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CypressDahlia
10-23-2011, 08:54 AM
What are your opinions on this (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/occupy_wall_street/2011/10/23/2011-10-23_a_day_in_the_life_at_occupy_wall_street.html).. .um..."movement"?

Legit? Overly-sensationalized?

IMO, it's a bunch of people with very real problems that represent themselves in a very shitty way.

GunZet
10-23-2011, 08:59 AM
I think it's part hype, part truth, and part people on the side taking advantage of the hype. Either way I haven't paid much attention to it...but it's sorta hard to miss.

CypressDahlia
10-23-2011, 09:03 AM
Considering how much of a public obstruction it is, I'd figure yeah. There was one here in Philly a week or so ago. TBH, I'm growing kind of weary of protests in America (or most first-world countries), as it often ends up being about the protestors and not the actual message. As I said regarding the London riots: it's only a matter of time before the actual point is lost and this just turns into another forgettable "police brutality" fiasco.

Sylux
10-23-2011, 09:06 AM
Capitalism is the greatest.

CypressDahlia
10-23-2011, 09:14 AM
TBH I don't even think this is an issue of capitalism, which is a term being flung around wayyy too carelessly. Essentially all OWS protestors are fighting for capitalism...they just want to reset the wealth distribution so they have a second chance at getting ahead in the game. Ultimately, it's just a lot of people asking "why am I not rich?"

Kodos
10-23-2011, 09:17 AM
It's pointless. Peaceful protest has never accomplished anything against tyrants.

Hamachi
10-23-2011, 09:41 AM
Capitalism? They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means.

Bacon_Barbarian
10-23-2011, 09:43 AM
IMO, it's a bunch of people with very real problems that represent themselves in a very shitty way.

This. Very much so this.


It's pointless. Peaceful protest has never accomplished anything against tyrants.

*cough* Ghandi? Or were the British not tyrants?

Kodos
10-23-2011, 11:23 AM
Gandhi's movement, like all successful 'peaceful' protests, carried behind it it the implicit threat of violence. Gandhi did not occur in a vacuum. Behind him were countless other Indian freedom fighters who were willing, and sometimes did, use violent means to try and cast off the British. And that's without getting into the fact that India was costing a lot of money to control, and in many ways the Brits were just kind of tired of doing it. Plus international opinion was turning against colonialism.

The fact that Western culture so heavily promotes peaceful protest and idealizes men like Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. is not because peaceful protest works (it doesn't) or because these were great men (well, they were, but that's not why) - but because it is in the best interests of oppressors that oppressed people be non-violent and when pushed resort to ineffectual non-violent countermeasures.

Fenn
10-23-2011, 11:27 AM
Well your statement "Ghandi did not occur in a vacuum" works both ways. The valiant freedom fighters were not alone in opposing oppresion. Are you arguing that removing the peaceful element of the protests would have made no tangible difference to the movement?

Kodos
10-23-2011, 11:36 AM
No. But I am arguing that peaceful protest by itself has never and will never accomplish anything meaningful against tyrants, while violent opposition has and can. And the violence, also, need not be explicit and realized - potential violence, as I have said, can suffice.

Fenn
10-23-2011, 11:38 AM
No. But I am arguing that peaceful protest by itself has never and will never accomplish anything meaningful against tyrants, while violent opposition has and can. And the violence, also, need not be explicit and realized - potential violence, as I have said, can suffice.

Well sure. Standing in a mob saying "stop that!" is about as effective as a passive mother muttering "now don't do that!" as her son runs rampant.

Kodos
10-23-2011, 11:51 AM
And that's all America is doing. Or will do. And that's why America is beyond fixing.

Bacon_Barbarian
10-23-2011, 12:01 PM
Or will do? *cough* Vietnam protestors *cough* *cough* Civil Rights movement *cough* The Occupy Wall Street movement may be poorly conducted, but I wouldn't be that surprised if it manages to pull something together.

Fenn
10-23-2011, 01:32 PM
And that's all America is doing. Or will do. And that's why America is beyond fixing.

well that's quite pessimistic. You don't think that, if things get bad enough, something will snap and people will break the apathy?

CypressDahlia
10-23-2011, 01:56 PM
From what I recall, the most effective of Gandhi's tactics was getting Indian workers and farmers to go on massive strikes. They beat the system by shutting it down, since it was so dependent on them (at least, in that area). I don't think Americans have the balls to quit their jobs to make a point, though, especially since the price of comfort is oh so high these days.

IMO force is equally ineffective against a larger predominant force as they would've just been squashed just like how the OWS people are being squashed by local authorities. Instead, they gotta internalize the attack, realize the role they play in the system and sabotage it. But I doubt that would be very successful either considering how job-hungry Americans are right now. For every person that quits there will be 10 that apply for work.

Delphinus
10-23-2011, 08:12 PM
See that's the thing about protest movements; they only work if most people want them to succeed.

How many Americans care about Occupy Wall Street?

Bacon_Barbarian
10-23-2011, 08:15 PM
More then you would think. Very interesting article in Time this week talking about the "Silent Majority." And it's not like the Occupy event is an American only movement. It's happening all across the West (at least).

Blue_Dragon
10-23-2011, 09:40 PM
A lot of people care about the movement, and would like to leave their jobs to protest, but literally can't do so. And it's not that they don't want more rights, or want things to be fair: it's that realistically they have to put food on the table. They may want the movement to work, but can't be part of it.

I agree that a movement won't work if 10 people leave the job, but are easily replaced. That's obviously true. But I don't agree that those people taking the jobs don't want the movement to work. It's kinda like blaming the Black Migrants for taking jobs and busting up the Irish strike protests (in Chicago, back in the day.) Sure, as a result, the strikes were broken, and it was because the migrants took those jobs: but look at it from their point of view--they had hungry mouths to feed, too, and had little opportunity to make any money. Did they want more rights? Sure they did. But when you're pitted against survival and the alternative, you're going to pick survival more often than not.

I guess I'm just mincing words, trying to say there are lots of Americans who do care, but can't just uproot themselves and make their situation worse for a cause they have no guarantee will succeed. They support it, but they can't be a part of it.

I personally wish the movement would become more focused and precise in what they intend to achieve. They've set some ideas here and there and an overall ideal, but I feel to be successful they need to be more succinct in what they want, and how they think it should be executed. Just sitting around disrupting sidewalks and traffic isn't going to get results. And I heard they "didn't want to get political" (please correct me if I'm wrong, this was word of mouth from someone else) which is silly cause the whole thing is tied in politics and they actually have the Unions on their side. If anyone know more, please inform me. I'm a bit out of the loop, which is shameful.

Hamachi
10-23-2011, 09:41 PM
Call me cynical, but pushing for a social welfare economy is useless. Ideally, redistributing income will lower the chances of effective investment in capital (stuff you use to make goods) so a capitalist system is innately geared to make the most profits. Yes, you'll have power-hungry money grubbers who hoard all the wealth. That sucks, but getting a clumsy bureaucratic system to siphon money out of all the top corporations will mean worse profits for everyone.

If given the choice, I'd be satisfied if (a) everyone in my college got $50 and a single person got, say, $500,000 instead of a situation where (b) everyone got $5. In other words: getting equal shares of money does not always mean you'll get more money.

Bacon_Barbarian
10-23-2011, 09:43 PM
Funny statistic I found. It was the CEO to Laborer/Worker ratio. It's ridiculous. I'll try and find it for y'all.

Blue_Dragon
10-23-2011, 09:58 PM
Find it. And post it.

Please :) I like others to do my b*tch work. (Just playin')

Bacon_Barbarian
10-23-2011, 09:59 PM
Not what I originally had, but it's very close and brings does a good job of ... Well ... Stating (what I think is) the obvious.

Corporate Pay Watch (http://www.aflcio.org/corporatewatch/paywatch/)

CypressDahlia
10-24-2011, 03:04 AM
I don't think the rich are necessarily getting richer, just average people are getting poorer. Notice that the highest points are during the Great Depression era and the height of our recent recession. Basically the statistic becomes more evident when the average people are not working and/or losing their investments. CEOs don't have to worry about that. They have too much stake in their native company and practically write their own paychecks.

So it's pretty misguided to get mad at rich people for being rich. The question they should ask is "why the fuck are we getting so poor and how can we fix it?"

Son44
10-24-2011, 06:46 PM
CypressDahlia: The rich have gotten richer:
http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

I support the "Occupy Wallstreet" movement. The reason for this is that they are trying to do something. You can't go through the political channels in the USA with the policies they want. Why? The corporations and Wallstreet. The candidate would be blacklisted from the media (hello kucinich!), recieve almost no donations, would be targeted, indirectly, by so many lobby organizations and be the target of so many smear campaigns as well that the candidate wouldn't stand a chance. If you threaten them you can say goodbye to the white house ( again, Hello Kucinich and (newcomer) Ron Paul!).
Sadly the protest moevement isn't well organized and I agree that they should put forth a political agenda and if they have one, maket it more clear.

I think it was Hamachi who commented that distributing wealth doesn't work. As Frankling D. Roosevelt said: "Look to Norway" and you should do that as well Hamachi. Anyway, back to the topic:

I see these protesters as a natural response to corporatism, much like marxism was a response to capitalism in 1800s. The American systems is fucked up because you have been brainwashed (sublte brainwashing, mind you) to belive that the guys on wallstreet don't need rules or regulations because the government will just be in the way, they have their own secure and good system that never suffers from any corruption, that the trickle down principle works, there is no speculation and that they want to make you wealthy. No they don't. Unless it's specialized goods or services they'll be happy to move that factory to China in order to cut down on wages, pensions etc.

Personally I hope the thing they described in the Zeitgeist movie will "happen" and we'll see the economy change from money to resources. We can't go on like this.

CypressDahlia
10-24-2011, 07:27 PM
There is no evidence there to suggest that the rich have gotten richer, only that the average American has gotten poorer in comparison. Unless, of course, you take "rich" and "poor" as purely relative terms, in which case the wealth gap has increased recently. The 'average income' charts are misleading in the sense that they do not scale to inflation. More inflation = bigger numbers, naturally. We're comparing figures from 1979, when the cost of a gallon of gas was 86 cents.

That's not to say the wealth gap isn't increasing, but surely there are plenty of other dominant factors than "rich people being rich". The reason I can't really get behind Occupy Wall Street is because they keep throwing 1% campaign slogans at me instead of telling me what their objectives are.

Son44
10-25-2011, 06:25 AM
Cype: Actually it has been scaled to inflation using the 2007 dollar as a standard.
Jump to page 46:
http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_589.pdf

The wealthgap has also increased a lot since the 1970s in the states.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/01/Gini_since_WWII.svg

I can see what the OWS is getting at. They're simply sick of the top 1% being able do to whatever they want without anyone being able to stop them. No politicians, lawyers etc. Again, I agree. They should put forward an agenda.
Hey, atleast they're doing something.

Delphinus
10-25-2011, 07:41 AM
The candidate would be blacklisted from the media (hello kucinich!), recieve almost no donations, would be targeted, indirectly, by so many lobby organizations and be the target of so many smear campaigns as well that the candidate wouldn't stand a chance. If you threaten them you can say goodbye to the white house ( again, Hello Kucinich and (newcomer) Ron Paul!).


The American systems is fucked up because you have been brainwashed (sublte brainwashing, mind you) to belive that the guys on wallstreet don't need rules or regulations because the government will just be in the way, they have their own secure and good system that never suffers from any corruption, that the trickle down principle works, there is no speculation and that they want to make you wealthy.


Personally I hope the thing they described in the Zeitgeist movie will "happen" and we'll see the economy change from money to resources. We can't go on like this.

A little paranoid here. In addition, Zeitgeist is just neo-Communism and would fail for exactly the same reasons every other communist state has failed in instituting a utopia.

In my opinion, it would make more sense to gradually change economic policy to give greater regulatory powers to the state, while still allowing capitalism as a system to flourish: comparisons of economic systems over time have shown that capitalism is the most efficient in producing wealth and suffers the least leakages of cash. Where that wealth goes is the problem, but I have no problem with there being an unequal distribution of resources: it motivates those who are poor to succeed, except in cases where it's impossible for them to succeed (such as in many disadvantaged areas nowadays), in which case it becomes more likely that they'll turn to crime as a way of succeeding through non-traditional channels.

What I suppose I'm advocating is a regulated capitalist system. This wouldn't be socialist, because socialism, for me, means 'the government controlling most of the wealth'; it's redundant to talk about socialism as we used to, given the welfare state, state schooling etc. can be called broadly socialist. Instead, the government would promote equal opportunity - meritocracy. The ultimate aim would be to make state schooling, healthcare, etc. as good and as efficient as the best private services, meaning that, no matter what background someone comes from, they have the opportunity to succeed if they have the will.

Even in a case where a neo-communist society were successfully instated, it would lead to a stagnation. Think about it: if you can't gain anything through working harder, what incentive do you have to work? Indeed, if everyone gets the same amount, no matter the effort they put in, then nobody has any reason to work. This is part of the reason why the Soviet Union collapsed: why wouldn't it happen to this fictional, fantastic state called "Zeitgeist"? Zeitgeist is modernist bullshit.

CypressDahlia
10-25-2011, 08:54 AM
It's pretty computationally biased to use 2007 as a reference point when referring to wealth considering that was the pits of the recession and unemployment rates were at their highest. What that analysis shows us is that the average American has gotten comparatively less rich, not that the rich have gotten richer. In other words, they're not getting ahead, //we're// falling behind. Given the context of the data, that is entirely understandable (not acceptable, by any means, but understandable). Furthermore, maintaining that the number of households is the same now as it was in 1983 is mathematically insane considering we've grown a literal 50% in population (233m vs. 307m). If we were to use more relevant data, I'm guessing the average citizen would come out a lot poorer and the 1% would come out not so much richer.

Also, do you see a trend here? Wealth disparity comes and goes with waves of mass recession. What does that tell us?

It tells us that it's entirely misguided to sit around being mad at rich people for being rich when our real problem is the recession. The average citizen isn't making money. Consider that we never whine about the 1% until two things happen: 1.) their taxes get cut or 2.) we get poorer. In other words, it only becomes an issue when we're comparatively poor and our tax burden is high. So instead of sitting around acting like rich people are suddenly stealing our money, let's instead find a way to lower our tax burden, raise theirs and get some jobs while we're at it. My one big complaint in all of this is that I have to compete with degree holders for starting positions at Macy's.

Chances are, after this recession passes (if it passes), nobody will give a shit about the 1%.

Son44
10-25-2011, 09:48 AM
Edit: I just noticed that due to either European/Scandinavian stupidity, or whatever you'd like to call it, that we use the word Social Democracy and Socialism interchangeably in daily life. I'm sorry. This pretty much changes the whole arguement because instead of writing socialist i would say social democracy/democrat as an ideal system. Again, I'm sorry:

Doubble Edit: I managed to remove some parts of my older post. I'll fix it right away



A little paranoid here. In addition, Zeitgeist is just neo-Communism and would fail for exactly the same reasons every other communist state has failed in instituting a utopia.


USSR was state capitalist, not socialist or marxist and even marxists and socialists in the USSR complained about this.
Secondly: Zeitgeist isn't communist because there is no money. On the other hand money was the reason why socialism and marxism appeared.



In my opinion, it would make more sense to gradually change economic policy to give greater regulatory powers to the state, while still allowing capitalism as a system to flourish: comparisons of economic systems over time have shown that capitalism is the most efficient in producing wealth and suffers the least leakages of cash. Where that wealth goes is the problem, but I have no problem with there being an unequal distribution of resources: it motivates those who are poor to succeed, except in cases where it's impossible for them to succeed (such as in many disadvantaged areas nowadays), in which case it becomes more likely that they'll turn to crime as a way of succeeding through non-traditional channels.


Of course capitalism is going to be more efficient when it's the most common system used around the world. Ideal marxism/socialism cannot exists as long as there is a majority of capitalist nations.

The last part of the paragraph - That attitude is what has caused the problem in the first place. You won't do anything because you expect they to fend for themselves, which is logical. Sadly society suffers because some people will fall off and then more will follow, especially with immigrants who have to adjust to a new culture.




What I suppose I'm advocating is a regulated capitalist system. This wouldn't be socialist, because socialism, for me, means 'the government controlling most of the wealth'; it's redundant to talk about socialism as we used to, given the welfare state, state schooling etc. can be called broadly socialist. Instead, the government would promote equal opportunity - meritocracy. The ultimate aim would be to make state schooling, healthcare, etc. as good and as efficient as the best private services, meaning that, no matter what background someone comes from, they have the opportunity to succeed if they have the will.


So you're basicly advocating social democracy. Now, I consider myself a socialist, but under the current system I support Social Democracy because (again) most countries are capitalist.



Even in a case where a neo-communist society were successfully instated, it would lead to a stagnation. Think about it: if you can't gain anything through working harder, what incentive do you have to work? Indeed, if everyone gets the same amount, no matter the effort they put in, then nobody has any reason to work. This is part of the reason why the Soviet Union collapsed: why wouldn't it happen to this fictional, fantastic state called "Zeitgeist"? Zeitgeist is modernist bullshit.

First of all, why use the USSR as an example of how motvation doesn't work? The problem with USSR was that in 80s they couldn't keep the population happy. You see, thats the biggest obstacle if you want to bring down a dictatorship: You need to make the population unhappy. Thats not an easy task, but sometimes it happens automaticly. This is what has happened in the Middle East. If you keep the population happy, but opressed, the majority won't care as long as they are well off. The best example of this is Iraq or Bosnia. A lot of Iraqis and Bosnians joke around and say that "back in the good old days...", before the liberation of their countries, they had a lot benifits and security.

Secondly: Watch this clip.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrkrvAUbU9Y

Thirdly: If you walk into any classroom around the world, you'll never hear this: "I want to become a prostitute ! I want to become a drug dealer!! I want to become an underpayed officerworker!! I want to break my legs and let the state take care of me!!!" They want to to achieve something like becoming an actor, a game designer, artist etc. No one wants to become the local guy standing in the 7/11 around the cornor or the immigrant lady cleaning the offices.

I'm just wondering, but have you watched the last Zeitgeist movie? Because you would already have known that motivation isn't an issue.

Delphinus
10-25-2011, 09:56 AM
Imma let you finish before I respond, but so far your arguments look a bit like a form letter used to respond to anything vaguely right-wing.

Hamachi
10-25-2011, 09:58 AM
Proponents of communism/welfare states/equal opportunity: Please do reading on Mises, Lange, and the Economic Calculation Problem before this discussion is continued.

Also,

comparisons of economic systems over time have shown that capitalism is the most efficient in producing wealth and suffers the least leakages of cash

Basically this.

=__=

Delphinus
10-25-2011, 12:35 PM
^ I accept the criticisms of central state control and, to reiterate, I agree with them. But at the same time, the trickle-down principle has been shown to be false, and a small degree of inefficiency is, I think you'd agree, worth it to make a system that doesn't amount to a brutal, plutocratic oligarchy. While economic growth is a good thing, by and large, it's pointless if that economic growth drops straight into the hands of a few elites while everyone else rots. Which would sum up what's happening at the moment rather well... There are also ways to circumvent the Economic Calculation Problem - Margaret Thatcher's marketisation of state education here in the UK is a great example (say what you like about the Iron Lady, she had good and bad ideas).

I'm arguing for a safety net for the poor, hopefully one that avoids the welfare trap (no idea how) and allows people to climb out of poverty. At the same time, I'm arguing for a system that enables the poor to get services every bit as efficient as those available to the rich. Perhaps these would be better overcome by providing things such as government-funded health insurance in all sectors (education etc.) rather than making things state-run, thus avoiding the Economic Calculation Problem in a similar way to Thatcher's solution to education, but we've seen how this sort of thing can fail with Medicare etc.

What I'm saying is that capitalism and meritocracy are not incompatible, it would just take some imagination and intelligence to integrate them in a favourable way.

EDIT: btw, I read up on Mises, Lange, and Economic Calculation Problem. I've heard the latter before.

Son44
10-25-2011, 03:30 PM
It's pretty computationally biased to use 2007 as a reference point when referring to wealth considering that was the pits of the recession and unemployment rates were at their highest. What that analysis shows us is that the average American has gotten comparatively less rich, not that the rich have gotten richer. In other words, they're not getting ahead, //we're// falling behind. Given the context of the data, that is entirely understandable (not acceptable, by any means, but understandable). Furthermore, maintaining that the number of households is the same now as it was in 1983 is mathematically insane considering we've grown a literal 50% in population (233m vs. 307m). If we were to use more relevant data, I'm guessing the average citizen would come out a lot poorer and the 1% would come out not so much richer.

Also, do you see a trend here? Wealth disparity comes and goes with waves of mass recession. What does that tell us?

It tells us that it's entirely misguided to sit around being mad at rich people for being rich when our real problem is the recession. The average citizen isn't making money. Consider that we never whine about the 1% until two things happen: 1.) their taxes get cut or 2.) we get poorer. In other words, it only becomes an issue when we're comparatively poor and our tax burden is high. So instead of sitting around acting like rich people are suddenly stealing our money, let's instead find a way to lower our tax burden, raise theirs and get some jobs while we're at it. My one big complaint in all of this is that I have to compete with degree holders for starting positions at Macy's.

Chances are, after this recession passes (if it passes), nobody will give a shit about the 1%.

Ok, You've got a point. Still I support these guys because they atleast try to do something, eventhough their goal might be a little of. Still it is a problem when the gap increases to the degree it has and that most americans have gotten poorer while the rich dodge taxes.

Do you think the recession will pass? Personally I don't think so. You can't walk around and expect unlimited growth with limited resources. Ofcourse if we get into outerspace that problem will be solved, most likely, but will we get there in time and who is going to finance it? Damn, I'm starting to wonder.

Edit: Cype - Found a really interesting youtube video regarding income inequality and the effects
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ7LzE3u7Bw&feature=feedu

Oh and Dell - I changed my post a bit, due to some language misunderstanding because of the usage of socialism and social democracy in Norwegian language. Still I do consider myself a supporter of socialism, but under the current system I support Social Democracy as the best alternative.

CypressDahlia
10-26-2011, 11:29 AM
I'll watch the video today.

On a side note: OWS has, indeed, become another police brutality fiasco. And such is the fate of all modern day protests. It won't be long before everyone, including the OWS themselves, forget whatever the hell they were protesting about and this just becomes another generic "the man is putting us down" movement. As of now, the only time this thing is receiving media attention of any kind is when the police are tear-gassing some people.

I keep watching Youtube videos of this stuff and I swear to god if I hear another generic hippie statement like "the little people no longer matter" in response to a much deeper question about the economic situation, I will stab someone today.

Delphinus
10-26-2011, 01:17 PM
^ Ahahaha expecting protesters to be clever. I bet if most of them had the opportunity to be as rich as the top 1% they'd say 'fuck you all' and take it. Most of those hippies are only doing it to make themselves feel superior to other people.

Son44
10-26-2011, 01:23 PM
^ Ahahaha expecting protesters to be clever. I bet if most of them had the opportunity to be as rich as the top 1% they'd say 'fuck you all' and take it. Most of those hippies are only doing it to make themselves feel superior to other people.

Complaining about the top 1% = feel superior to other people... What?

CypressDahlia
10-26-2011, 01:55 PM
Meaning capitalism is a game of winners and losers. Losers wanna be winners.

Son44
10-26-2011, 01:59 PM
Meaning capitalism is a game of winners and losers. Losers wanna be winners.

But he refers to "other people" and not top 1% or "would be feeling superior the 99% below"... Doesn't make any sense. Btw. did you watch the video?

Delphinus
10-26-2011, 02:59 PM
But he refers to "other people" and not top 1%

Superior to sheeple, in the same way as conspiracy nuts or the more annoying type of vegetarian.

CypressDahlia
10-26-2011, 04:04 PM
99% is not really even accurate anyway. Technically the upper 60th percentile is living okay to comfortably. If anything, OWS represents the lower 40th percentile of Americans and even that number is somewhat diluted by the fact that we have so many left-over baby boomers, creating a disproportionately large number of people in retirement (0 income) as of current.

Delphinus
10-26-2011, 06:24 PM
Just because they're living "okay to comfortably", it doesn't mean they can't be annoyed at not sharing anything near the level of luxuries the super-rich enjoy. In addition, when OWS brings up "the rich", it means "the super-rich" - the top 0.01% would be more accurate than the top 1%.

CypressDahlia
10-26-2011, 06:56 PM
In a capitalist society, is it really reasonable to be annoyed that someone isn't sharing their personal wealth with you? I understand being annoyed by deceit, or by beating cheated out of money such and such. But being angry just because you're not as rich as the other guy is kind of the point of a system based on personal incentive. You're not supposed to be.

Either way, I'd argue the real issue is (or should be) that the average American is not getting the opportunities they once had to make money. Being mad because you're not rich is kind of mehhh~

Delphinus
10-26-2011, 06:59 PM
Being mad and not doing anything is pretty stupid, but symptomatic of some sort of wider problem. Probably the problem of an instant gratification-based culture.

The problem is the lack of opportunity, yeah.

Blue_Dragon
10-27-2011, 06:29 AM
Dudes, I don't think it's so much that everyone is mad at the rich. I mean, yeah, the disgustingly rich are often just a waste of space and resources (Paris Hilton,) but people aren't just pissed because "he's rich and I'm not." That's over simplifying it. People are mad about things like the bailouts of banks and companies, with very little repercussions to the CEOs who screwed up, while the average American isn't given hardly any aid and certainly not bailouts. Unless you're actually poor, or know how to work the system, it's hard to catch a break. And even those who are poor getting aid, it's not like their life is stress free (you know that, duh.) The average person, unlike a big corporation or bank, just isn't important enough.

People are getting pissed about how the rich want taxes cut, even though they can afford it. What the f*ck?! People are mad because they're being laid off from their jobs and the banks are repossessing their homes they had to take mortgages on for whatever reason (sometimes it's because they buy a house that's too costly, other times they don't have the spare cash for major problems.) People are mad because it's getting harder and harder for the majority to basically support themselves reasonably. I'm pissed I have 8 years of college and I'm working two shit jobs that pay minimum wage and suck. I don't mind cleaning offices, it's respectable work that needs to be done, but I should only need one job to survive, not two. I still don't make enough for my bills I'm trying to pay back.

I'm probably just going on a b*tch rant, and I'm sorry for that. I just keep reading people's opinions here, and on facebook, and elsewhere, and some of the responses are so cold and just... ridiculous (not on this site, but others.) I don't have any answers, but I am getting a little pissed how condescending a lot of people are towards these protesters. Some of them are probably just trying feel self-righteous and blow themselves up as these great intellectuals. But those types are in any crowd, not just the OWS.

Others are truly pissed. I know how they feel. I have that debt. No, I don't feel everyone else should pay for it, but I do think I shouldn't be taken advantage of with such high interest either. The cost of college texts books is rape. Sorry, that's it. $200 for a new text with no used options (and even those high priced online or otherwise) is ludicrous, and wrong. Its hard to keep up with re-payments with part-time minimum wage jobs, and every time you can't make it--more interest. Late fees (which should just be outlawed--if one paid their shit late, it's probably cause they didn't have it. Piling on bullshit fees like this is just a way for them to make it so that you virtually NEVER get out from under them.)

The majority/lower income people expect their government to protect their interests and livelihood as well. Sure, we can't donate as much to the campaign, but we do vote. We do pay taxes which pay their wages. We pay their health care, when we don't have it. We pay their retirement, when we aren't guaranteed Social Security in the future. People are protesting because inanimate, non-living entities such as corporations are considered to have the same rights as a person--indeed, seemingly more rights. And who owns these entities? Who owns the banks and credit card companies? The rich. That's why they're angry with the rich. Not because the rich exist, but because they have a major influence in the subjugation of the majority. It wouldn't be a problem if we weren't drowning in debt that's so hard to pay down, but since so many are they're starting to get angry.

**I want to stress that I am not trying to piss anyone off, or act like I'm all super smart, cause I'm not. Most of you here are probably--if not most likely--more intelligent than me. But I did want to get this off my chest, and what better place than the OWS thread? Since I'm experiencing what they're protesting, I feel I have a right to throw my two cents in, too. And for the record, I don't envy the rich or want to be rich. All I want is to be able to have one job, pay my bills, have a little leisure time, and live comfortably. I don't think that's a lot for a person to ask.**

Edit: Sorry Delph, this is a little off topic from your last comment, but I felt I needed to put it. You guys can just ignore and keep going back and forth if you like (not that you need my permission.)

CypressDahlia
10-27-2011, 08:58 AM
I'm just making a point that taking money out of rich peoples' pockets isn't necessarily going to put money back in your pockets. The greatest emphasis here is to open up the job market, which can be done if we could get companies to stop outsourcing cheap labor and saturating the unemployed with overqualified people. It sucks to have to compete with college graduates for entry level positions. This is leaving a lot of undergraduates jobless or severely underpaid because the only edge we have over a BS holder with two kids to feed is that we can be bought for a cheaper price.

Given that credit card debt is the second most common debt among Americans, I'd chance it to say the loan debt issue is a direct result of the recklessness of borrowers. Americans are just not good at handling long-term investments. As far as student loans go, all of the terms are written on the paper in pretty clear print. But, with the general accessibility of such things, students are just filing Stafford Loan applications back and forth, regardless of need, without any forethought as to how they will pay them back. They just want immediate security and don't consider the caveats of investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in someone else's money into a degree that might not even get them work (BLA's rarely do) in the harsh economic climate. College, right now, isn't a great investment. But, even then, long-term payment plans are very much available. People just need to do the research.

It's a cultural flaw, as Delphinus said. Even if, miraculously, we are all granted debt forgiveness, it's only going to take one year and one more wave of high school graduates to create the same situation. And, chances are, the spending habits of credit card holders ain't changing any time soon. Instant gratification rarely has a place in a capitalist society. Yet, culturally, Americans are at odds with their own system.

And I don't think any lower-middle class citizen has ever had to work less than 2 jobs to support themselves, given you are a single income household. I am working one job part-time and applied for a seasonal job just to pay off my rent, split among 3 other room mates, and still have pocket cash.

In short, asking for charity isn't the solution. The solution is to put the economy back into a situation where the 1% didn't even occur to us aka. the 1990's.

Delphinus
10-27-2011, 09:00 AM
@Blue Dragon I agree - but like I said to Kodos over AIM last night, those are problems with the actions of the rich, not the existence of the rich. Well, you said that in the last paragraph, but OWS seems to be mostly populated with leftists of the "kill 'em all" sort.

I wouldn't normally support an increase in state power, but if there's one area where it's justified, it's to protect those without power from those in power. Justice should be blind, and if she takes bribes, we should pluck her eyes out.

EDIT:
It's a cultural flaw, as Delphinus said. Even if, miraculously, we are all granted debt forgiveness, it's only going to take one year and one more wave of high school graduates to create the same situation. And, chances are, the spending habits of credit card holders ain't changing any time soon. Instant gratification rarely has a place in a capitalist society. Yet, culturally, Americans are at odds with their own system.

Instant gratification is tied to consumerism, and serves the interests of the wealthy. Plus it's promoted. While it might be bad for the economy and bad for everyone who gets into debt, it's very good for the rich. The constant definition of people's worth by material goods is despicable and the number one reason why so many people are in debt: while this isn't an inevitable result of capitalism, it is an inevitable end result of companies trying to push goods that we don't need on us. I wouldn't even include computers or media products in that - those are cultural objects; computers have become necessary for participation in social spheres, and media products are just the latest type of art. I think we can recognise that while art isn't necessary for survival, it's still important for satisfaction and the good life. I'll stop before I start sounding like a treatise on virtue theory.


And I don't think any lower-middle class citizen has ever had to work less than 2 jobs to support themselves
Depends how old they are. In times of full employment and prosperity, like the (pre-Great Depression) 20s and 50s, one lower-middle class job would have supported an entire household in reasonable comfort. In times of scarcity, they don't.

CypressDahlia
10-27-2011, 09:22 AM
I was meaning to say instant gratification has no place in terms of attaining power in a capitalist society. Usually, success in America involves a lot of long-term investments unless, of course, you are incredibly lucky (legacies). Long-term investment for ultimate pay-off is like the anti-thesis of credit cards and gratuitous student/mortgage/car loans.

And yeah, I guess. But the standard of comfort is so high these days that I don't think those comparisons are relevant. Oh, and not to mention much higher work qualifications, lower demand for sheer manpower in fulfilling most job descriptions due to technology, stuff like this.

Hamachi
10-27-2011, 09:48 AM
You know, an overwhelming majority of Americans have no idea what it's like to face war, famine and disease like the rest of the world does. Even the homeless have higher standards of living than dozens of other countries in, say, Africa and the Middle East. Now I support fair legislation and care for the poor as much as the next guy, but I can't help but feel that these people are being somewhat hypocritical to fight for fair treatment only for Americans in the US. Specifically, they're doing it for themselves.

Think about it. If they really wanted fair treatment and social justice, wouldn't it make more sense to lobby for spreading the wealth outside the richest country in the world?

Delphinus
10-27-2011, 09:59 AM
^ A country's first responsibility is to its own people. If a government can't even satisfy all of its own people, what hope does it have in helping the rest of the world?

Also, TEAM AMERICA WORLD POLICE (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19180589) is bad for everyone involved.

CypressDahlia
10-27-2011, 10:15 AM
I'm p. sure Hamachi is talking about things like the Salvation Army and Peace Corps, not like...reforming global governments. Though uprooting dictators is not necessarily a bad thing. And, when you uproot one, you kinda have to establish SOMETHING in their place otherwise it leaves the subject country in a blank-slate condition, which is just an invitation for anarchy and invasion. So it's a vicious cycle of sorts.

There is a lot of hypocrisy out there, though. The OWS is largely a public obstruction. I have spoken to a handful of OWS protestors regarding how they justify interfering with the lives of people who //are// working and trying hard, even in this economy, to support themselves and their families. One of them wrote it off as a mere "inconvenience" and called it "silly". So, basically they complain about the inconvenience of not having (good) jobs (which they obviously abandoned to come out and protest for weeks at a time) but brush off the inconveniences they create for the working people that they claim to represent. I share the sentiments of this (http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-10-01/news/30232505_1_irate-driver-protestors-hippies) construction worker. The corporatist system is full of assholes, OWS is full of obstructive faux revolutionaries and the innocent people on the sidelines are getting kicked in the nads. Maybe just swept over by the flames of 'revolution'?


Also, this (http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/26/tech/social-media/unthink-social-network/index.html). Hahaha. What the hell.

Blue_Dragon
10-27-2011, 04:30 PM
I agree that taking money from the rich won't solve the problem, but like you said, the outsourcing of cheaper labor is what's a the heart of this. I hate that I'm taking up two jobs when someone else could have on of those. And the people making the decisions to outsource are part of that "1%." The government needs to either 1) make out-sourcing in such a way illegal (never will happen) 2) make out-sourcing unprofitable or 3) find a way to make new jobs. Option 1 and 3 aren't going to work. Big Business and their constituents will never allow the illegality of outsourcing (and if that outsourcing was paid fairly and followed environmental standards, it would be marginally acceptable or at least better than it is now.) The government also is sucking at helping the production of new jobs. Roosevelt had his Rangers and the Civilian Conservation Corps. What is our current government giving us? (Not blaming any one person in gov. I just think more needs to be done.) Making out-sourcing unprofitable is the only thing that will keep jobs like that here. And unlike the GOP, who wants less taxation and relaxed environmental standards, lower wages and whatnot to keep the jobs here, I think they need to have higher import taxes on goods made by American companies in foreign countries. Or regulate it so that our companies must have the same standards and pay in foreign countries as they would here. Or something along those lines. We need some way of keeping some of these jobs here, because not everyone is qualified for college (it's just not something everyone can or wants to do) and having to flood the market with all these graduates is doing what Cyp you were talking about in your first re-buttle. I'm too lazy to quote right now. Sorry.

I also agree that these protesters aren't very mature. But then, our generation isn't very mature. What do you expect from the "me" generation? Harrison thought things were bad in the 60s (I, Me Mine)--it's worse now. I hate the whole "instant gratification" of this age. I'm not talking about wanting a job now and all that, I mean the ignorant materialism that runs rampant (I'm not blameless, but it doesn't mean I'm not disgusted with it, in myself as well.)

I did like that Pete Seeger's come out :) Come on! Rainbow Race (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxXzD0eQQBg)! But as much as they don't want a "leader" they really need one. It reminds me of that West Wing episode. They need some guidance and some real focus. And I agree, they should be more courteous and understanding to those who are trying to get to work.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANAq4NjVOF4

At any rate, they really need to be more professional, and try their best to respect others at the same time. How can they be taken serious if they're not respectful of others? But we do need to be protesting. We just need to get the focus right.
I like that they are finally moving, but they need to get serious and handle it more professionally.

On the loan thing, I know that my loans have changed without my permission and are not as the original document was. The lenders have the power to change things when they want, but I have no power to fight it--or no money anyhow to take it to court. Luckily, I've been able to get a deferment, but it's just a temporary fix. And no, I didn't waste my money on drinking and partying. I used it for tuition, and housing, books, living costs. I didn't spend frivolously. I knew I'd have to pay it back, but hey! I thought I was going to have a decent job when I got done! Some people may waste their loan money as Cyp suggests, but not all of us did. I didn't even binge drink until I was like 23, and then I didn't waste a lot of money on it (never did it often.) One thing that might help is if college didn't cost so much. We wouldn't have to borrow our lives away if we had free or cheaper higher education. Or if costs were at least reigned in.

By the way, on that note, I was so mad when UIS (University of Illinois at Springfield) built this ridiculous new fitness/sports complex, and then raised our tuition to pay for it. It wasn't built until I was graduated, yet I still paid for it. And a lot of people stupidly supported it! Voted for it! And we didn't even get to enjoy it! (oh, wait, we were allowed one free year there--how much did we spend of it again? How many of those people weren't even in the state anymore to enjoy it?) What a wanton waste of our funds--that money could have gone to more important things, like ACADEMICS. Hm...college? Who's there to study!? We're here to work out, hang out, and party! And that the school contributed to this mentality pisses me off. I voted it down. But my point is, some of had to use our loans for stupid shit like this. (I hate my generation. Really, I do.) But it wouldn't be an issue if we had a better chance of good employment to pay it off. I might not care if I had the money to pay for my loans.

And I agree with Delph on a country needing to take care of its own first. I'm pretty liberal, and I think we should try to help others when we can. But right now our own country is falling to the way side, and we're wasting waaaay too much money on countries who don't even want us there. Or countries like Pakistan, who help support our "enemies" but get pissed when we stop giving them funds. I don't know enough about the specifics to say who's wrong or right in the situation, but I can say that money could go towards developments and programs to help our own people. Don't get me started on the war(s) (though I guess we're going to be pulling out soon? Too little to late.) America gets so preoccupied with trying to ensure its interests outside the country, that it looses sight of who it was supposed to be doing it for--the people. And I sympathize with helping others out. But if you can't keep your own country in order, how are you going to help others?

CypressDahlia
10-28-2011, 12:29 AM
I think we both agree that a lot of our woes are brought upon by our peers. And, though we may not be as irresponsible as the rest of them, it's quite impossible to distinguish yourself from the crowd. People see us as a generation or, at best, an age demographic. We can't just go out there and be like "no, no, you got it wrong I'm not like the rest of them". We all just gotta take the fall as gracefully as possible. And most colleges (well, at least the ones you want to go to) are private institutes so it's not really like we can lobby them into lowering their tuition.

But yeah, I'm all about fighting for the "good crop" of people out there, it's just that they're impossible to distinguish from the bad crop who perpetuate our debt and want forgiveness just as well.