Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Wall Street Protests

Ezra's thoughts on the Wall Street protests:
"...college debt represents a special sort of betrayal. We told you that the way to get ahead in America was to get educated. You did it. And now you find yourself in the same place, but buried under debt. You were lied to.
But you look around and the reality is not everyone is suffering. Wall Street caused this mess, and the government paid off their debts and helped them rake in record profits in recent years. The top 1 percent account for 24 percent of the nation’s income and 40 percent of its wealth. There are a lot of people who don’t seem to be doing everything they’re supposed to do, and it seems to be working out just fine for them.

Perhaps that’s part of the reason that the movement doesn't have clear demands. It’s easy to explain how to punish the rich. You can tax them, or regulate their activities. It’s a bit hard to say how to make the economy work better for average people. There’s an intuition out there that part of the reason it’s not working better is that the rich hold too much political power, and so there’s a clear desire to reduce that political power, but it’s not clear how far that actually gets you in terms of bringing wages up."

To me, the most suprising thing about these protests is that they didn't happen sooner, given the current inequality between the haves and the have-nots, esp. when you consider that most of the have-nots appear to have played by the rules.. And if you contrast this perspective with that of the CEOs of the larger businesses out there, it seems to me like there's a class war going on whether we want one or not.

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