I have to say something about the Occupy Wall Street protests. Sorry but I just have to. I am sympathetic to their cause. Actually, it’s not so much a cause as an expression of frustration but anyway I’m sympathetic. I’m not so much bothered by the fact that wealthy people and corporations get tax breaks that I don’t get. Well, that does bother me but it’s not the biggest thing. The thing that really bothers me is that when a corporation wants a law passed (or wants a law to not pass) they generally get what they want. This is why movies, books and other works whose creators have been dead for decades are still not in the public domain. It’s why the cable companies will eventually get away with killing the Internet as we know it. And it’s why instead of a decent health care program we got what is mainly a gift to insurance companies. Another big thing that bothers me, and that is more relevant to the current topic, I suspect that some companies that could afford to hire people have decided that they don’t have a reason to because they’ve discovered they can make do with fewer people.
I think that some of the comments I’ve been reading online – that the occupiers are just spoiled and lazy – are not true of the majority of protesters and are grossly unfair. However, I think the occupiers are making several huge mistakes. One, if they expect to have any success at all they do need a unified message and a list of specific demands. There’s nothing wrong with telling the world that you’re angry and you’re not going to take it anymore but if you can’t say what it would take to make you not angry then there’s not much chance that anything will change.
On a personal level, there’s one very important thing that the protesters are overlooking: Protesting against evil, greedy corporations is probably not going to win them any points in their next job interview at one of those evil, greedy corporations. I know it feels good to show the whole world how frustrated you are but doing so usually does you more harm than good.
I honestly don’t think corporations are evil. They might be “Big Brother” but they make our way of life possible so I guess you could say that I do “love Big Brother.” Corporations, or the people who run them, are greedy. So am I. So are you. Greed is why we have an economy at all. And Wall Street? I really fracking hate that the entire economy is so deeply affected by the daily panic attacks of a handful of wealthy investors. But that’s just the way it is and I don’t know what can be done about it. Neither do the Occupy Wall Street protesters and that’s why they’re wasting their time. You really want to make an effective statement? Go home and write to your congressman and tell him that you’re not going to vote for him unless the unemployment rate drops below 6% by election time. And then follow through on your threat.