Monday, October 17, 2011

A Correction on OWS

An addendum to my previous post on Occupy Wall Street. The purpose of that post was to criticize the protest's metarhetoric, or the manner in which it presents its goals and argues for them, as well as its assumptions about the purpose of corporations. But I think I didn't make it clear enough that I wasn't criticizing the movement as a whole or what it stands for. As I've looked at some of the hard data behind it, I've realized that OWS really is onto something. The machine of American capitalism seems to be running down and breaking, so to speak--in need not of replacement, but a tune-up and some new parts. The wealthy have increasingly been finding ways to influence politics to gain more wealth, which gains them more influence... The feedback loop has been escalating for decades and OWS is proof that many people have had enough.

So yes, I would say I agree with OWS's basic message--that the government has become too oligarchic and that corporations need restraint to serve the good of everyone rather than just their executives. I disagree with how the movement is pursuing its goals--it should focus on constructive dialogue and concrete solutions rather than just expressing rage in hopes of getting corporations to magically change their ways. I think it would make more sense for them to protest at Washington (where they have a voice) than Wall Street. (Where they don't, unless they plan on buying stock)

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