Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Perspective

A relative of mine recently asked me over e-mail what I thought of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Here is what I replied with...

My feeling about the Occupy Wall Street movement is that our nation (and our government) is essentially a wholly owned subsidiary of corporations. The fact that some people have decided to literally get up and do something about it is encouraging to me.

Now, I am all for profit and capitalism...and Diane and I are benefiting from being part of companies that operate in that system...but it is my feeling that something has gone wrong. We've gone off the deep end and we're no longer in a traditional capitalist economy. We're in a corporatist economy. 

My feeling is that 30 years of massive deregulation (financial markets, real estate, energy, environment, etc.), tax cuts for wealth and corporations, corporate outsourcing of jobs, an un-needed war in Iraq, underinvestment in education and a false appeal to "family values" to get the conservative vote out (always promised, never legislated) has collectively created a terminal direction for the USA. Limited job opportunities, relatively uneducated compared to our past and our competitors, a focus on celebrities as a distraction and nobody coming up with ideas that will propel us forward. 

Are we about to collapse as a nation? As a society? No...but, we're on a very dangerous trajectory. I suspect we won't suddenly combust, but slowly fade from predominance into "also ran" status as a nation.

As for who is to blame, I would summarize as follows: The Republicans did it, the Democrats rolled over and let them, but voters are the real culprits. Too easily distracted, watching the "reality show" nature of elections rather than linking their own situations and troubles with what those politicians are saying or promising. All too often it's the opposite. People vote against their own interests. The farmer votes for the candidate of big agribusiness. The school teacher votes for the "small government" Republican. The factory worker votes for the politician who is in favor of deregulation making it easy for companies to offshore jobs. Etc., etc., etc.

Not sure if I answered the question, but there it is.

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