Several related themes keep coming up in our local Occupy group, and in my individual conversations with other members: 1) This issue / these issues are so COMPLICATED. 2) There is just SO MUCH information. 3) There are TOO MANY issues to keep track of. I completely agree with these observations, as over the past several years I have spent many hundreds (thousands?) of hours reading, researching, thinking about, and discussing many of the main issues brought to the forefront by the Occupy movement. I have been making notes as I read and think, and one sentence keeps turning up lately – “It’s all related”.
Looking mainly at the financial sector of the American economy’s growth over the past 20 to 30 years, there have been hundreds of thousands of people doing many millions of individual tasks, which were all working toward the same goal – making money. In most businesses, making money involves providing goods or services at a competitive price, while having some left over for profit. In the financial sector the goal tends to be taking as much of your customer’s money as you can get away with. The financial sector has been steadily working to get laws and regulations relaxed or repealed, coming up with new financial instruments (scams), creating bubbles for themselves and their wealthiest customers, and generally working harder to extract as much wealth as it can from the world’s economy.
With this in mind, we can go right down most any list of issues Occupy is concerned with, and directly relate how the money aspect is one of the root causes of the issue. Money out of politics – the financial sector spends money to bend the laws to it’s will so it can make more money. No Wall Street crooks in jail – bribery, changed laws so evil behavior is ‘legal’, used money to pay ‘fines’ to avoid jail. War – military / industrial complex makes money, oil interests make more money. Healthcare / Insurance – take money from patients, hospitals, and Medicare to enrich CEOs and shareholders. We could go on and on. Any of the dozens of issues Occupy is trying to improve can be tied to the shenanigans of the financial sector within 2 or 3 steps.
Millions of individual tasks done in thousands of organizations over 30 years time is obviously going to be incredibly complicated, and involve an enormous amount of information. The large amount of issues we are trying to deal with can be simplified somewhat if we remember how they relate to the money. Undoing millions of individual tasks will take many more millions of individual tasks. Fixing or improving the problems at hand will be measured not in days or weeks, but in years. So let’s pick a task and get busy.