Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"What do we want?"
"How the heck are we supposed to know?"
"When do we want it?"

I am sick of hearing otherwise reasonable people making unreasonable demands of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. I can't count the number of times that I've heard...
"... they will never make a difference if they only protest against something! Why don't they just tell us exactly what it is that they are protesting for?"
Do you seriously believe that there are more than a few dozen people on the planet who can give a half credible explanation of the current global economic system and why it is so screwed up in less than 3 hours? Do you think that you would understand such an explanation if you heard it?

Do you think that any of the protesters know how to make it all better?
"Quickly now... The camera's rolling... No, sorry, too many words - I need something punchy! What about you maam, in your underwear, with the dreadlocks and piercings. What are you protesting for? Do you mind if we take a photo?"
Let's get real people. Please... The protesters are demanding an entirely new global economic system. Do you seriously expect that even the most learned economics professor on the planet can explain what that looks like in a couple of soundbites?

Of course they can't, so stop making unreasonable demands on the Occupy Wall Street protesters. And, just as importantly don't be a sucker when the "experts" start appearing on your TV screen and on the op-ed pages to offer a quick fix.

This is big and it is there is no quick fix so I'm afraid that this will have to remain a protest against something for the 99%. That "something" is pretty clear though, and it is worth listening to and thinking about...

This is a protest against an unfair economic system that puts most of the world's resources in the hands of 1% of the population. It is a protest against an economic system that has financed the degradation of more 60% of the planet's ecosystems in the last 25 years, and shows no signs of stopping those practices.

The Occupy Wall Street protest is for an entirely new global economy that supports sustainable human flourishing.

Let's be reasonable. That is all that 99% of us need to know.

[UPDATE: As you can see in my later posts, I am more bullish these days about Occupy's chances...]


  1. So here is the fundamental problem as I see it. I see Human nature as being fractal. Say tomorrow we rounded up the "1%", stuck them in a space-ship, and shot them off into space. Does that mean that the 99% that are left are suddenly happy, free, and equitably compensated? No, in all probability, 1% of that 99% will step into the power-vacuum, and set themselves on top of the new pyramid... You can keep going until there are 100 people left - and you can be sure that one of them is going to be an arrogant power-grabber type person - the "1%".

    So, any proposed fix, or new economical model, has to not only take into account the statistical distribution of human nature, but also it's fractal nature. Any model that ignores the fact that you will always have a "1%" is doomed to (eventual) failure.

  2. Thanks for the insightful thoughts CT (Chris?)... I started to write a reply, but found myself rambling about sustainable human flourishing again... So, I put it up here instead - hope that's ok?: