Occupy Wall Street | A Noble Cause?

Written by Anthony Garcia   // September 30, 2011   // 5 Comments

Occupy Wall St.

Occupy Wall St. began several weeks ago, and when I caught a glimpse of the message on the social media networks I assumed it would be a one or two day protest with maybe a couple hundred people at best. As the days went on I continued to see posts of protests, videos of cops pepper spraying protesters, and more. Over time this protest seemed to garner more attention. Unfortunately, more attention came about for the wrong reasons. High profile police officers using violence on what seems to be a peaceful protest. My perspective is limited due to the fact that I’m on California therefore I can’t say with absolute certainty what is happening on Wall St in terms of the protesters v.s. the police.

The fundamental argument or motivation for the protest is that organizers are tired of Wall Street’s “profit above all else” philosophy. Now to be clear businesses have one goal and that is to be profitable otherwise they will see their demise. So there is a problem with the protesters argument here, but to give them credit I will focus on probably what they really mean “above all else”. Their argument gains merit with me right off the bat when I start to think about the sub-prime loans and the collateralized debt obligations that helped get our economy where it is today.

Now many would argue that the problem we face today has much to do with individuals irresponsibly taking out mortgage loans they couldn’t afford. This maybe partially true, but if the banks didn’t lend so irresponsibly (i.e. stated income documentation), and Wall St. didn’t buy these risky loans the issue would not exist. In my opinion I believe the banks and Wall St are fundamentally responsible. For those of you that are Libertarian or Republican I am trying to cater to your philosophy that markets can correct themselves and the “invisible hand” should know better than to provide loans that could and will catapult the economy into a great recession. Now many on the right, Libertarian and Republicans may argue that if it weren’t for legislation in the 90′s that passed to help low income and minorities to be able to afford a home this wouldn’t be a problem. I disagree, because it’s up to the banks at the end of the day to verify a persons income, assets, and credit rating. If this criteria is not “prime” why take a chance and lend the money. Why not do what’s responsible?

There are a few banks who avoided this mess because they chose to be responsible and not take any chances on the subprime market, many of which are credit unions and have been able to weather the storm. On the other hand all these other banks that took part in making these loans, and Wall St.’s way of creatively gaming the system by creating CDOs high lights the recklessness of putting profit before all else. In other words there appears to be a lack of corporate responsibility.

Now to cater to the Democrats and Liberals. I think that the regulatory bodies, such as the SEC, where also responsible in this catastrophe. So after the protesters are done with Wall St. they need to make a stop at the SEC as well. I am for regulation, but when regulatory bodies show incompetence I think its time for some house cleaning.

Noble Cause?

I am all for people bringing attention to injustice. I believe this is a noble cause. I have never witnessed any change happen while standing idle. Where would we be if Dr. Martin Luther King didn’t propel the civil right’s movement? Look at Egypt, they were able to remove a dictator that had been in power for decades utilizing social media and protesting. So I think it should not be taken lightly considering the speed at which information travels. I appreciate what the protesters are doing because they are taking time out of their live to try to bring light to a major cause of our economic troubles.

It doesn’t help when political leaders on both sides of the political spectrum cater to the needs of Wall St. More power to the protesters because I’m tired of hearing that the wealthy pay less in taxes than the middle class. Furthermore, I really dislike how there seems to exist a social safety net for the wealthy provided by the state, but when there is discussion of a social safety net for the middle class the wealthy, on the right, makes a loud roar.

Taxes

Now I’m all for capitalism but I think banks and corporations need to not only be responsible to their share holders, but also the country they were able to build such successful businesses in.

Wall Street Protests: Which Side Are You On?

We Are The 99% from socially_awkwrd on Vimeo.


5 COMMENTS

  1. By John Dough, December 17, 2017

    protesters are always such an interesting bunch because the majority of them want to attain some type of change in a peaceful manner. More often than not a small group within the protesters will try to induce violence thus overshadowing the original message intended to bring to the debate. I can side with the opinion of the author that much of the blame lies with those institutions who “knew” better than to approve some of these suspicious loans. Responsibility is like a hot potato, always being passed around by those who themselves heated the potato up. Go main street.

    Reply
  2. By Tax-y Lady, December 17, 2017

    Unfortunately, I think that while the protesters are well-intentioned, they are not going to see much in results. This country has a long history of grass-roots change. But this is SLOW change. The civil rights movement, womens’ rights, gay rights, the draft, you name it. Protesting something isn’t usually enough since it has less of an impact on the people with the money and the power. It was when the country elected new officials who ran on platforms of change, and who followed up with promoting change, or when people began concerted boycotts of businesses that the powers that be started to take note. You don’t like a particular bank for how they handled the mortgage and sub-prime issues? Vote with your feet. You don’t like your (fill in the blank service provider) having lobbyists fighting against your interests, vote with your feet. Find something that more closely fits your values.

    For me- this means supporting primarily mom-and-pop retailers, eating in family-owned restaurants, using socially conscious providers where possible (such as http://www.credomobile.com), donating money to causes that are important and trying to bring about changes I support and want to see, and making changes when I need to. For example, this month my money is going from a bank to a credit union since I don’t like some of the new fees the bank just instituted. Will this bring about big change in the world? No. But if enough people take action, it can change things.

    Good luck to the protesters. If nothing else, they are getting media play and maybe getting some people to talk about the issues.

    Reply
  3. By eMoney, December 17, 2017

    I agree with both of you. Especially Tax-y-Lady. I’m getting to old to protest the traditional way. Instead of being out in the streets I protest by banking with a credit union.

    I agree good luck to them, but what’s most important is how/what people decided to do with their money and votes. It’s too bad that it doesn’t matter what side you vote for in the political spectrum you’ll probably never see “real” positive change for the average person.

    Reply
  4. By DolrDolrBill, December 17, 2017

    Great article. It is a multistage process to promote change. I would agree that the first change that needs to made is where you spend your money. Buy local! Don’t feed the massive corporations that can afford to lobby, but make better decisions on where and what you purchase. As for the protestors, keep on keeping on. It is you who add that extra piece of change that could take years, but it has to start somewhere.

    Reply
  5. By Dollar B, December 17, 2017

    “When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you. . . you may know that your society is doomed.” Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged

    Reply

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