Occupy Wall Street and the Myth of the 99%

Benedict By Benedict, 29th Nov 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

The central premise of Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots, that of the figurative 99% versus the 1%, is a sham, even if its supporters don't know it. The inclination to simplistically divide society into the mega-rich and everyone else is not only unrealistic, it's idiotic. Greed in society takes all number of forms and is by no means exclusive to the most wealthy, many of whom are most responsible for the prosperity of our nations.

What 99%?

The 99% hypothesis, even if we accept it as a metaphor for the majority of society and not tied to a particular percentage, insinuates that those who are not extremely wealthy are all relatively equal victims to alleged corporate greed. This is far from the case.

As a middle-class student busting his ass to make it in this world, why am I to be lumped into the same category as kids I knew growing up, ones who screwed around in school, avoided hard work like the plague and now find themselves in dead-end jobs? Truck drivers who work 18 hour days, nurses who deal with emergency room chaos and teachers working overtime to plan lessons to benefit their students are also slotted in amongst welfare cheats, habitual criminals and those who expect everything from the world and give little or nothing in return. The impression is that, despite huge cultural, religious, racial, gender and, most importantly, attitudinal differences between people in the West and wider world, we are all some happy family.

If the rhetoric of Occupy Wall Street symbolised an English sentence, we would be the objects constantly manipulated and acted upon by the subjects, the multi-millionaires and billionaires. It would seem we had no autonomy and no ability to choose, and could do no evil, as the only actions capable of it came from the rich.

You may think I'm exaggerating but the point is that instead of engaging in a dialogue or thinking out their position, or even seeing shades of colour, instead of black-and-white imagery, Occupy Wall Street have thrown a "100% blame game" at the rich.

What about government, who enabled the US and other global bailouts in the first place?

Why Not Occupy Capitol Hill?

I'm no economist, but as far as I've always known, what human beings can and can't do to make a profit in society is regulated by what we call laws.

Peter Schiff, a Wall Street CEO with views very similar to Ron Paul's (he even served as one of Paul's campaign advisors), recently confronted a group of Occupy protesters and asked them why they weren't in Washington. The protestor responses were evasive at best and horrendously pathetic at worst.

People seem to forget that capitalism is NOT about bailouts. It is about competition and which individuals and firms best serve the market. Even if it were about saving the skins of immoral fat-cats, the fact remains that the power to grant those bailouts and save many corporations came from Washington. If the executives of failed companies are social thieves, what does that make the government?

Through both bailouts and a lack of interest in making laws to prevent unscrupulous behaviour (almost all the criticised corporate actions prior to the GFC were actually perfectly legal or even frequently encouraged by government behaviour), politicians are actually more to blame for the economic crises of recent years than any corporations.

While you would want corporate leaders to have a conscience, it is NOT their job to assess every interest of society's. An ice cream vendor, after all, doesn't think twice about selling their products to someone who is clearly overweight.

Government is the regulator and it is high time it started acting as such.


Gfc, Global Economic Crisis, Global Financial Crisis, Greed, Myth, Occupy Wall Street, Peter Schiff, Recession, The 99, Wall Street

Meet the author

author avatar Benedict
I'm an unconventional young man with a predilection for saying and doing what I feel.

I seek adventure and abhor most forms of political correctness.

I crave travel, debate politics and love life.

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