Against the “Occupy Wall Street” protests

As a resident of the Baltimore area I couldn’t help but notice the Baltimore Sun‘s coverage on the “Occupy Wall Streeet” protests. Apparently these protests have spread throughout the entire country’s big cities – not just New York but also Baltimore, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and other big and famous cities in the U.S. Most people’s first reaction about me, judging by my educational background, is to expect that I will be supporting the protests but I am not. This article will briefly explain why I do not support them.

First of all, I initially had no idea what these protests were about. Talks about “corporate greed” and “the top 1 percent” seem irrelevant in the U.S. world of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I would agree with the protesters if they meant the ways loans used to be given until recently but it looks like this was not well conveyed in these protests.

Second of all, I disagree with the protesters’ complaints about joblessness. Having a job is not a right but a privilege, and if one can’t find a certain job, one cannot blame it on Wall Street but has to look for another job or blame it on themselves. It doesn’t hurt to work something other than what one is specialized in, and situations like this happen in life. The Baltimore Sun article brings me to these thoughts. On page two 22-year old Josh Perry was quoted by the Baltimore Sun as expressing his frustration of not being able to find a job which forced him to live with his parents. The article doesn’t explain whether he was forced to leave his undergraduate studies for a while. However, I commend him for having worked a variety of jobs for the almost three years since he started his undergraduate degree, and since I have no information on what made him not work any of the jobs that he was quoted as mentioning so I can’t estimate why he is unemployed right now.

Third of all, Wall Street is not interested in high unemployment rate. The financial sector is interested in giving out business loans so that it collects more profit from the interest payments from businesses who use these loans to grow themselves thus hiring more and more people. The only frustration that I can understand is the one that has to do with the bailouts. The bailout decisions by the federal government created the image of the financial sector having government as its safe haven every time something goes wrong. And every time means every time means “we can do whatever we want to, the government is on our side no matter what happens” – something that we don’t observe with the so called 99 percent that the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters claim to be about. This is not fair and calls for reasonable action in the form of a reasonable public policy.

Fourth of all, take a look at the latter argument again. Charles Village jewelry maker Lani Miller “quit her job selling houses” because she hated it and started her own jewelry business. Warning! Warning! Warning! While Lani Miller quit her job because she considered it disgusting, I can’t understand what exactly she meant. How much does she think that an interest rate on a house has to be in order not to think of her now past job as disgusting? Interest is the cost of borrowing, and there is nothing wrong with it. For some people that cost will be higher, and lower for others depending on financial background. Also, if Ms. Miller can’t afford to pay for a bookkeeper and for a web designer – yet she scolds Wall Street for being unable to give out loans. Wall Street is times more complicated than her own business. There are constantly risks taken there, and the whole financial process demands a lot of calculations on risk taking and other situations there.

Those are some of the reasons why I am against the “Occupy Wall Street” protests.


Filed under Books, Movies and Analyses, Politics

6 responses to “Against the “Occupy Wall Street” protests

  1. Anytime I see these types of protests, I begin to think, “Hmm, maybe what people really want is socialism, instead of capitalism” but of course this s-word is very much a taboo in the Western world (mostly used when politicians try to ruin each others’ chances of success). Of course I sympathize with people’s pain and disappointment, but unfortunately these are two words that don’t take priority in a capitalist world. Sick of the “greed”? Yes, of course, we all are, but that is an inherent part of the system and deeply ingrained in the psychology of a few generations of traders and bankers. Will this change? Only time will show.
    Many believe that you have to reach rock bottom before you can change and we are not near rock bottom yet. But as we’re going there, my question is, will the American dream survive?

  2. People is a broader term here. While there are some adults among the protesters in their 30s or 40s, the majority (plurality worst case scenario) of them are aged 18-25. So I am not sure what people really want but my experience tells me that we can discern what the majority of people within certain group – based on age, education, income, and other characteristics – would want. These protesters are absolutely against capitalism, that’s for sure. While they never say the s-word, capitalism is a dirty word to them, not to mention that apparently some of them like Lani Miller don’t know how to run a business – not because she cannot afford to hire a bookkeeper and/or a web designer but because she most likely thought that hiring is like a cake-walk and she will be able to grow her business as effortlessly as she has been thinking – and probably still thinks – that other businesses grow.

    Greed is not that bad. Thanks to greed we are as advanced as we are today. I agree that certain forms of greed should be regulated though such as mergers like the story about AT&T and T-Mobile because they will lead to market failures. I usually don’t expect that such the attitude toward greed that we see nowadays will change but like George Friedman implied in his book reasonable thinking has been denied on several occasions.

    The belief about the rock bottom is the exact same as the Bulgarian idiom “when the knife reaches the bone” – that’s when there is more motivation to do something significant, when there is more pressure.

    And as to the American dream, I see it survive for some people and die for others, all of whom, I assume in this situation, pursue it. The ones who knowingly and willingly don’t pursue it are not taken into consideration. For the ones who pursue the American dream – it will die for the Beta people and perpetuate for the Alpha people. This is my prediction. As a psychologist I think you are better at discerning an Alpha person from a Beta than I am.

  3. I skimmed the following link:

    My point exactly! I don’t know whether to feel sorry for these people or to say that it serves them right for being so ignorant of finance and economics.

  4. Yes! I agree – education and ignorance are involved in most burning issue of our time. While ignorance is bliss in days of relative stability, it is very painful in times that require sacrifice.

    Good point about the Alpha folks, but I don’t think any society can function with those only. You can’t have only eager leaders, so to speak. The followers are just as important.

    With your last sentence you’re touching on something very important – personal responsibility.
    One big issue that I see in all levels of life (personal and social) and find very disturbing is lack of personal responsibility (which then translates on the organizational and even national level). Everyone seems to be eager to point the finger and put the blame on someone else. If it’s not Wall Street, it’s Obama and so on, all the way down to McDonalds. And where is personal responsibility in all this? Since when did we sign a release form for all personal involvement, courage, initiative, honest? Yes, greedy officials gave out mortgage loans to people who clearly could not afford them, but those people had their heads deep in the sand if they didn’t realize they were living a life they couldn’t afford. And the story goes on and on. After all, these are the days when anything goes, and those who were happily riding the life-on-credit-wagon quickly found themselves under it.

    We are indeed going to witness some challenging times. I hope, as a species, we emerge stronger and reconnected with our sense of personal responsibility.

  5. You completed me well – personal responsibility. If you don’t like a certain subject matter, you are free not to study it. If it is very profitable though, don’t blame it on the people who do this for a living because they specialized in it at a time when you didn’t want to. Giving out mortgage loans to people who could not afford them is mutual fault, even though the people who applied for them were a lot more responsible. But that’s a different story This here is about the irresponsible and ignorant protesters, and their vague demands.

  6. Pingback: Youtuber pp000610 (Former Soviet Citizen Vladimir Jaffe): A Fraud or Someone Who Looks for the Truth? You Decide | Evolution is the key!

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