2011-10-19

Four statistics that explain the “Occupy” protests

Update 2011-10-27: Wall Street isn’t successful

Quoting “Here Are Four Charts That Explain What The Protesters Are Angry About...” by Henry Blodget for Business Insider:

  1. Unemployment is at the highest level since the Great Depression (with the exception of a brief blip in the early 1980s).
  2. At the same time, corporate profits are at an all-time high, both in absolute dollars and as a share of the economy.
  3. Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low. In other words, corporate profits are at an all-time high, in part, because corporations are paying less of their revenue to employees than they ever have. There are lots of reasons for this, many of which are not the fault of the corporations.
  4. Income and wealth inequality in the US economy is near an all-time high: The owners of the country's assets (capital) are winning, everyone else (labor) is losing.
We have to rethink how we organize work: It’s madness that in extreme economic crisis, many people have to hunger while actually the facilities for feeding them are there. I’m not arguing in favor of communism, just a different way of managing capitalism.

The problem I see with many of the protests is that they are against something, but don’t offer an alternative. That alternative has to be found. Then the protests can become constructive. In Greece, it is especially tricky: Protesters are against the radical spending cuts and justifiably so, because they threaten their existences. The current state of affairs clearly isn’t desirable, but what can be done about it? Find solutions and communicate them. Doing things like before can’t be one of them.

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