What The “Occupy Wall St.” Protesters Are Actually Protesting
Like many, I’m often asked my thoughts regarding the protests taking place, first on Wall St. and now in cities throughout the world. And, my typical answer includes that often annoying term I use, “false premise.” And, truly, I can’t think of anything that is based more on a false premise than this. And, apparently, neither Democratic nor Republican politicians are aware of it.
One often hears it is an assault on Capitalism; that Capitalism and the greedy bankers for which it stands has ruined the economy, creating a 1 percent super-rich and 99 percent everyone else. That seems to be the summation.
However, not one of the protesters is actually protesting against Capitalism. Oh, I know they believe they are. But, they are not. They are protesting against Corporatism, where big business is given special advantages and privileges by the politicians they buy (err, to whose campaigns they contribute). There is a significant…significant difference and it needs to be understood in order to be dealt with effectively.
Corporatism is often referred to as “Crony Capitalism.” I wish that advocates of Capitalism and Free Enterprise would stop using that term because, well, it has the word “Capitalism” in it. And, that confuses people.
Please understand (warning…here comes a tweetable quote) :-):
“Crony Capitalism is to Capitalism what Chinese Checkers is to Checkers.”
So, I’m not telling the protesters they shouldn’t be protesting. I’m only suggesting that what they are protesting is not what they think they are protesting, and they are protesting to the wrong people. Here are my thoughts for the protesters:
“You are right; Wall St. helped ruin our economy. But they could ONLY have done so with all the special rules based on corporatism enacted by government. So, if you want to protest anywhere, it should be in Washington, D.C., and only Washington, D.C.! And protest, not for more rules and regulations, but for government to STOP making rules and regulations that allow both corporations and government-sponsored entities (i.e. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) the ability to take excessive risks with no consequences.”
Not that anyone who truly hates the idea of Capitalism/Free-Enterprise will listen. They will only tweet out their disagreement using all the technology made possible by Capitalists/Free-Enterprisers (Holy irony, Batman!). But, at least for everyone trying to intelligently reason out the issue, it will make sense, and cause those on the fence to look a little deeper than the sound bites they are hearing from the usual media outlets.