Occupy Wall Street: So What?
by The Milton Measure on Friday, October 28th, 2011
The Occupy Wall Street protests began over a month ago and have since expanded from New York to over nine hundred cities. The protesters, outraged by the struggling economy and the inequality between social classes, fear another economic depression and believe that the excessive greed on Wall Street and the government’s shortcomings are to blame the current economic decline. Yet the protesters have been unclear and unfocused in their message.The protesters argue that the government has frequently favored Wall Street over Main Street. “We are the 99 percent,” is their ubiquitous slogan, summing up the protesters’ belief that the desires of the financial companies and super-wealthy do not correspond with those of common Americans.
Though these protesters have made it clear that the government must implement change, they have failed to make apparent what exactly must change. Without a clear purpose, protesters will lose interest in American politicians. The hundreds of thousands of protesters must come together to focus on targeting a coherent policy plan. If they fail to do so, politicians will continue to view Occupy Wall Street as an ignorant movement guided only by aimless frustration.
While the number of participants has grown, power in numbers only will not convince the government to implement new policies. The assumption that the protesters are ignorant of the real situation is not entirely unreasonable.
Many protesters are college students with enormous student loans. As for the older protesters, they are not all wiser; in fact, a largely advocated idea is to completely reject the banks and rule for complete reorganization of the Federal Reserve. This idea could never work for a large host of reasons not limited to all the time and energy wasted on reorganizing the economy.
Furthermore, while the movement has protested many broad issues, they have no distinct solutions. Their only accomplishment thus far has been to force politicians to discuss reform, and even there they have had mixed results.
Protesters argue that the financial world has too much power, but without a strong substitute no one will embrace any sort of change.
The protesters’ rage against the financial world is understandable: there is undeniably excessive greed on Wall Street. Protesters, however, must consider offering up more pointed and specific solutions.
By stepping forward with reasonable, concrete alternatives, rather than their overly broad list of complaints, the protesters will be taken more seriously and actually have a chance of affecting change.
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