Social Question

dreamwolf's avatar

What do you make of the recent Wall Street protests?

Asked by dreamwolf (3142 points ) October 6th, 2011

I’ve heard several news stations spin the idea that “these youth don’t know what changes they even want, yet they don’t want capitalism.” Logically speaking, is it correct to disregard Capitalism with out a solution first?
1.Or is it okay since we know capitalism currently isn’t working? 2.What do you think about what these protesters are doing?
3.What are the strengths of their position?
4.Can you relate?
5. Does this affect American youth more than it does the elder crowd?

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22 Answers

Nullo's avatar

A lot of them are doing it because they’re being told to, or because they see other people doing it.

* looks around *

All things considered, capitalism is doing a pretty decent job.

skfinkel's avatar

From what I understand, they are protesting corporations being considered “people” and the greed of such corporations. That makes sense to me. Corporations aren’t people. And we have seen more greed in our country that could be imagined. Protesting is the right of all of us—what our freedoms are about. That’s what makes this country great, and also makes it work well—when the leaders listen to the people.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Capitalism is not working. According to UNICEF, 1.3 billion people on Earth suffer from chronic hunger. Also according to UNICEF, the world’s 358 billionaires have assets exceeding the combined annual incomes of countries with 45 percent of the world’s people.

Gender, racial, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, and age inequalities are institutionalized around the globe, and I believe it is a direct result of patriarchal capitalism.

The Occupy Wall Street Movement is a genuine grassroots uprising. The main objective seems to be a return of power to the majority from the plutocratic corporations who presently hold it.

As one of the 99% they talk about, I can relate very well. I believe it affects all Americans regardless of age or race or anything that may divide us.

raygunak's avatar

The current form of capitalism is unsustainable: it puts economic imperatives ahead of civic virtues. Generally, business acts in the interest of shareholders not society. I think this is the underlying frustration that they feel. It’s a significant problem because business is a powerful institution -more powerful than governments. Reform business= save the world.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

I don’t like ANY protests that go against the making of money. Go live in a communist country if you don’t like it.

Judi's avatar

Capitalism without checks and balances is worse than communism. It is based on greed and selfishness and all that is the worst of humanity.
There needs to be balance, and even the wealthy should pay their fair share to advance our species.

raygunak's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES making money is great but it shouldn’t be put above the needs of society… And it doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive -a strong society fosters strong business. It’s important to recognise the problems of the current system, it’s the only way it can be corrected.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES : It’s my right guarantied in the US Constitution to peacefully protest and voice my opinion whenever I want. Corporate greed is not a new phenomenon in the US. It was only with the rise of a healthy middle class that the nation really grew and prospered. Otherwise, we’d be like Mexico.

I do not have to go live somewhere else simply because I find something I wish to change about my country.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I don’t really think that they don’t have specific demands. Maybe many of the interviewed protesters can’t clearly articulate them, but I feel like the lack of articulation is a problem with most protesters in any given protest and interviewing random people in general (Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking” segment comes to mind). If you go to the website, they do have a clearly articulated list of demands.

I actually like the general idea of the protests much more than many of the actual demands. For example, I don’t want to get rid of credit ratings agencies. I want to change how credit ratings are calculated, what things count for getting good and bad credit, who handles the agencies, etc, but I don’t want to totally get rid of the institution of credit ratings agencies. I think capitalism can work, but not as this particular variation of capitalism.

I’m actually hugely shocked that the TEA Party isn’t rushing in to join them, because the TEA Party keeps talking (even more so in its beginning stages) about how they want drastic and immediate change, and to have more individuals be better off financially. The financial rhetoric seems so much the same, just coming from different people.

dreamwolf's avatar

Isn’t what’s great about the U.S. is that you could build your own business and grow it however large you want? Why should Joe Shmo be mad that Jackson Ford (made up name for business man) can grow his business and expand world wide? Are we saying there should be a “cap” as to how much a particular entity should make?

dreamwolf's avatar

@Judi Can’t we agree that some large corporations actually do put back into society? Like Ronald McDonalds houses, or Coke and Pepsi sponsoring all sorts of things, just some “mainstream” examples right there.

dreamwolf's avatar

I’m not on any side in particular, but we all gotta put food on the tables for our families, and in my opinion, and im saying this coming from a poor background, very poor, but like momma said, “you gotta get off your ass and find a job, the job won’t find you.”

jca's avatar

Think about the money you make for the hard work you do. Now think about what would it be like if you had to go out and earn that money, and share it with five people in your neighborhood who never worked a day in their life. Your share is no larger than their shares. You are not allowed to stop working. How would that feel? Welcome to communism.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think it is ironic that the “99 percent” tweet, blog and post from iphones and other gadgets that were developed, marketed and sold by free market-free thinkers who didn’t have “people over profits” in mind when they worked to pursue their own self-interests. It also makes me shake my head to see them joined by Hollywood elite and labor unions. We know they are not looking at profits. Right?

CWOTUS's avatar

I’m kind of blown away by the cognitive dissonance that arises for display here whenever capitalism is discussed for long.

In the first place, people are aghast that US courts have elected to treat corporations as persons, and claim that “this cannot be!” Okay, so you’ve decided that corporations are not persons.

In practically the next breath they are in high outrage mode because “they aren’t acting like benevolent people!”

One way or the other, folks. One way or the other.

Judi's avatar

@dreamwolf ; I didn’t say that at all. What I meant was, that there needs to be checks and balances in place so that a profitable company does not come at the expense of everyone else. If higher and higher profits is the God, the be all end all measure of a successful business, you have a recipe for societies doom. Money in itself is not bad. Working hard and making money is not bad. I am at the pretty high end of the 99%.
As far as corporations putting back into society, that’s great too. FYI, Mcdonalds may have the Ronald McDonald house. but they rely heavily on private donations. My MIL gave a substantial gift recently. So substantial that she got to meet the Dalai Lama when he came to town. She is in the 1% though. Sponsoring foundations is often just a tax loophole and a public relations campaign.
There is nothing wrong with making money. It just needs to be done in a way that is constructive for society and not destructive. Deregulation only accelerates our decline.

martianspringtime's avatar

I’ve posted about this in another question, but generally I think it’s great to see young people getting out from behind their ‘reality’ shows and liking people’s garbage on facebook to actually make their ideas known, whether I personally agree with it or not (I do.)
Also, the ‘love it or leave it’ mentality is so idiotic I really can’t even begin to address it.

I also don’t see this protest as “stop all capitalism now.” I’m sure everyone involved has a different ideal and different goals, but the way I see it, it’s more of just showing how many people out there are not profiting and living the good life.

It’s showing that there are people making millions by employing dishonest practices, while there are respectable people of the working class – teachers, people who do actual labor, etc – who get pretty low wages for a terrific amount of work.

I understand that not everyone’s qualms about capitalism are not as strong as many of those involved in the protests, but are you really trying to say that you don’t have any? Corporations have a very heavy involvement in politics – and I think we all know that’s an understatement – is that okay? I know that’s not the basis of the protest, and has a lot to do with our flawed government rather just capitalism, but a lot of people who oppose the protests seem to suddenly praise capitalism as a flawless system when prior to this, I’m sure many would be complaining online…

mattbrowne's avatar

About time. Insanity cannot go on forever.

martianspringtime's avatar

I’d also like to post this…rather interesting…quote against Occupy Wall Street that I read the other day.

”(I am) old enough to remember what happened in the 1960s when the left-wing took to the streets and somehow the media glorified them and it ended up shaping policy. We can’t allow that to happen” – Peter King (source)

Wonder what awful 60s movements he could be referring to that “shaped policy”?~

dreamwolf's avatar

@martianspringtime some people just really believe in absolute control, which totally sucks

bea2345's avatar

Dear @dreamwolfsome large corporations actually do put back into society?: hold it right there. The cocoa farmers in Ghana, the banana growers in the Caribbean – they might have a contrary opinion.

Nullo's avatar

@bea2345 In this modern age, it is next to impossible to be a large corporation without giving back to the community. Public relations has risen in importance over the years to the point where it’s taken quite seriously; corporations have mostly come to realize the value of a good image.

Wal-Mart, for instance (used here because I know a bit about it and don’t feel like hunting down other examples at 2:30 in the morning) donates millions of dollars and man-hours every year to various charitable ends. It was the first to bring relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, ahead of FEMA. And every single night, many of its facilities across the nation pack up their day-old bread and sell-by meat and ship it to food banks.

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