Occupy Wall Street – the 99%…

I’m still not really sure what the goal is of these protests but there are events going on in over 800 cities now. It’s certainly caught people’s imagination in a big way and i’m surprised that something like this hasn’t happened sooner, given it’s been a couple of years since it all kicked off. The thing is the real cuts which actually affect normal people’s lives are now kicking in.

I think everyone is just disappointed with the Government and their response on this major issue. I’m not sure they realise just how fundamentally illogical and counter-productive the free-market economic system is, particularly in terms of the impact on people’s lives. The profit before service/quality (or in a lot of cases profit overriding other considerations), is fundamentally wrong and what a lot of people once considered to be a positive in their lives (having access to credit, lots of consumer choices, cheap energy etc) is now starting to be thought of in a different light.

Having access to huge levels of personal credit is one whole side of the economic problem and is not a responsible approach for the banks and Government to condone or allow. The argument is that people should be responsible and mature enough to restrict their spending and borrowing, but in reality (‘reality’ being the thing which politicians can sometimes ignore) this doesn’t happen and given a chance, people will borrow more than they can afford, because it allows them to buy all the things (and live the lifestyle) which they crave.

Humans have a genetic-level compulsion to sustain their own existence, but this is extended by our cultural influences to include the compulsion to accumulate possessions et al. Condoning and allowing a system which we know will lead to unsustainable levels of personal debt is irresponsible. This has to be seriously considered.

Part of the reasoning for the Occupy movement is the absence of legal repercussions for the 2008 crash. This I agree with, but i’m just not sure how anyone can be ‘brought to justice’. Most of what happened seemed to be within ‘legal’ frameworks, which draws attention to the big problem that the structure which underpins the whole economic process is not fit to control the economic process.

I would suggest one solution would be to strongly separate money from politics, just as we should be separating religion from politics. Money poisons politics, but to some extent, funds are needed to carry out the process, so how this is done is open to debate. The example of politics in America is very good, in that funding from specific interest groups pollutes the principle of politicians representing the best interests of the general public, rather than the specific interests of the very rich or powerful companies.

This is all getting off-subject but it’s something which affects everyone, and some to a highly detrimental level.

So, the statement that I was getting to (in a very roundabout way) is that we are both the 99% and the 1%! This was strongly shown to me by a website (which Claire found) which gives an indication of where people in this country (or anywhere) are in relation to everyone else on the planet. try it out, it will shock you.

It turns out that our family income puts us inside the top 1% of the world’s population, in terms of income. This is where looking at ‘us’ as the 99% breaks down. We are in terms of the very very top earners in the developed world, but absolutely not in terms of the vast majority of all humans.


Comparing us to the world is more honest as it takes into account all our fellow humans, not just the privileged few in developed countries.

I know you have to start somewhere but knowing the level of poverty in the world and how many people this affects, slightly diminishes the impact of the idea of ‘we are the 99%’. No matter how bad the situation of poverty is in this country, any comparison to the ‘poverty’ level in developing countries is shocking. We at least have the NHS, social housing, emergency shelters, charities, Job Centres etc. We have certain safety nets which are frankly just a dream for the majority of the world’s population.

Most of the people in the world will live a life of drudgery and oppression then die. Is this too extreme? If you are unlucky enough to be a woman in many parts of the developing world, you won’t even get past child birth.



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