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Do you agree with the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement? Why or why not?

I understand that they're all coming together because they're frustrated with the way the economy is moving but.. do they have a unified goal? A fundamental agreement?

Im sorry about my english, I'm still learning :)

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    Oct 7 2011: I spent part of the day at Wall Street today, simply to get a first-hand sense of their purpose, and see it for myself. A couple of things stood out to me. First, one man held a sign that read, "Every Generation Needs a Revolution." This spoke volumes to me. The spirit of the protest, and the people in attendance, reminded me so much of the sixties. We have certainly reached a moment in time when the scales have gone out of balance on so many levels in America. That said, it is true protesters don't appear to have a clear - or unified - purpose, but instead represent many different agendas that are somewhat related. I think this is the need of a generation to define itself and experience having its own voice. In so doing, perhaps our American society - as a whole - will begin to get out of the weeds and stop warring with one another, to sort out the mess we're in - together.

    I think this movement, combined with the tea party movement, are creating a necessary creative tension around the disparity between rich and poor, conservatives and progressives, freedom and control, rural and urban, ideologies and apathy, to lead us towards solutions and peace. At least I want to think so.

    When I was leaving this afternoon, I stopped to take one last look around and wondered if the next Steve Jobs was standing right in front of me. I was deeply struck by the memory of being young and idealistic - and experiencing a newfound empowerment through exercising the right to protest something I believed to be wrong, while being connected to something of purpose. I didn't want to be stuck in old ways - ways that my elders always complained or argued about. And I didn’t want the boys I’d grown up with to come home in a box.

    Did I fully understand what I was protesting at my young age in the late sixties?
    I doubt it. I did know one thing for sure. Something was very wrong with the world...and I wanted to be part of creating something better. I think that's their purpose. :)
    • Oct 8 2011: Wow Ms. Ellwein. I think you got that right!
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      Oct 8 2011: Thank you, Linda, for your first person expereience and eloquent reflection on it.

      All of us have experienced the hijacking of our democracy,of our government by the plutonomy in many many different ways in their lives. There is no more upward mobility , no doors that will open for these young people. It affects all of us accross the elderly friend with a doctorate in ministry has gone back to work at $10 an hour. I have seen many around me here, college educated retirees lose their homes.

      Early on at the other conversation on occupy Wall Street I posted that I hoped they might use their growing visibility for "enact Dodd Frank" but now I don't see the absence of a platform of demands as a weakness. I see it as a strength.

      It allows everyone who knows they too have been squeezed out of the picture to bleak realiies to connect their individual circumstances , their anger, fear and frustration about that to a collective awareness. It is the kind of awakening that is needed to put our leaders on notice that "we the people" are waking up, on the move and taking our country back

      .I had a visceral reaction to Georgia Republican Congressman/GOP Presidential Candidtae Herman Cain calling all of us who are speaking and acting in support of Occupy Wall Street Un-American and blaming us for our circumstances:


      .Herman Cain, a black congressman.. got the opportunity to be a Congressman..out of national solidariry with the civil rights movement.

      It is "we the people" who correct injustice, who bring the ship of state back on course.Right now the work is exactly what is happening..awakening more and more people to the realization that we are all victims of the plutonomy and that we can take it back ..and will
  • Oct 8 2011: Bankers do not make up the rules of lending, the FED does that. Again the financial demise of the world came not because of your wall street, it is because of the mismanagement of Governments. In order to maintain a semblance of economic growth the Feds initiated the lending practices in the housing market. Fanny May insured homes at a price that was grossly inflated, still it is nothing in the contex of moneys lost from the Government of the USA. The banks follow federal guidelines, money is borrowed and lent on the recommendation of policy. The USA borrowed enough from china and eventually it has to be paid back, junk goods are hitting the market here and the US has no way of retaliating, because of fear of the debt to be called or no longer be able to borrow from China. So some investment bankers sold derivatives because they were empowered to do so, no dont blame the bankers everytime you protest you risk your own existance. It has now become nothing more meaningful but a anarchistic reason to march.
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      Oct 9 2011: Have you actually studied what Wall St.banks and bankers did? I have in an MBA program and even the stodgy old educational institutions have to admit that the banks together with the repeal of the Glass Steagall act almost brought down the world economy which is floundering to this very day. Bankers may not make up the rules but Paulson worked on Wall ST before he worked for the FED. It is absolutely incestuous and the access that these bankers have had from the time of Reagan on is absolutely unconscionable in any so called democracy.
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        Oct 9 2011: and i bought a 1 year home study guide to austrian economics, and completed it. it says a completely different story about misguided regulations, government (fed) induced credit expansion, tax and red tape suffocated financial markets, corrupt politicians.

        now what? you continue to brag about the MBA program, and i continue to refer to my home studies, or maybe we start to talk about the facts at hand?

        and the facts are: granted, banks bought politicians and stole billions of dollars from the central budget and future generations. but the real problem is that they could do it! because there was a gigantic state that was willing to create new money, borrow and tax, extend its power to almost every area of life, and is willing to sell itself to the highest bidder. if there is such a government, corruption inevitably appear. no matter how strict the regulations are, the problem won't be fixed until governments are fixed.
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          Oct 9 2011: Debunking Austrian economics.

          No response to other components of the above post because I have learned that the not so phantom flagger attacks every time the poster is out argued.
        • Oct 10 2011: @ Krisztian, Debra & Erich

          Oversimplified theses such as "Wall Street is greedy" and "Government is bad" gloss over what is, IMO, the real issue.

          America's social structure is to have two mechanisms to counter both claims - capitalism and representative democracy. When a financial institution becomes too risky, the market punishes it. The overall detriment is usually small, for only small start-ups would typically employ such schemes - established institutions would have no reason to do so. Similarly, when a government becomes too ineffective, our elective process removes it from its role.

          The problem arises when the two contrive to counter the checks placed on the other. Government supplies funds to Big Finance to cover its losses, and Big Finance supplies funds for re-election campaigns. You guys know how this works.

          So instead of throwing doctrinaire analysis back and forth at each other, why not unite and go after the common enemy, the capillary which allows our current system to distribute its cronies wherever needed, the Federal Reserve System? (As well as the cronies themselves.)

          Sure, we will still disagree over whether to implement wholly private or wholly public money, but let us agree that this abysmal amalgamation that we currently employ is THE PROBLEM, and that, if operating under their counterbalanced roles, both Government and Big Finance could be part of THE SOLUTION.

      • Oct 10 2011: @ Debra

        How do you reconcile the video's pretense - that Keynesian superiority lies in it's willingness to adapt to evidence - with the findings of Yasheng Huang? After examining the data, he asserts that infrastructure is actually a result of, rather than the impetus of, economic growth. This is at odds with Keynesian dogma - dogma which is still being espoused by celebrated Keynesian Paul Krugman. And for all the blustering about the 'scientific approach', there was a significant lack of data produced - this was more of a philosophical criticism which did not even meet it's own stipulations. Certainly you can produce better criticisms of Austrian economics than this, no?

        If you want a cutting philosophical critique of Austrian economics you should ask -

        "Krisztian, why is it that your philosophy bases a society on 'market equilibrium' rather than individual empowerment? How is it that for all of your talk of individualism, your ideology critiques the world through the lens of a faceless, collectivist criteria?"

        The answer to this will help us better understand why the critique in the video is actually just a shallow assessment of a fundamental problem with the science of economics.

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        Oct 10 2011: debra, i promised myself to follow the link and watch it till the first error. it came like 5 seconds in the video, and it was about the "scientific method" used in mainstream economics and that it would be the most important difference. this is nothing but red herring, and rotten in addition. mainstream economics does not use the scientific method, and any real scientist would run away in sheer horror if they saw any so called "econometric" studies. the data available is so poor, it is impossible to draw any conclusions of. no surprise mainstream economists don't use data too often, and they discard data that falsify their theses.

        and yet again, baseless accusations. you can't name a single occasion when i flagged arguments. but you drop it in anyway, knowing that you can get away with it. this is very very sly.
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        Oct 10 2011: seth, this time, we almost agree. because the real enemy is not the government, and not the wall street.

        the real enemy is a way of thinking. a way of thinking that calls for initiating aggression to server our own personal needs, or to defend our own personal valuations. the people of the US (and other nations similarly) authorized their government to control and coerce. they want a strong powerful ruler up there, and they want their choice of ruler to be in control. this thinking led to unwanted consequences. and now, instead of realizing it, they look for someone to blame. and in the process, they want to give even more power to the government.

        the real problem is not government. the real problem is ignorance.
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          Oct 11 2011: Krisztian --

          Government is run by people who embody the "real enemy" you speak to: idealogical and/or ignorant thinking.

          The people of the US do not authorize their government to control and coerce. Citizen's United a stunningly mis-named law unilaterally created by the US Supreme Court which is not subject nor beholden to democratic process. The US democracy applies only to the legislative (Congress) and executive (President) branches of government.

          Citizen's United which neither benefits nor unites the majority of citizens, stipulates that multinational corporations qualify as individual citizens and thus may contribute unqualified sums to political campaigns. Their funds are what "control and coerce" the US government. Since to compete for public office, politicians need major campaign funds.

          Here is a piece I wrote about bipartisan businessmen's rejection of Citizen's United:

          The only solution to this is for citizens to refuse to vote for politicians who accept such funds. But since the law is less than a year old and the forces behind it (Republican power brokers, including the US Chamber of Commerce) are, shall we say, persistent, this will take significant awakening of citizens.

        • Oct 12 2011: Krisztian,
          If you and I were to list our beliefs, you would probably be astonished at how similar the lists would be. Our biggest difference is one of priority - whereas your main intent when commenting on a given thread is to state how the topic relates to your ideology, mine is typically to apply my ideology and knowledge to the topic presented.

          Not that I do not sympathize with your borderline fanaticism - if I were forced to invest 40% of my savings in Hungarian bonds, I would probably embrace Rothbard with equal passion and zeal. In fact, if you were to preface each of your posts with "I AM FORCED TO INVEST IN HUNGARIAN BONDS" the entire TED community would probably better understand your position.

          I, like you, appreciate the free market dynamic. I, like you, tend to dislike cumbersome regulation and excessive taxation. However, unlike you, I do not view a completely 'free' economy as absolutely advantageous, nor do I believe we shall ever participate in such a thing - that is to say, my worldview is shaped by history and psychology, as well as economics.

          I agree that ignorance is the problem, to the extent that it is at the root of every problem. But more pointedly, I feel America's social structure is currently impaired by the Federal Reserve System. Moreover, I feel the debt-laden, stagnant carcass that is America's economy and the bureaucratic superstructure that is America's government are necessary by-products of such a system. Do you agree?

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          Oct 10 2011: once i opened a conversation for that

          but TED in its ultimate wisdom decided that all conversations have to expire, so it is now closed
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          Oct 10 2011: "You know where to go to start a conversation that won't get shut down!"

          eer ... no?
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          Oct 10 2011: Hi Tee Cee,
          There have been multiple conversations in which the approaches you suggest have been tried to no avail. I posted the debunking video to make it clear that not everyone supports the Austrian School of Economics.
          Yes, the issues are as you say about how much government and how to improve it. I find though, that I cannot make headway with anyone who only yells for the eradication of government entirely and will accept no information, accept no other position.
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        Oct 11 2011: andrea, yes, people do authorize state measures. i believe your information is incorrect. there might be some exceptions. for example it might turn out to be true that 55% of people rejects the cited "citizen's united" law. i don't know, but possible. but i'm also sure that majority of people don't think it is too much important. not enough important to change their decisions, that's for sure. you don't need a law to control campaign finance. people can simply refuse to vote on parties that has closed finance records, or received huge sums from corporations. but even those who oppose this legislation, will happily vote for obama or romney/perry, even if none of them even hinted to favor public financing, and both received grandiose sums. it is easy to check a box on a questionnaire. really. just think about it. how many of the wall street protesters will vote for obama? the man who didn't stop the wars, didn't even attempted, didn't cut military spending, and who received HUGE sums of money from wall street. what's wrong with you people?

        ps: no, i don't want anyone to vote for romney/perry either.
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      Oct 11 2011: Erich --

      Your argument is provocative.

      Will you cite some sources for your claim that banks do not make lending rules?

      While it is true the government has regulations, it is also true that these regulations generally require self-reporting by the institutions as part of the due diligence process. Thus, corporations can corrupt (intentionally or not) the information they provide the government regulations offices.

      Given that government is not an omniscient force, but rather a delimited institution, misinformation can and does botch up its processes.

      All this said, I'm interested in seeing the sources you are using for your argument.

      Thanks in advance,

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    Oct 7 2011: I own a business and still I plan to haul my ass down to the Occupy Bay Street event. (And I can do that because I report to - oh, me! - so I can take the afternoon off if I want to.)

    The corruption and complete disregard for ethics doesn't just hurt the investors, it damages consumer faith in all levels of business.
  • Oct 7 2011: Wait people are still frustrated with the economy? Is catch phrase "hope and change" still not working?

    Well I'm sure that more ignorant protests will really change things instead of going to work or innovating something valuable.

    These protestors have the unspoken goal of getting something that they did not earn by complaining.
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      Oct 7 2011: I agree. , I don't get the whole deal. Seems like it's just a bunch of middle to upper class 20 -30 somethings trying to stick it to the man. (As long as he doesnt stop producing their Ipads or whatever other indulgences the success of big buisness provides them.. Its kind of a joke really. I have no problem with Wallstreet. I think those guys are smart. I still believe that America is a country where you get what you give. If you wanna be rich-go get rich. If you want to change somehting. Do it, don't just walk around with a cardboard sign-disrupting peoples day who are actually doing something productive.
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        Oct 7 2011: America may still be a country where you get what you give, but lately it has seemed more like a country where you get what you take. For example a bank CEO runs his company into the ground, taking a chunk of the world economy with it, gets a bailout paid for by tax dollars and a bonus that is more than many hard-working people make in their lifetime. I think people can legitimately be frustrated with this.
        • Oct 8 2011: Who gave these companies bailout money? Who elected or hired the people who decided to bailout companies?

          What a lot of people do not realize is that "Wall Street" is as much a part of the American public as the government. How many people are directly or indirectly invested in companies? Protesting Wall Street is like going in front of a mirror and protesting yourself. Nothing will come of it.

          Maybe we should be targeting the people responsible for the implementing of the bailout ideas.
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          Oct 9 2011: Who gave them bail out money? The government did based on the advice of this guy:

          Henry Merritt "Hank" Paulson, Jr. (born March 28, 1946) is an American banker who served as the 74th United States Secretary of the Treasury. He previously served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs.

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    Oct 7 2011: stefan molyneux digs into the manifesto
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      Oct 10 2011: OK a half hour in you tube time is fairly long. Care to sum it up.
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        Oct 10 2011: the same things i told here and in the other conversation, just with more details.

        they are attacking the wrong people. we have a state that uses its power to extract money from people, and waste it on things that don't help, to grow their power even bigger. they also use credit expansion and excessive borrowing to increase their budget further. these are the politicians, not the businessmen.

        and of course we have the wall street. they are aspirants to cooperate with the government in their quest for power. if you have the mafia in your street, "regulating" things, surely you will find people who cooperate with them. the mafia can go both ways: punish and reward. some agrees to cooperate for benefits, others out of fear. you might not like the ones who cooperate, and they might be regarded as criminals. but if you want to solve the problem, you need to get rid of the mafia.

        we all saw police aggression. who do you think operates the police? mortgage brokers or the state?

        and who do you think is responsible for the expansion of credit, debt, high taxes, diminishing liberties, the "patriot" act, the police state, overseas wars, assassinations and all such atrocities?
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          Oct 10 2011: Thanks summing it up. I agree with you that the government should get a large part of the blame, however its hard for me to see the government as anything more than an extension of a handful of businesses. A handful of banks, and energy companies get full representation, which is fair, but all others are ignored. Of course one reason why so many are ignored is that they for various reason have not organized. So I support this movement in hopes those that are left out of the political process can find a common theme and voice it in a meaningful way. That said I am not naive enough to think this won't take time. Well that and getting people to make better decision when as to who to do their banking with. Its sad that much of the resentment people feel toward banks is the actions that we have collectively giving them the power to do. We need to acknowledge that before we move anywhere.
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          Oct 11 2011: Anthony --

          I agree with you.

          That "handful of businesses" gets a big hand from the US Chamber of Commerce. Which is all over politicians with lobbyists -- at least.

          This article about Tom Donahue of US Chamber, if true, is pretty chilling. It suggests Donahue et al use brutal methods to coerce players to favor the biggest of big business exclusively:

          Donahue's previous post was as leader of the American Trucking Association.

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        Oct 11 2011: no. either deleted by admin, or deleted by creator? i don't know whether the creator can delete a conversation. moderation is rather ... unpredictable here. oct 15 is not OK. ten conversations about the venus project is OK. ten conversations about islam is OK.
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    Oct 7 2011: Yes I agree.Because they are just ruthless with their GREED, they and all others who support them need to know humanity didn't die yet......sufferers can fight back......
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    Oct 12 2011: i dig the whole occupy everything stance. not taking it litteraly of course, but, like occupy biased media, or whatever you see needing changed.
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    Oct 11 2011: Thank you, Krisztian for giving me the opportunity to once again call this conversation back to its main purpose and the important work of Occupy Wall Street with this additional post from Tom Atlee on Occupy Wall Street

    "Both alternative and mainstream media are filling up with it, trying to understand, trying to suppress, trying to spin, trying to ride the wave, trying to contribute to the motion,

    ' turning, turning, turning, turning up, turning down, turning toward, turning away, turning, turning...The tidal wave is turning, turning;We turn around and find we care.Kaleidoscopes keeps circling, circling... and (r)evolution's in the air... "Little wheels spin and spin, big wheels turn around and around..." -- Buffy Sainte-Marie

    "The derivation of "converse" is "to turn together." And the derivation of "evolve" is "to roll out." It is well we should learn to do both these things elegantly. Coheartedly, Tom"

    The full piece by Tom and the third article on Occupy Wall street are the lead essay at his posterous blog.

    Thanks again, Krisztian, for affording this additional opportunity to hail the good work of "Occupy Wall Street"
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      Oct 11 2011: Lindsay,


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      Oct 11 2011: I think they need to believe there is one unifying voice and message so they can dismiss it.

      People like me muddy the waters by joining in. I'm not a trustafarian. I'm not unemployed. I own a business which screws with their "start your own business and do it your way" response.

      Truly, I do not have time this week, and I am STILL going there even if just for a short bit. We launched a national campaign yesterday and this weekend I have to be at a conference (which is fortunately walking distance from the protest area), but I think it is THAT important.
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        Oct 11 2011: Gisela,

        First Congratulations on the launch of the national campaign for your is good to know that start up companies headded by young people are still managing to grow and thrive under exemplary leadership, as you must provide.

        It is good to know too that you take time away from what must be avery demanding and challemging time for you to show support for Occupy Wall street.

        The chnages that will hopefully come from the "awakening" they are causing around the wolrd will produce a much better business for truly small businesses which have always been America's furnace creating jobs, buolding communities, fueling our economy.

        I celebrate you. I celebrate all showing support for Occupy Wall Street around the world.
  • Oct 9 2011: Thanks Linda E., you hit the nail on the head. I protested in the 60's & there was much to protest about then as there is now, so no wonder it all seems fractured. I do feel all Americans need to take a good long in the mirror at themselves first though. We have been used & abused by businesses & our own elected officals, so much over the years & we just let them do it, knowing full well what was going on. I could state chapter & verse here but I won't & you all get the picture if you're an American anyway.
  • Oct 8 2011: I agree with the movement as an expression of frustration with the fact that rich people pay much less taxes than they used to, certain types of corporations receives huge tax breaks and bankers/investors cause havoc in financial markets without bearing direct and personal responsibility.

    This movement is about fair distribution of wealth so that companies, bankers, investors etc. receive a reasonable compensation and take on responsibility for their actions. They should not just receive bonuses but also pay for damages they comit due to negligence or pure abuse of the financial system?
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    Oct 7 2011: No doubt man. I understand why people are fustrated. A positive alternative is much needed. Little strides can be made though and the first one is getting someone in office that has a healthy distrust of the federal government (ie Ron Paul ;) ) the most effective one though I think is a nation wide boycott on the companies,ceos that are running the economy in the ground. But lets face it most people are not prepared to do this. The way real change will come is if people allow themselves to be uncomfortable for a while. To not indulge in excessive consumerism. Think about it-these people have power and influence because of supply and demand these folks that want to hit them where it hurts need to hit em in the wallet. Otherwise, it seems to me any other srategy is just a waste of time.
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    Oct 7 2011: I think I would be more worried if there weren't people there at all. Apathy will be the true signal of the deterioration of society. As long as we have people that will stand up for what they believe in, even if it is one man with a picket sign, then I know that all hope is not lost for America.

    America has never been satisfied with status quo, and striving to be better than our natural inclinations is a sign of true progress.
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    Oct 7 2011: Please make yourself count at :

    "We stand with you in this struggle for real democracy. Together we can end the capture and corruption of our governments by corporate and wealthy elites, and hold our politicians accountable to serve the public interest. We are united - the time for change has come!"

    Juan can you put link in your post porfavor!
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    Oct 7 2011: Yes, I fully agree with this movement and this protest.

    I think understanding anything precedes the changes that are needed. We are all still just exploring the issues as is obvious by several of the threads here on TED. This is not a small problem. It is a huge problem with many tentacles. In order to understand something, most scientists bring it out into the light.

    The Wall St. protest is making it clear that the shenanigans are no longer sub rosa, clandestine or cloaked. WE SEE YOU! is the spirit of what is happening here. All the time I was busy raising kids and living a productive life, I assumed that good would win and that good people were running the show. Conspiracy theories rolled off my back. Now I think that I should have listened more closely and paid more attention. Many people who were labeled as cranks, criminals and crazies by corporate PR machines were honestly telling a truth that no one wanted to hear.

    It has gotten to the point of your neighbours losing their homes because they relied on the education that they got that taught them that tomorrows money was worth more than today and that you could take the financial advise you got from bankers 'to the bank". After all the American government let you write off the interest that you paid on your homes. In other countries people are starving because of speculation policies and food hoarding NOT shortages of food. Death by greed is a reality of this day and age and it has to be confronted.
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    Oct 7 2011: I think that the people of OccupyWallStreet movement are making it worse for themselves. I understand their lives aren't as good as they want them to be because of the economy, but going out and protesting isn't going to solve that. Protesting not only creates uncertainty, but it also won't accomplish anything.
    Protesting creates fears of reforms and uncertainty of the future. That is what businesses do NOT want. Businesses want to be able to predict the future so they can calculate whether or not they can afford a new employee in the future. If businesses don't want to spend money, our economy will only get worse.
    Secondly protesting against the most powerful people in world won't get you far. What will you get them to do, agree that they are being over paid and agree to take cuts to their pay check? Let's get real, the only thing these protests will accomplish is worsening our current economic situation.
    In short: This movement will only make things worse for the people that are protesting.
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      Oct 7 2011: The businesses being protested do want to predict the future, they want to legislate it. That is why it was not covered in the media immediately. Let's just see if this thing will blow over. It hasn't, thankfully.
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      Oct 7 2011: That's pathetic - in the actual meaning of the word, not the teenage boy usage.

      This response demonstrates just how far we have moved from business as actual production of value and sales to a giant process of gaming the system.

      In the past 20 years we have seen attempts to mimic profitability by: merging and consolidation, dropping wages from the books, moving production overseas, etc. - EVERYTHING except actually increasing the revenue earned. It Is quarter-to-quarter short term thinking, and it is precisely what has gotten us into this mess.

      So, given that I have the right and freedom to go down and protest this behaviour, I fully plan to do it.
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        Oct 10 2011: I highly disagree with your statement about the revenue. Not only does it move away from the topic, but it also has no statistical backing. If you look at the financial statements of 3 of the biggest companies on the Dow Index, you will find that their revenue is growing each year. Aside from that, what do you want accomplished from these protests? That the companies hire you as their new consultant so that you can increase their revenue. If you disagree with companies current business model, which you do, start your own business and out-do the big companies instead of going out and protesting about it. You'll make jobs and actually contribute to our economy; neither of which you'll be doing while protesting.
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          Oct 10 2011: Did you somehow miss the entire 90s and what's happened in the 2000s so far? Did you miss the promise that forming megacorps like Time-Warner-AOL-anything else they could eat would somehow magically make revenue appear through consolidation? When that blew over, the trend was to cut staff to make it look as though there was more revenue by taking salaries off the books.

          I own a business.

          I am taking the afternoon off to join the protests. As I said elsewhere, the complete lack of ethics demonstrated damages consumer confidence affecting ALL levels of business.

          I don't want them to hire me as a consultant - it seems they are already taking advice from the Underwear Gnomes as their consulting team.

          Why is it that people like you who run around ranting about your personal rights seem to object so when others exercise theirs? Free speech! Free speech! Free speech! - unless I say something you don't like. Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Unless I protest your sacred cow.

          Off to get your talking points now?
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      Oct 7 2011: Dear Emil, I hear in your words the echo of every era where those who believed that collaboration or compromise with evil would keep it at bay. It never works. No one could 'accommodate' the Nazis, the conquistadors, the invaders. You either fight for what is right or you watch as your friends and neighbours lose their homes and watch as people in other countries starve and know that you are part of the problem and not part of the solution. How long before it is your life and your kids lives that have no value? How long before you start wondering why no one has the integrity to help when you are being carted off?

      It is better to act as early in a problem as possible. We are a hundred years behind. When the Rockefellers and the Carnegies murdered their striking workers, corporations should have been put on a leash.

      From Wikipedia- a list of people known to have been robber barons- the creme de la creme of American society: ist of businessmen who were called robber barons

      John Jacob Astor (real estate, fur)—New York City
      Andrew Carnegie (steel)—Pittsburgh and New York
      Jay Cooke (finance)—Philadelphia
      Charles Crocker (railroads)—California
      Daniel Drew (finance)—New York
      James Buchanan Duke (tobacco)— Durham, North Carolina
      James Fisk (finance)—New York
      Henry Morrison Flagler (railroads, oil, the Standard Oil company)—New York and Florida
      Henry Clay Frick (steel)—Pittsburgh and New York City
      John Warne Gates (barbed wire)
      Jay Gould (railroads)--New York
      Edward Henry Harriman (railroads)—New York
      Mark Hopkins (railroads)—California
      Andrew W. Mellon (finance, oil)—Pittsburgh
      J. P. Morgan (finance, industrial consolidation)—New York City
      Henry B. Plant (railroads)—Florida
      John D. Rockefeller (oil), Cleveland, New York
      Charles M. Schwab (steel) Pittsburgh and New York
      John D. Spreckels (sugar)— California
      Leland Stanford (railroads)—California
      Joseph Seligman (banking)
      Cornelius Vanderbilt (water transport, railroads)--New York
      Charles Tyson Yerkes (street railroads) Chi
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        Oct 7 2011: Great list of people called Robber Barons so lets add Barack Obama, Solyendra, Democratic Party, Unions in all forms, any one working in Washington who works for the feds, teh IRS, EPA, AEC etc. any sitting congress person cronies and aides, and anyone who makes more than I do as a teacher :) (actually the last is a joke)
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          Oct 7 2011: I notice that the guy who created a few billion dollar messes is not mentioned in your post James. Where is George W. Bush? Cheney?
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        Oct 10 2011: I agree with you that there are unethical practices in big companies and in government, but not in everyone is a thief. If we go out and protest, the corrupt people will not turn themselves in. It's why we have things like the SEC. The problem isn't in the 1% controlling 99%, it's the rampant corruption and I agree with you on that. The solution is not to go out and protest, but to fight this corruption. Protesting =/= fighting corruption.
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          Oct 10 2011: I agree that not all people in any profession are corrupt. I agree that protests do not have the ability to correct the problems immediately but I think you minimize the potential of letting legislators, SEC officials, boards of directors and our fellow citizens of the world know that we are all in agreement that something must be done not later but NOW. We have the will and we will no longer stand by and watch the exploitation of our trust, of our fellow citizens and of the systems that our ancestors built, Neither our governments nor our regulating bodies should be allowed to be prostituted in these ways which are becoming institutionalized ways of doing business.
          The first step is to communicate and that is being done loud and clear by people of all walks of life. Next comes empowerment and action!
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        Oct 10 2011: This a reply to the above reply^ cause I can't reply to that one:P
        I agree with everything you just said, but I'm not convinced that protesting is the way to do it. I'm not sure how I would inform the masses, but protesting just seems so distasteful to me.
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      Oct 10 2011: Well the funny part is many protesters are smart, educated, determined ( prompting up a make shift city will little financial resources and maintaining it , is really hard work) yet they still don't have jobs, or have jobs that they are overqualified for. That and protesting against the powerful is exactly how one gains right, and resources. Hell if everyone was like you we would still be burning people for witchcraft and live under the whim of a monarch. Yes if you are lucky you will get by but future generations won't own you thanks for any social progress.
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        Oct 10 2011: Almost all of the people on Wall Street are QUALIFIED to be there. They all graduate top tier universities and have top notch connections.
        What do you want the "powerful" to do? Create a salary cap for themselves? Give you their money? I want to know, what do the people apart of Occupy Wall Street want to happen? And don't give me the "1% own 99%, we want to change that" statement. Tell me something along the lines of a new law.
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          Oct 10 2011: I'm not arguing the competency of wall street, I'm not even suggesting salary cap, but only that they are regulated in a way that take in account the ramification of their actions. This is not a unique idea. If I'm a doctor I cannot give patients poor advice that will lead people to seek further treatment if followed, with the only intention that it will grow my practice. Bankers seem not to have this legally enforced level of decency. The obvious reality is if there are better regulations in place the wealth distribution would look different.
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          Oct 10 2011: They are clearly not MORALLY qualified to be there.

          People who have so totally lost their way so that they are able to dismiss the exploitation of millions of people should not be leading us on Wall St. or in government or anywhere else.

          When one person exploits another and ruins or takes that person's life one on one, we have laws to deal with it. When it is done on the scale of thousands, millions or whole countries and nations- we have no real provision for dealing with it and it is time that we did!
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    Oct 12 2011: To suggest I've bought into your unique perception of some false dichotomy which "rathers . . people did neither" is a bit daft. Few folks have the luxury or ability to walk away from 6-7 figure salary ranges, simply because they recognize the American "model" for dying has lost its way and is in desperate need of change.

    Certainly - anyone can chose to do both or any variation on that theme. But as we all have a finite amount of time and energy to work with in this mortal coil, I prefer to ensure that mine is spent in ways which can and do effect change. To each his own.
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      Oct 12 2011: "To each his own" is an interesting shift from the prescriptives you were issuing in earlier posts.

      It is at least a stance I can respect.
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      Oct 12 2011: OK, we get it: you're too cool to protest with the trustafarians.

      What are you actually doing? Meaning, other than tearing other people down, what are you doing to build something up?
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        Oct 12 2011: Taught English abroad and here in Texas where >50% of the population's first language is not English. I work with both cancer research and NPO's to get money where it can be used for the greater good. And I returned to school to effect a post-Wall St career change into hospice counseling. To paraphrase Ghandi, I'm busy "being the change I want to see in the world."

        So - that's why I perceive it as huge waste of vibrant energy. Energy that could be used quite effectually in more focused and meaningful ways.

        [And sorry if I breached some sort of protocol with posting the article link - in every other social media platform, it ia customary to revisit threads when your reading has turned up something relevant]
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          Oct 12 2011: touché
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          Oct 12 2011: Well then, I fail to see why you have bought into the false dichotomy that is usually the domain of those like Krisztián who would really rather that people did neither of the two options. (You know the argument, "why are you wasting time trying to save whales when there are so many homeless human beings?")

          Is there a particular reason why a person cannot do both?
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    Oct 11 2011: Juan --

    Occupy Wallstreet is of value for raising awareness. To succeed it must:

    1. Continue
    2. Evolve in ways that capture sustained media
    3. Capture the attention of middle-class people, this will require them navigate the view that they are "hippies" and "outsiders" to the reality that the problems they are addressing are the problems of middle-class majorities.
    4. Hold their positions, but also connect to robust parallel movements.

    Here is a TEDConversation regards another movement that can help them with all of the above:

    All can be part of what Nobel Peace Prize winning economist Elinor Ostrom calls "polycentric" culture change. Basically this means they must not only "connect the dots" between their interests and those of others, but also overlap with them. This overlap can make all stronger and support the mass populist voice that is required to catalyze meaningful policy and behavioral change.

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    Oct 11 2011: Here are two wonderful links with a quote from each via modern wisdom master Tom Atlee
    Occupying Wall Street: What Went Right?
    J.A. Myerson: "Of all the criticisms being hurled at Occupy Wall Street, the most substantively interesting is the issue of scale. How large can the living-society portion of the occupation grow, dependent as it is on a reasonably small living space and an inspiringly simple if limited amplification system? Questions like this are worth pondering, and I’ll be taking some of them up here at Truthout in the coming weeks, but let us pause for a moment to consider how astonishing it is that this is a concern at all."

    Where the 99 Percent Get their Power
    Sarah van Gelder: "Powerful movements build not on a laundry list of policy demands, but on principles and values.... Powerful movements create their own spaces where they can shift the debate, and the culture, to one that better serves. That’s why showing up in person at the occupy sites is so critical to this movement’s success. In hundreds of communities around North America, people are showing up to make a statement and to listen to each other. They are also teaching one another to facilitate meetings, to take nonviolent direct action, to make their own media. They are taking care of each other, gathering food supplies, blankets, and clothes that can allow people to remain outdoors even as the weather gets wetter and colder."
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      Oct 11 2011: "modern wisdom master"? :D
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        Oct 11 2011: K,

        I am not at all surprised that Tom Atlee and his work on wise governance is not front and center on your radar screen or your reading list. He does most of his work from his non-profit , the Co-Intelligence Institute...not that I think you'll check it out.

        L :D
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        Oct 11 2011: Of course not..

        I suggest we not feed this silly diversion off the main topic any more..what is happening with Occupy Wall Street is too important for such nonsense.

        I encourage everyone to read the links I posted on Occupy Wall Street and ignore this silly diversion.
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          Oct 11 2011: well, i believe the guys who occupy the wall street do not master modern wisdom. or maybe they are, but then this is exactly the problem.
  • Oct 10 2011: Hello!

    I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who replied. I am a 17 year old person trying to understand better this whole thing.

    What I take is that they may don't have a unified goal or a fundamental agreement, what they Do have is the spirit to see things get better and don't take this situation we live in today as the only possible reality. Does it matter if it's in Wall St, or in front of the Capitolium? The only thing that matters for me is that they stand up for all of those that want things to change but are not courageous enough to Make them change.

    As far as I'm concerned, I do would like to be part of the change and, hopefully, that's what I'll do :)
  • Oct 10 2011: These people are angry for a good reason. The movement brings awareness to their discontent quite successfully.

    That being said,
    The movement is rather unclear and doesn't have a unified logical argument. This makes it very difficult for any change to take place. Communication here is the problem. People aren't getting much beyond the outrage. I just feel that somebody needs to take charge and create a uniformed message. Our democracy should ideally function to heed the most logical argument rather than the loudest complaint.

    by the way, your English is spot on =P.
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      Oct 10 2011: I agree, but I don't think people need to go out and protest. It just gets makes everybody more nervous.
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    Oct 10 2011: Guyzz .... Can Anybody tell me Whats the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement ?

    Please support me with answers as quick as possible .... !
  • Oct 10 2011: I made a few posts below: couldn't fit all the text in. Please read in reverse order (sorry)
  • Oct 10 2011: Ironically, bankers are the least to blame, but they can still be criticized becuase they should have been more cautious about the risks they were taking by holding large positions in mortgages. Goldman Sachs is not included in that group because they managed their risks prudently.
  • Oct 10 2011: 4. Individuals lying on their mortgage applications. People who had no jobs and no income.

    5. Credit rating agencies rated bonds backed by pools of these mortgages as AAA.

    6. Because interest rates were low, cost of the mortgages to borrowers was low.

    7. Because interest rates were low, investors were eager to lend and buy products which had a higher yield, like mortgage-backed bonds.

    8. Certain tranches of mortgage-backed bonds were kept by the banks because they didn't yield enough for investors to want to buy them,. They were rated AAA by the credit-rating agencies so the banks didn't think they had much risk.

    9. Eventually the worst borrowers (sub-prime) started to default on the mortgages, the market started to find out about the problem of sub-prime, lending stopped to them.

    10. Lending to the housing market slowed, therefore buying of houses slowed. This caused house prices to go down because there had been overbuilding and excess inventory. This caused losses on mortgage backed bonds. The credit crisis then occurred.

    So, bankers are to blame?

    There are many actors in this complex system who can be blamed for not doing their job well or for abusing the system (as well as the system itself). Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the regulators (the federal reserve bank and greenspan) to monitor and oversee the system as well as politicians.

    The people who really stand out for me are:
    --people who lied on their mortgage applications --the mortgage origination companies who falsified info --the credit rating agencies for not doing better stress tests to see what affect a drop in housing prices would have --Politicians, Greenspan and the federal reserve bank for not putting a stop to the bubble
  • Oct 10 2011: Bankers are not (primarily) to blame for the credit crisis.

    It is sad and shocking how many people (even educated people) have the view that the credit crisis was caused by bankers. I guess it is not surprising that people have this view given that the politicians (in order to deflect responsibility and find a scapegoat) blamed the banks, and the mainstream press (driven by envy) swallowed it without question.

    The creating of the housing bubble and its bust is quite complicated. Not easy to explain in two sentences. Not easy to point the finger at one group.

    Public discourse doesn't handle complex problems like this well. The media and public need one simple answer: it's the fault of the jews !!!(during the economic crises in eastern europe before WWI), it's the fault of the bankers!!

    so I have tried to explain whose fault it is as briefly as I can

    Here are the steps and components in the process which created the housing bubble (just one part of the overall credit bubble), which when it burst caused the credit crisis.

    1. Very low interest rates - set by the federal reserve bank (Greenspan)

    2. Very lax bank lending rules which allowed for 100 pct financing of home purchases with zero down payment (allowed by the federal reserve bank, federal laws, and state laws). France and Canada on the other hand, which did not experience a housing bubble had federally set limits on mortgage lending capped at 70 pct of the purchase price. Given that the housing bubble created a lot of jobs (in construction for example) and allowed many more people to buy homes than would normally be feasible, it was political suicide to object to these policies - given the short term orientation of US democracy

    3. Mortgage origination companies falsifying financial details of applicants for mortgages because they get paid on volume, take no risk on lending and package the mortgages to send off to banks and other lenders.
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    Oct 9 2011: tom woods and stefan molyneux explores the theories and historical facts related to the occupy wall street event.
  • Oct 9 2011: are right, I am not denying the culpability of banks, again I have to ask is a crime a crime if it is allowed by the law? Bank fell into line with the governments to camouflage their spending. But then again what are a few billions compared to few trillions? You may belief everything you are taught in an MBA program, but let me remind you of the single fact, Iraq and Afghanistan has cost in excess of ten trillion dollars by the time it is finished. The debt incurred is not by the banks it is by the government. The money markets of the world are smiling at China, their wealth and how the US is beholden to them. If we allow banks and vital Industry to collapse without a bailout, pension funds would be devastated, saving and your 401K would be deflated to nothing and where would it leave the working people? Back in the thirties maybe? No the 'Occupy Wall Street' is nothing but a silly way to hang out by many of the ones that have nothing to gain. Demonstration and riots in Greece have nothing to gain, it cannot be changed, a Global economy is learning its downside. We Have the EU, Nafta and a multitude of trade agreements and we still have lawsuits with each others countries. All of it affects the financial stability, banks just go and loan on promises, backed by a good piece of paper. Homes were appraised a prices much higher than true value, by professionals, sold by professionals, the government made it possible to buy with little equity, now with the appraisal way out of line these homes were finance to as much as 125%. The brokers did get their twenty thousand commission, the bank got the loss and foreclosure. Again the politician created the bubble that burst in order to give the citizen the false security that everything was okay!
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    Oct 8 2011: I believe that the protestors have a general unified goal. And within that general goal are many different ideas of how to achieve that goal. The economy is bad and people are out of jobs. Some say a way to fix that is to tax the rich. Others say it is the governments fault; they are spending all of our money. So, yes, they have a unified goal, yes, they have a fundamental agreement but they do not have anything past a fundamental agreement.
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    Oct 8 2011: I can't possibly "agree" with a "movement" that prioritized wi-fi over an expressed agenda or unified goal. It's a silly and sad testimony to the general absence of true priorities in this country
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      Oct 10 2011: First I would say this movement no more prioritizes wi -fi than the protestant reformation prioritized the printing press. It just the current ways of spreading memes. Plus something like twitter can be effective in spreading basic tactical information. As for the agenda not being streamlined and reduced to a talking point keep in mind this movement is less than a month old. True democratic visions take time to mold and just because the technology people use to transmit ideas are getting faster does in no way mean people are faster at reaching consensuses with each other.

      If I were to boil down what I have heard after a couple of days of talking to different people involved I would say the main point is that the middle class is disappearing and mainly for political reason. Now what to do about this is where we have been a bit muddled, but again we are trying to take in as many point of view as possible before be form an agenda.
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        Oct 10 2011: that's a quaint but wholly inaccurate analogy, Anthony, who doesn't have enough of an attention spam to "suffer through" thirty minutes of Youtube-time

        I've worked on Wall Street and been the victim of two lay offs inside of the last 3 years, so I understand this movement [sic] from both perspectives. It is correct to assert that the middle class has gone from this country and it is also correct to link that disappearance to the plutocratic banana republic said same middle class voted (against their best interest) into office. First rule of successful communication in the boardroom, bedroom or the Brooklyn Bridge is to never mention a problem without having first sorted through possible scenarios for addressing it - without this, all you're really doing is just whining and exacerbating the problem. I've yet to see anyone associated with the Occupy demonstrations throughout the US who was able to elucidate succinctly what they were protesting against, outside of sound bytes stolen from other protestors' signs, and none of them are proposing frameworks for solutions.

        Populist anger alone does not a "movement" make . . .
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          Oct 10 2011: I would not be overly judgmental about my attention "spam," but yes I was a bit busy that day and I could not devote a half hour of my time to something that I did not know anything about. My point was that WI-Fi is not what this debate is about. Its just an efficient way of spreading memes. Not much different than what we do on TED. I do agree with you that this movement does need to be more clearly designed, but that takes time especially in political structures that are organized in a bottom up pattern. If we had the equivalent of the Kock brothers this would go much smother, but it was also leave out of the process the people we are trying to empower. I think it is naive to think a bunch of people can just come together with a grievance, have a solution in hand and be ready demonstrate. The reality is a people come together they talk, spread pamphlets , yes even twitter (which I tend to agree is horrible for spreading ideas) , and then are in a position to come up with solutions.
  • Oct 8 2011: Yes you could protest the banks and the involvement of the IMF, but remember the IMF is a political money institution, government borrow from them, bonds are issued through them, it is a fallacy to ignore the G8 influence on the international money markets and its international obligations. It is the Government of the US, Greece and Spain and Portugal, Ireland and Italy that have caused the world wide debt structure. Noy your lttle cornerbank. Social costs and benefits have created in the US a deficit of 14 trillion dollars. That is more than the whole banking structure in the US is supporting. Again the Governments have opened the barndoor and the horse has long gone. consumer pressure is not alone the fault. The Governments desire to retain a financial voting block and to maintain their financial voting power or lobby has allowed the Millionaires and Billionaires pay less in taxes then you or most of the middle class. All cut come from the needy, all savin g affect the poor, at this point 15% of the US population is below the poverty line, how many of them are protesting when they lost their Jobs and Homes.
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    Oct 7 2011: Guess I forgot them also most leaders of third world nations should be there and heads of any form of government bigger than a house hold
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    Oct 7 2011: AS I understand the movement it reminds me of growing up in the 60's when people with nothing to do protested everything from the Vietnam war to fluoride in water. Many of the hated the "man" and now many of them are the "man". They despised the rich and became the yuppies etc. Time will tell how much the under worked over pampered Wall street protesters really hate democracy when they are driving the BMW's, flying in corporate jets, living off government welfare, using the latest IPAD, and paying $500.00 per plate to be at the latest dinner for the latest president. It is a fad at best and a tool of the administration to bring in martial law at the worst. Many said we would end up like Greece and Europe and these may be the first steps along the way to that type of rioting. Would it not be better if they spent their times trying to create jobs or helping the needy, visiting those in hospitals, or many many other things they could be doing instead of trying to get 15 seconds of fame?
  • Oct 7 2011: Wall Street is a myth, the Bears or the Bull are not to blame, they are statues. But look at the USA, the country is so deep in debt it may take your grandchildrens childen to still suffer. Wars that were started on false pretenses and cost enough money to resurrect George Washington in anger. You have to blame governments, not banks, blame politicians not bankers blame free spending in the society, that is yourself. The war Industry is, like Eisenhower said, something to beware of. The protesters are misdirected going to wall street, go and demonstrate at the doors of Congress, do not let them take from the poor so the millionaires can continue to clean out your pockets. When you do this against the people that are employed it serves no purpose. Changes can only come from the ruling body of the House. Get angry, absolutely get furious, but not at the guy that has to go to work in the morning, raise hell when you hear the millionaires pay less in taxes than Joe the Plumber. But protests cause riots, cause damge to the innocent bystanders, may they be police or firemen, or young people that get caught up in the moment. Remember Martin Luther King, he marched for a cause and made the government bow to the public. Wall Street has no say in it, you elected officials borrow money from china so they can flaunt their weaponry, promise to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan after they bombed the hell out of it. It is only to bad, these protesters are in all likelyhood just participants to the part, invited by twitter and Facebook. Maybe some one should rise up and direct them in their anger.
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      Oct 7 2011: Why not do both? But remember the role of the banks and bankers and the IMF as well.
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    Oct 7 2011: I think the use of and 'fight' for freedom is fantastic, but I don't think "We are the 99%" is a sufficient foundation to the 'movement' - and regardless of protesting being less effective than true action for a cause, protesting does send a strong and influential message that is better than just 'complaining.' To me, this is just a step along a process that will create change, not a final act in some grand scheme.
  • Oct 7 2011: I do not want to say if they're ingorant or they are not, but one thing I do know is that they have the courage that most of us are missing.

    I agree with you when you say that there are some things you can not achieve by complaining but then, how do we take that motivation they have and put it into a thing that is really able to change something? What would be it?