The Occupy Movement (it started off as Occupy Wall Street) has become the voice of the 99% against the plutocratic 1% and rightfully so. The reality of the matter is that the top 1% are controlling too large a piece of the economy than is fair or even acceptable by the rest of the 99%. But as everyone steps out to demonstrate and talk about the injustices of this fact, take a moment to pause and reflect on what exactly all this is working towards. Let’s throw some perspective to it.
Here is a small town professional who has a dream to start and grow his dream business. So what does he do, he invests in his career and education while at the same time putting aside some money every month towards his dream business. He does this for maybe ten maybe twenty years. One day he decides to quit his job and go into business. The business steadies out and over the next ten or twenty years he begins raking in millions of dollars per year in personal earnings. Then one day someone comes along and says he is part of the 1% that is unfairly milking the economy at the expense of the 99% and so he must be “punished” for his wealth. See where I’m going with this?
Occupy Wall Street had all the merits and cadence of a social movement trying to right social injustice. Why? Because the people being targeted were the rich Wall Street traders and CEO’s who make money off the honest sweat of the populace and who have a Big Brother in the government to bail them out in case they screw up.
But Occupy has now taken the markings of a class war. The have-not’s vs. the haves and this cannot go well in a society that is built on capitalism and rewards. According to the Economist, almost half of the world’s rich are entrepreneurs (47%) and so the idea that the rich live and work on Wall Street is an actual absurdity. The article in the Economist continues to say, and I quote:
A typical American millionaire is surprisingly ordinary. He has spent his life patiently saving and plowing his money into a business he founded. He does not live in the fanciest part of town – why waste money you can invest?
If this is the 1% that we are all fighting against, aren’t we then guilty of fighting against our next door neighbour who made it out of the rat race? That cousin or uncle who everyone looks up to because he managed to succeed against all odds? That son or daughter who trumped the competition to soar to unprecedented heights? The list is endless. As Oprah would say, it’s the millionaire next door.
Ultimately, that rich person or 1% could be you; tomorrow, next year, a decade from now… Think about it. My thoughts? I think the Occupy Movement should have stayed as Occupy Wall Street; that’s where it would have had the most impact and could have been most relevant. Oh, and maybe Occupy Washington as well, just for measure.