ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Politics and Social Issues»
  • Activism

The Occupy Wall Street Movement: How They Could Do It the Right Way

Updated on May 9, 2012
Source

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.

Source

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.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 4 years ago

      They should not be on Wall Street, they should be on K street stopping the more then 75 percent of campaign finances being made by corporations to our Politicians. Giving up and being a protester is probably a better idea then continuing this lie we live. I bet wages and jobs are going to get better tomorrow. This lie has been replayed for the last one hundred years we should just accept it. Waste our time becoming educated and kissing company butt until we become the criminals. Like every stupid commercial and claims to charity after every disaster we make it a tax write off. After the storm, no one is going to fix your broken home stupid. Every investment you ever made is guaranteed to be stolen if they stand to profit by it. Working harder for less the stock market just keeps rising and giving us hope. Masters and slaves and yes the slaves have no reason to care. If the World ends tomorrow, we will not miss a thing. Thank God I do not live for this World, because it is hopeless.

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 4 years ago

      They should occupy K Street for a while instead. That is where every Politician is being paid off and every regulation in favour of Corporations is paying the bribes. Its estimated that 60 to 70 percent of all election money is made on that street. That is the headquarters for all Lobbyist in DC.

    • Robert Erich profile image
      Author

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      Thank you for sharing this video Patriette, it was very informative. I may have to see if there is any way I can embed it into this article.

    • Patriette profile image

      Patriette 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      My previous comments also were either rejected or did not take. So be it. Here's a recent Piers Morgan interview of Jon Lovitz giving his take on the 1% vs. 99% debate. He makes a rather sensible case. There are no obscenities in this clip.

      Jon Lovitz talks to Piers Morgan about the 1%

      http://www.mediaite.com/tv/piers-morgan-spars-with...

    • Robert Erich profile image
      Author

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      @tirelesstraveler: I believe you are absolutely right. Everyone should have a freedom to make their own choices. And it is very interesting, companies usually do not focus on nice and generous (because the goal is increasing stockholder wealth above all else). However, many executives that I have heard speak discuss the importance of integrity and service. It's amazing how many "big guys" in business started out with nothing, working as a janitor, and now help out others in similar situations. I suppose, the issue really is with the individual, not a particular movement. Thanks for your comments!

      @the guy: I believe you have a great understanding of these movements! I agree with what you are saying completely. I just believe that, without knowing it, many of the people in these movements are actually going to hurt their own economic success in the future as opposed to make it better (which I think is what they are trying to do). As long as we want to make more money to purchase more for ourselves, we are going to dive deeper and deeper into problems and sooner than we may imagine, we will be the ones working for nothing while other nations thrive on our labor (as we currently are doing to them). I appreciate your insight and comments.

    • profile image

      the guy 5 years ago

      My opinion on the Occupy movement:

      1. They make good points. I do agree that a large part of the movement is based on frustration with the seemingly large gap between the 99% and the 1%.

      2. You are right that we as americans are rich by the world's standards.

      3. You are also correct in stating the obvious gap in pay between the average worker in China and the average worker in America. However, the Chinese workers will not stand for low pay much longer as China grows into an economic superpower. The same thing that happened in the 1890s in America (with the rise of unions and higher pay for dissatisfied workers) will happen in China.

      4. In the battle between the ideals of the tea party and occupy wall street, I think both sides miss the point when it comes to ideas of political idealogies such as capitalism and socialism. When you look at the most sucessful countries in the world, such as America, Sweden, Norway, etc, both have a mix of both capitalistic and socialist policies. The problem with many failing countries however is that they tend to tack too far to each side of the political spectrum.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Robert, The world doesn't have to be divided into the right and left. Maybe everyone is worthy of a valued opinion.

      Did you look at the stock market after the European elections? Trading was light the day after and the next day it tanked. Maybe generous and nice is not always good in finance.

      In California there are few conservatives and the TEA party is big. There are many young as well as old at these events.

      Like your style.

    • Robert Erich profile image
      Author

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      My personal view is that the Tea Party movement is the other extreme of the Occupy movement. It consists of less educated people who are overly dedicated to their country. Both groups spend too much time involved in telling others to change and not enough time changing themselves.

    • profile image

      the guy 5 years ago

      you make very interesting observations. However, how do you feel about the tea party movement then.

    • Robert Erich profile image
      Author

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      @Peggy: Thank you for your comment. Absolutely, if we were willing to pay extra for products that provided jobs, our nation would be out of this in no time! We just all want to be kings - paid much for what we do, paying little for what we buy.

      @Levendis: Thanks for your input. Yes, the sub-prime lending was a poor idea. Things definitely need to change. I simply think that rioting is not going to change them for the better.

      @twaggoner: See, my distaste for big government stems from the thought process that, the more we require our government to take care of our problems, the less we will do ourselves. There will ALWAYS be people that are shafted and end up homeless for some reason or other. If If I am paying tons in taxes for the government to take care of this, then, when I see that homeless person, I will simply say that I pay taxes to cover this - I don't need to do something for this man. Compassion is what we all really need, not a fail-proof government (without compassion, the government and the nation will always fail.

      As for the poor not being educated enough to buy stock, I believe their education is the bigger problem, not the big companies. Our educational system is already messed up because we misinterpret the concept of "equality" as meaning "equal outcome" not "equal start". The ignorant and uneducated will be the same regardless of who has the money. Think about all those stories of trailer residents winning the lottery and then ending up right back in the trailer after a couple of years - because they don't know how to manage money. Yes, people like you and I need to educate them about how to make a difference using their investments - taking down big business will hurt the average citizen far more then the "1%" that everyone is talking about.

      @tirelesstraveler: Thank you for your support. I appreciate your comment.

      @point2make: I like your comments very much. I believe that spending our own time and money is the key to alleviating problems in this nation and the world.

      @TeaPartyCrasher: I will have to read some of your hubs to see if you've spoken more on this topic. I apologize for the late response - I was not only for a couple of days.

      Perhaps I have a 1% thought process, but I assure you it is not from the media. My news watching is minimal, primarily to know what's going on. My view comes from education, my thinking, and my life experiences.

      I believe you have nailed my point on the head with your comment "a group of young people who did what they were told to do". These same people want to be told what to do again! This time they want to know what to do so that they can live the lavish life they have always dreamed up. Until we start realizing that we, on our own, can change the world, we will continue to fail. The OWS wants these same corporation that they claim to hate to be the ones who solve their problem. I find this twisted and illogical.

      Yes, I believe that consumption is the problem. But not part of the problem, the MAJORITY of the problem. Destroying a company is easy - stop buying it's products. It will fail - unless, like our auto companies, so many people's livelihoods are tied up in the success of the company that the government bails it out to keep people's retirements and lifestyles in check.

      Us Americans have been living our lives at the expense of the rest of the world. The world (economically) is finally longing for the same lifestyle that we have (thanks a lot to our media) and now we have to live at the economic level we have always deserved.

      See TeaPartCrasher, a $1000 computer for you and me, though pricey, is a purchase we can make. However, in India, that comes out to the cost of double most people's salary (In America, that would be like a computer costing $60,000). People in China and India have been working hard for almost nothing for YEARS - so that we can live the lavish lifestyles we are living now. This cannot happen forever - look at ancient Rome. We must start living within our means. That suggests we can no longer make large salaries doing thoughtless work.

      The solution, honestly, is creative and entrepreneurial people finding new ways to solve our problems - along with a national change in thinking realizing that we must start living within our means.

      Just as a large company should only succeed if it is creating more than it is consuming, I believe that each on of us needs to take a serious look to see if (in terms of HOURS not DOLLARS) we are consuming more than we are producing. For most of Americans, I believe we take much more than we give.

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile image

      TeaPartyCrasher 5 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

      Either my previous comments were rejected or it didn't take. I'll give Robert the benefit of the doubt that my comments didn't go through.

      There are some points here, but you seem to have still bought in to the way the "%1" likes to present OWS, etc.

      What I see is a group of young people who did what they were told to do; get an education, etc. But they've run in to the reality of a post-corporate America, They're justifiably angry, IMO.

      At least you do accept that the American "Culture of Consumption" is part of the problem.

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile image

      TeaPartyCrasher 5 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

      I do see a bit of a "%1" influence to some of your thinking. But you also make a few good points, especially about consumption.

      But I still see that you have swallowed too much of how the "%1" media has portrayed OWS and the greater movement against corporate power.

    • Patriette profile image

      Patriette 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      So sorry for the name mix-up, Robert. I just noticed my mistake.

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 5 years ago

      Finally....A young educated person who really gets it!. Your understanding of the true economic situation, we are all facing, is impressive, honest and refreshing. People cannot expect to receive a free ride anymore. Your parents will not always be there to cushion your falls. If you want what those Wall Street CEO's have ... get up... straighten up and make you own way. Work your butt off and go for it. If your dreams are more modest that's fine too.

      You can still achieve great success, in this nation, if that is your goal but you have to work for it. It is not going to be handed to you and you are NOT entitled to any of it by nature of your birth or education.

      Unfortunately we have raised a rather large group of spoiled and pampered children who believe they are "entitled" to whatever desires they can imagine. Sorry to disappoint but the real world requires that you "earn" what you get.

      If you truly want to help the poor go to work and donate 10-20 or even 50% of your paycheck each week. If enough of the OWS groups adopt just this one measure then the poor would truly be well served by all those who claim their motives are pure.

      Robert this is a great hub and I hope many people get the opportunity to read it. You have done a great job and I, for one, appreciate your efforts. Thank-you and well done.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Robert very thoughtful and accurate facts. After looking at the news today OWS has behaved so badly I don't think it is the way to go.

      You are the hope of America. Your entrepreneurial spirit is what we need more of.

    • twaggoner profile image

      twaggoner 5 years ago

      absolutely correct robert, we are now an over consuming society, I also agree that solutions would be awesome versus only pointing out the problem. unfortunately without tearing down the system, which has allowed the problem to get out of hand, and rewinding to the point where it started to skew (my view is when FDR passed away and Truman took office)then there can be no immediate solution. Steps could be taken now such as repealing citizens united, enacting legislation that would provide for the elderly and poor, providing a national health care system, and even providing education all could move us back into a forward track. Opponents to this will yell about higher tax rates, i ask that they look at what they are paying in health care now and add it to their taxes, most people i know would not be out any more. Making the wealthy pay a more equitable portion in taxes will also aid in the adjustment. The one thing that I tend to disagree with you on is that most stockholders are the blue collar workers, while i am sure that this may be a valid point if you include retirement funds they are invested in, they have no direct control over what a corporation does. Along with considering that most are under educated when it comes to what you are proposing, that the stockholders have a say in what the corporation decides, is a bit naive. If the corporate board asks a poor man "do you want us to make you money?" the answer will be yes most of the time. Only now and again will you have someone ask "at what cost?". So a stockholder in say, Halliburton, wont concern themselves over the destruction caused by their weaponry, only that they receive their dividends. How many employees does Wal Mart have? they are offered stock options, how many of those employees do you think vote for low wages, lowered hours, inability to afford insurance, etc.? thanks again for the hub and the response, i really appreciate it!

    • profile image

      Levendis 5 years ago

      I agree with you that reduced and more considered consumption is the way to affect corporations. A social conscience in corporate governance is often touted but often merely disingenuous marketing.

      I agree too that "society would benefit from paying MORE for a product". Paying a 'fair' price means ascribing equitable value to labour, materials (including fuel and infrastructure) and services.

      Arguably part of O.W.S.'s genesis lay in the devastating gamble that was Sub-Prime Mortgage lending. The scale of it and predatory nature leads me to empathise with their efforts.

      Gee you're prolific Robert! I am grateful for your energetic engagement.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      Your words..."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%." This is so true!

      As bad as things may be now, it is not like the times following the Great Depression. People put their heads down, grew gardens, pinched every penny and saved and reused everything possible to make things last. People moved in with family and everyone "made do" with what they had and pooled resources as necessary.

      We have gotten so far removed from thinking in those terms.

      Among other things you mentioned you made one very good point. If people would start searching out American made products instead of foreign made...more Americans would suddenly find more work opportunities. This goes for purchasing everything from vegetables to furniture and more. It can be done!

      Most of our parents and grandparents grew up without buying things on credit. They started out with "hand me downs" in the way of furnishings and only upgraded when they could pay for things in cash. We have become such a "buy now, pay later" society and kids want to start out with everything that their parents worked years to achieve, that it is no wonder we (as individuals, and as an entire country) are in trouble. This is simply irrational thinking and cannot be sustained.

      As to the OWS movement, we already know some things need changing. They can use the ballot box. THEY (the people protesting) are costing our local governments to spend even more money (police protection, city sanitation departments, etc.) when the coffers are very lean. It could be going elsewhere to actually help people! I wonder if they have even given this a thought?

      Great hub! Up votes and SHARED.

    • Robert Erich profile image
      Author

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for posting twaggoner. I think you have made some great points. The biggest struggle I still see is WHAT is supposed to be done? I suppose I am just of the mentality that, if you don't like the way something is being done, you should come up with a solution rather than just point out the problem. Basically, I see a lot of people stating that they feel that companies have too much money, but the companies are owned by our family and friends. A corporation is only as powerful as the stockholders give it power to be. Most stockholders now are not the wealthy, but also the blue collar working men and women.

      My other belief is that Americans CANNOT live in the same way as they used to. Do you realize that every time I buy a computer I am making dozens of people in China, etc, work for $3-5 a day? If Americans built the computers they would cost $10,000 instead of $1000 - but it would provide jobs to Americans. I just don't think anyone is willing to pay $10,000 for something they can buy for a tenth of that. As long as the majority of Americans are looking for the best deal, we will continue to make the people with the best ideas richer while those that do the work (in America) will continue to grow poorer.

      If the 1% give up their wealth, we will all be a few thousand dollars richer until we spend it on their products again. If the 99% decide to consume less and realize that it is more beneficial for society to pay MORE for a product, then the changes will certainly be made.

    • twaggoner profile image

      twaggoner 5 years ago

      I think that the Occupy Movement, if it continues to evolve where necessary, can make a difference and help to get the kinds of changes enacted that are necessary to have a country that is prosperous for everyone (not just the few). I agree with you that especially at first some of the OWS "demands" were missed or misquoted which leads to the uninformed or ill willed to gravitate away simply because of misunderstanding. I get the general feeling from your writing that you are not against OWS but have not exposed yourself to what the changes that are being lobbied for actually mean to you. I dont feel that the problem is too many young people coming out of college expecting to be ceo's, its that they are coming out and finding that due to the ever growing greed of corporate entities they cant even find jobs that offer a living wage. Money buying government, tax reform, workers rights, economic equality..these are all basic tenets of the Occupy movement. Its a matter of having been woken up to the fact that the "american dream" is dead, and while you are correct that for the most part we are still lucky to be living in a country that HAD more wealth at one time, it is quickly becoming a carcass that the predators are picking away at. And yes I give what I can now (where I can) so if I had more, I would definitely give more. Thanks for the hub, i look forward to reading more.

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Robert, no criticism intended. I think you're absolutely right about our need to get creative and to rediscover the work ethic our grandparents had. Up and buttons!

    • Patriette profile image

      Patriette 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      No, I do not believe OWS will bring reform. But what OWS will do if it is successful, is what President Obama campaigned on and said he would do--- fundamentally transform our nation from a capitalist, free society to a socialist, tyrannical one. It's really no surprise that these so-called educated occupiers would champion such a transformation considering the socialist indoctrination they receive, from grade school to grad school. Great Hub, Michael...

    • Robert Erich profile image
      Author

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      Hi Molly. I agree that was a little on the overly blunt side and not fully the case. I too am currently working in a semi-volunteer position because of a lack of job openings. I suppose my primary thesis is: It is better to discover a way to solve life's problems on your own then rely on the creativity and problem solving abilities of others. Our nation needs people to get creative. This recession has the potential for giving America the push it needs to remain a world leader - but only if we are willing to work and learn.

      Thanks for your balancing comment. Much appreciated.

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Robert, I'm learning to expect thoughtful commentary from you. I agree with many of your observations here. I don't think they're all whiners (jobs are tough to find these days, and lots of people have been looking for a long time), but it's true that many people from other countries have 10 times our work ethic.