Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Occupy Wall Street Protest Anthem

Rate this topic


Ninth Doctor
 Share

Recommended Posts

Better for innocent rich people to pay for other rich people's mistakes than for innocent poor people to pay for the criminal behavior of rich people.

I don't understand this. Why should anyone pay for another person's mistakes?

I haven't followed anything about OWS. All I can really say is that it appears very disorganized. There are so many voices that it's impossible to even say OWS has a unified message. It's impossible to say OWS is anti-capitalist. Instead, it's a vague sense of a blob. There's just a mass of people that are upset that some (I doubt "many" is correct) rich people have been immoral and even criminal, yet nothing is done about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's just a mass of people that are upset that some (I doubt "many" is correct) rich people have been immoral and even criminal, yet nothing is done about it.
It is true that people are upset about this, but they ought not to aim this anger at the rich. Actual criminality has been low: people like Madoff and Raj Rajaratam would be in the criminal category, and the law has gone after them.

The real problem lies with the system as a whole: the whole structure of the Fed and the FDIC and all sorts of other U.S. laws. You will always have people playing on the borderline of these laws. In the most free and capitalist society, you will have capitalists who take huge, unwarranted risks and people who clamber on. When the risk-taker and his fans get rich and then collapse in a wreck the primary harm comes to themselves. In the system that we have, much of the risk has been underwritten by the government. That is the real problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed, the socialization of risk is ultimately what leads to these huge excesses. Even before the '08 crash it was pretty clear from history that the government wouldn't let a big investment bank fail in all likelihood (as they didn't in S&L crisis), so it really wasn't much of a stretch for people to assume that would happen again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"OWS is not seeking more government, it is seeking less. It is seeking a separation between private enterprise and government. Objectivists should be all for this."

Absolutely not. If these people had even the slightest clue, they would be protesting for a separation between government and economics. But in reality they're an eclectic group of leftists and "libertarians" who have swallowed the mainstream, anti-capitalistic explanation for the financial crisis, protesting for all sorts of different reasons, many of which have to do with the rich not paying their "fair share" of taxes, and a belief that we need MORE regulations which means more government. The mere fact that they call themselves "Occupy Wall Street" shows where they're comming from... it's not an anti-socialist/anti-fascist angle, but an anti-capitalist angle (even if the majority of them wouldn't be able to correctly define the word "capitalism" if you were to ask them). A good number of them might really be for separating government from private enterprise, but I think that the bulk of this movement is people who think that the rich aren't getting taxed enough.

Edited by Reason_Being
Link to comment
Share on other sites

These are a very concrete set of -- mostly statist -- proposals.

The million-dollar question is: does the average voter feel this way too? Obviously, these proposals do not represent the views of 99% of voters, but would at least a majority of voters agree that most of the points are good goals toward which we should make at least some progress? if so, I'd like to know sooner rather than later. Would most GOP voters be actually opposed to most points?

It is good to have a list of major issues with concrete alternatives, around which one can hold intellectual debate. I wonder if some Tea-party group will come out with a point-by-point set of counter demands. Something like that could give clarity to the public debate. I would expect that various think-tanks -- ARI included -- will do some such rebuttals.

Edited by softwareNerd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, I just mean I'd like to know where the country stands so that I can plan accordingly.

That's actually what I was curious about. (Of course, just forget it if it is all personal :) )

I think I have an inadequate frame of reference to know what is appropriate to expect from the country/world within the span of my lifetime, and what kinds of plans would be realistic based off of whatever expectations. That is, I don't know where in the middle things actually land between "Total Collapse" and "Civilization Will Go On," and with that where to plan between "Switch Career Direction" and "Learn how to survive in the wilderness." Thus, I'm interested in whatothers think and plan on doing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... "Total Collapse" and "Civilization Will Go On," and with that where to plan between "Switch Career Direction" and "Learn how to survive in the wilderness."
I think "Total Collapse" of the type where one will need to "survive in the wilderness" is an extreme outlier. I do not stock food or anything like that. Maybe we should start a new thread on the topic of "likely outcomes" over the next (say) 2 decades, and how one should act.

When I posted about planning, I was thinking much more narrowly about getting more clarity on economic policy. Major broad-based support for particular proposals would have particular follow-on consequences. Not that I've taken them specifically and analysed them, but if there is broad agreement on any specific proposal, it will make sense to guess it will be implemented, and therefore to plan for any consequences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

When a law is illegitimate, it uses force to make people act in ways they do not wish, or stops them from acting in ways they wish. Sometimes, there is a corrupt way to circumvent the law that allows the actor to pay and play. This allows the actor to play at a cost. If the actor is paying up, its because that's better than obeying the law. Of course, this does not mean that corruption is good. It isn't, and it undermines the rule of law, causing further problems. However, within the context of the existence of certain bad laws, corruption is a way around it.

In some third world countries, governments will sometimes adopt a few environmental laws to satisfy some political end. When the inspector comes around, a little money passed to him gets one a pass. So, the would-be costs of following the environmental law are defrayed. Of course, the disrespect for law that this breeds can mean that legitimate laws are also disobeyed. When it some to taxation, corruption can sometimes let people keep more of their own money, by paying less to a corrupt government actor acting privately, thus reducing the payout to the official government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a news-story about the woman who started the successful campaign against Bank of America's $5 fee.

Calling herself "...an activist at heart", she's the typical do-gooder who does not want to create anything of value, but is happy to tell you how you should dispose of your values. In time, she will probably slip into some government role, or into some role where she influences government. Then, she will not just tell you what to so, she will order.

Molly Katchpole aka Comrade Sonia!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

The OWS protests are providing raw material to Objectivist activists. Ari Armstrong interviews some here, Alex Epstein did so here. The interviews are well done: the interviewers do not caricature the OWS folk, giving them ample time to explain their views, and to do so at a level deeper than the top-of-mind bromide that they might have on their placard. Both interviewers also challenge their interviewees respectfully, the way intellectual discussion ought to be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Now the Occupy movement is taking one more step to destroy the rule of law and change it into mob-democracy. They are organizing to resist evictions after foreclosures. The last few years has seen a big increase in the uncertainty stemming stemming from ignoring the law. Financial transactions in a modern economy depend crucially on both parties being held to the terms of their agreement and to any clear exceptions that are already established law at the time the agreement was made.

In the GM/Chrysler "bankruptcy", the rule of law was violated with senior creditors being threatened with all sorts of government action if they squealed about the government ignoring over a century of established law on who gets what in a bankruptcy. This means that every future senior creditor now runs the risk that the government will simply decide he is not senior, because it is politically inconvenient for them.

In Europe, CDS buyers are facing the possibility that default by Greece will be declared not to be a default, and they will not be paid their dues.

Now, the Occupy movement wants to violate the foreclosure process. This is extremely serious. In many third world countries the lack of a reliable foreclosure process makes home-loans difficult, and the lack of a reliable eviction process makes renting an apartment very difficult. There is something much more important than monetary policy and fiscal policy: property rights. Third world countries stay where they are primarily because they do not respect property rights. (See Herdando de Soto for more info.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess it goes without saying, but what a bunch of children! I think their shutdown tactic is interesting because to me because the refusal to engage in dialogue implies that the only violence is left as an option for interaction with others. If they weren't just a pack of whiny cowards lacking any of the kind of efficaciousness necessary for an actual violent uprising, I'd be really concerned.

Silencing opposition by sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting "NAHNAHNAHNAHNAH!" only works in that moment, in that place. This won't amount to a historical footnote with their nearly complete lack of intellectual capital.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...