The OWS crowd created an opportunity to make important points. The opportunity has been missed. Serious consideration of capitalism and its corruptions could have been a seminal message; a message that left and right alike could have rallied to. Had the OWS crowd spent a little time in ‘workshops’ to educate themselves and tune the message; had they self policed the craziness they surrounded themselves with there could have been some serious value to their effort.
It’s not capitalism that’s the problem; it’s the execution of capitalism.
Had the OWS folks focused on the connections between money and elected office they would have had an issue. Had they looked into the corruptive realities of what destroyed the housing market they would have created fodder for the fire. Had they taken issue with the wide swath of the early warnings of what was coming for the economy, people of all types would have stepped up to support them and more importantly be educated by them.
Had the OWS folks realized that their favorite politicians were right in the middle of perpetuating ‘too big to fail’ they might have taken the demonstrations in a different direction. If they took a serious look at where Wall Street’s money goes they would have had a lot of substance to deal with.
The history of Freddie and Fanny and the immense political influence they exerted would have been an entirely valid point of protest. The role of the rating agencies in maintaining the fictions of the housing bubble would have garnered tremendous attention. The fact that the rating agencies killed off State based attempts to eliminate predatory lending long in advance of the crash, would have angered people in general. If only!
The OWS folks are correct, generally speaking; there was and is rampant greed, extortion, fake books and political influence aimed at maintaining a status quo destined to failure. Those who embraced the corruption have not paid the price for their malfeasance. We have!
What the OWS folks fail to focus on is that Wall Street could not have done it alone, nor could have the banks. What was required was an unholy alliance between Capitol Hill, Federal Regulators, The Federal Reserve, Rating Agencies and European Central Banks. Herman Cain is right, the protest should be in Washington; that’s where the potential cure was and that’s where the disease still resides. Wall Street and the banks did what they were, literally, encouraged to do by way of public policy and regulatory standards. The corruption spans both parties and multiple administrations; Democrat and Republican, left and right.
When, as happened, capital reserve standards weaken, risk increases. When non transparent ‘securitization’ gets a wink and a nod from rating agencies you get more of the same, much more. When common sense financial standards fall to the impact of political influence you get exactly what we have; a tottering economy with more bad news on the way. When American financial standards grow out of an attempt to manage economies in a global context (Basel Conferences) absent consideration of domestic policy variations it’s just a matter of time.
Advice for OWS; go home, do your research, tidy up the message and come back in the Spring absent the deflective influence of Anarchists, Communists, Socialists and Union Organizers. Who knows, I might even join you.