Save Capitalism from Greedy Capitalists
The Occupy Wall Street campaign seems to be have made the US establishment sit up and take notice. The protesters may be dismissed as rabble or hippies, their protest deemed “un-American” and the result of class envy. But, there is no denying the power and popularity of the campaign which has spread from New York City’s financial district to other cities in the US, including Los Angeles.
What it is all About
Occupy Wall Street aims to raise awareness and action on the shenanigans of the US financial industry and the growing income inequality in the US. In 2008, the financial industry caused an economic crash and had to be bailed out by government assistance to Wall Street companies and banks, which affected consumers.
More Help to Banks than Consumers
The protesters are sore about the imbalance in government assistance to big banks and that given to homeowners, who make up the banks’ customer base. The 2008 crash also did not lead to meaningful reforms on regulating financial instruments and strategies. Big banks had created trouble for themselves by following dicey policies in a bid to exploit gaps and flaws in government rules to make short-term profits. And, the same banks are opposing tooth and nail all attempts to regulate their functioning.
Banks Back to their Tricks
The protesters are sore that big banks seem to have re-started their old methods without a hiccup. In the second quarter of 2011, banks made huge profits which were much more than in the entire calendar 2008. In fact, bank profits made up about 32% of US corporate profits recorded in the second quarter. And, the worst fact is financial transactions do little to boost economic productivity.
Inequality in Income and Wealth
Another main issue raised by the Occupy Wall Street campaign is the growing inequality in income and wealth which is hobbling the US economy. The top 1% are earning more than ever and the gap between them and the bottom 99% is growing larger and wider.
Will it Last?
So, will the protest by the so-called 99% create results and meaningful reform? Labor unions and organized groups have joined the movement. Yet, do they all have specific and united goals? Right now, as one protester says Occupy Wall Street is more of a moment than a movement. And, democrats seem to be welcoming it more than Republicans. Let’s wait and watch the ramifications of this American version of the “Arab Spring”.