians may tout the number of jobs which have been created -- at lower salaries than the ones that were lost. But the simple truth is that, for the 99%, things have not gotten better. And, until things do get better, the streets and parks will be occupied.


Anonymous said...

You say that the streets and parks will be occupied until there's a more fair distribution of wealth. I'd like to believe that as much as any man. But experience tells me that if such an occupation occurs at all, it will be very small, very short-lived. The weather's turning cool; it's a matter of comfort.

Owen Gray said...

I understand the reason for your cynicism, Anon. Perhaps my faith in the young is misplaced.

But it is true that they feel short changed. There will come a point, I believe, when they will refuse to go quietly into the night.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that things will get a lot worse before the occupy movement gains enough momentum to make a difference.

And I'm afraid things will, in fact, get a lot worse.

If governments are smart, they'll act sooner rather than later to create a more equal society

Anonymous said...

Yes i don't get them either really
Rich people have a tendency to just watch poor people starve.
Maybe its my irish heritage where 6 million starved while the rich watched
or the knowledge that everyday since i was born about every 3 seconds a child starves worldwide
and all the kings christians and all the kings men have done about zero to change that
Statistically (worldwide) an accumulation of 76 k puts you in the top 10%, 575 k gets you into the 1% but if all assets were divided equally every human being would be a billionaire.
the queens landholding divided, if i remember right, would give everyone on earth an acre.
the idea of separating a rich man from his money voluntarily is about zero
you need leverage or as r. Heinlein said
Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one.
Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. --
until then we should have this (mincome program)
and i also believe that if we can provide free training and accommodation plus pay for the military
then we should be able to do it for all students
both concepts might look good in an occupy platform
if they ever get that far
thanks for the thinking space

Owen Gray said...

If they're smart, they'll act. The longer they put things off, the bigger -- and more disruptive -- the reaction will be.

Owen Gray said...

It's in their own self interest for the wealthy to share some of their wealth, Mike.

Spreading the wealth around keep the economy going. Unfortunately, we have bought the myth that the wealthy keep the economy going.

e.a.f. said...

the wealthy will not "share" their wealth. they are of the opinion, they "worked" for it & they ain't sharing with a bunch of no nothings who don't deserve it. It is we the working people who actually ensured these people became wealthier & wealthier from the 1980's on. We voted for politicians who passed legislation which permitted the very wealthy to move their money off shore, gave them or their corporations tax deduction/reductions/grants, etc. to further enrich themselves.

The voters permit politicians to bail out banks, keep raising fees so profits increase even more & the working people have only had tax increases & salary reductions.

The wealthy do not create wealth alone. They must do it with the labour of workers.

I was recently reading that $75trillion was in off shore accounts to avoid taxes. Nice going for those who can afford it. The next time they try to throw some smuck in jail for not paying their taxes on time, we should think about that. They like to throw people in jail for E.I fraud, or welfare fraud, but we have the 1%ers of the 1%ers avoding paying taxes on $75trillion. That is a crime & we voted for the politicians who passsed that type of legislation. People should give their heads a shake. We have nothing in common with these 1%ers. Our interests are not the same. We, want decent wages. They want reduced wages for us. We want government services to provide us with education, health, police services. The 1%ers want it all privitized so their companies can make more profits.

I do hope the occupiers get more support this time & people try to remember this when they go to vote.

Mogs said...

My most intelligent economist Joe Stieglitz coined that phrase, the 99 vs the 1%

Enjoy the read...

Owen Gray said...

It should be pretty clear by now, e.a.f., who our legislators are working for.

If the Occupy folks have a hand in changing the political agenda away from the 1%, they will have done us all a favour.

Owen Gray said...

An excellent piece, Mogs, by an excellent economist.

Anonymous said...

"It's in their own self interest for the wealthy to share some of their wealth, Mike."
Owen if it was in their self interests to do this that is exactly what they would be doing.
The wealthy (as are all of us) are all about self interest.
The economy is only a tool to them
up or down doesn't matter
they are willing to sell short ...that is make money on a downturn
The 1% did very well though the great depression.
The threat of social upheaval may cause some minor problems for them but the mobility money gives them means coping with the wreck won't be one of them.
Northern Idaho is booming... why? crisis America monied people can move there.
Off shore accounts really keep their options open.
Unhappy poor people protesting in the streets will not trump history and human nature unless like the other "spring" movements someone comes to our rescue (possibly china) and carpet bombs us until we are liberated and our democracy restored and even then wealthy will just renegotiate with the new government

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps I should have written "the wealthy would be wise to recognize that it is in their self interest to share the wealth," Mike.

Wisdom is a rare quality. It can't be bought. And, given China's increasing military muscle, I'm not sure that its new found wealth will bring it new found wisdom.