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The Occupy Wall Street Movement: How They Could Do It the Right Way
Complaining Whiners on the Street
It is incredibly unfortunate to be graduating from college at this point in America's history because the outlook is much grimmer than it has been in the past. In fact, I personally am struggling to determine what direction to go with my life because of the many financial challenges that the nation is facing. But one thing is certain, I am not going to join the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The people who are quickest to state their political opinion are often the least informed, therefore the Occupy Wall Street fans and myself have a lot in common. Hopefully, as a student of business and an attempted deep thinker, I can place some insights into the real problems and solutions that those claiming to stand up for the 99% appear to completely miss.
The Real Problems
This protest is simply a large group of highly educated people furious that they are unable to find a job that pays them as much as they believe they are worth. My generation has been raised with everything - never imagining that we would have to actually work one day. The TV shows that we've watched portray 20-somethings as executives of corporations, living the high life. As we've finished up college we have naturally assumed that we would be taking on these roles - going straight from college to boss, without needing to put in time as a "peon".
I would sincerely agree that there are some serious problems that need to be resolved, but I am not sure if Occupy Wall Street knows what those issues actually are. I believe their anger is because their first potential jobs out of college (for many, their first job ever) will require them to work for a modest salary as opposed to the six figures they were originally anticipating.
Here are the REAL problems that we need to address:
- Our Educational System: Clearly this is an issue, with OPW being a prime example of our educational system failing. Rather than training people to be independent, creative thinkers, our education system has trained people to look up to authority for the correct answers to questions. Therefore, when we struggle to find a job, naturally, we look to the government and big corporations to solve this problem.
- Our Media: Jobs on television are exciting places with exotic adventures and beautifully attractive people. Most of the time is spent traveling the world, fighting crime, or pulling pranks - work comes second. Additionally, after spending all day at work having fun, our television friends come home to a limitless salary that provides them all of the desires of their heart. If we are going to attack someone for providing us with false expectations, I feel that Hollywood may be the appropriate target, not big business.
- Our Consumption: The Occupy Wall Street Movement complains that low end salaries are increasing at an ever slowing pace. Well of course! The competition is no longer your neighbor, it's someone across the ocean who is thrilled to work hard all day for almost nothing, because it is the best that they can get. Americans want to buy as much as possible. Therefore, we purchase things for as cheap as possible. For companies to produce things cheaply, they have to pay employees the minimal amount possible.
- Our Contentment: This ties into all of the above. America is one of the wealthiest nations on earth and anyone able to read this article on their own computer is richer than 90% of the world. You are not the 99%. You are the 1%. If we started appreciating what we have, rather than desiring to have more, I believe that we could realize life is not as bad as it appears on a simpler salary.
Solutions For Reform
If after reading all of this article you still are a firm believer in the Occupy Wall Street movement, here are some actual ways that you can make a positive difference in the world.
If you want to change Wall Street:
- Stop Buying: Most people place their complaints about Wall Street onto Facebook using their Apple computers and Tweet about the progress from their Verizon Android phone. The reason companies make money is because we purchase their products. They won't make money if you don't buy their products! It really is that simple.
- Purchase Stock in a Company: Wall Street is owned by Americans, rich and poor, who purchase stock. Big companies sell stock - you can purchase that stock. Then, when the company makes money, you make money too. So yes, you too can become rich! Do you think the CEO makes too much money?Anyone who owns $1000 worth of stock from a company for 1 year has the legal right to suggest changes that must be voted on by all shareholders. This means that you can vote to lower the executives salaries by simply purchasing a small amount of stock. Essentially, you become the boss!
- Start a Business: America has seen success over the years because it is filled with people who make lemonade out of lemons. If you cannot find a job, why not make your own? Then YOU GET TO MAKE THE RULES! You can operate the business however you want too. Additionally, once it becomes a success, you can give away all of your money to prevent yourself from becoming one of the 1% (which I am sure you were planning to do anyway).
- Live Frugally: Plant a garden. Ride your bike around town. Get rid of your cable or satellite television. Not only will you hurt these big companies by not purchasing their products, but you won't have to worry about making as much money because you will be spending less!
Sadly the Occupy Wall Street movement is a huge hypocrisy. It is a large number of Americans, rich by the world's standards, that are not content being paid closer to what their work is actually worth on the global market. A generation (my generation) of complainers, incapable of taking care of themselves, who no longer have mom and dad to whine to, are now stuck whining to the government and successful businesses (which they could own by purchasing stock in).
A man can only change the world when his words and his actions coincide. If you are declaring that the 1% are greedy, therefore they must give you something, are you not filled with greed yourself?
Would the Occupy Wall Street participants really give away their wealth if they were the 1%? We could quickly discover that if we examined their personal finances. There are so many people with far less in the world. Surely these protestors are spending what "little" money they have to help others, aren't they?
What is your opinion on this movement? Do you believe it will bring reform? Do you believe it will make a positive impact on the lives of people around the world? I look forward to learning your views on this issue.