It seems as though the western world has become enamored with the Occupy movement with protests happening in many citys. The size varies from tens of thousands to under a hundred. All the protesters have the same m.o. They want the government to bring down the banks and the corporations, make economic equality for all and protect the environment. They are saying the 1 percent holds 99 percent of the wealth.
I am sympathetic to the plight of the protesters. I believe that there is too much wealth held by to few and in turn control the government by lobbying for what they want, and putting money towards the right, who's platform is based on capitalism. The rich end up paying almost no taxes, based on the argument that corporate taxes must be low to grow the economy, create jobs, invest in equipment, etc. On paper this makes sense, if the corporations actually do this. Instead many thousands of jobs have been lost because of cheap overseas labour and lax environmental laws. It is less expensive to ship raw materials overseas, manufacture without the watchdogs looking at the pollution, and ship it back to be sold. Often the items are of lower quality than ones domestically manufactured. I can't count how many things I have bought from a box store that have been broken or compromised in someway, that I have to return. If you ever notice most box stores will take an item back without any argument. Its because the items are so inexpensive for them to replace, its not worth losing a customer over. I know one instance where a pair of work boots that sold for over $100 dollars cost the company something in the neighborhood of less than $20. That is an incredible mark up. Shame on them.
On the other side, I have a hard time not being a little cynical towards some of the protesters. They are saying that they can't find a job. They have student loans they can't pay. They can't afford food. I have a hard time with people who want the government to fix everything, to feed them and house them. It gets to be to much like communism. Communism doesn't work. The idea is romantic, everyone gets the same, housing, wage, food, education. Human nature has a competitive streak in it. It is survival of the fittest. For the most part humans want to have than there neighbor. Communism also means having less. Governments can't pay everyone enough money to have a McMansion, three cars, an iPhone for everyone. The people of Cuba have very little, they seem happy, but how can it be good if they are constantly fleeing and risking their lives to go to Florida. They want more. More money, a bigger house, a new car.
I also wonder how many of these folks, who can't find a job and are saddled with student loan debt, did research into what was a good profession to work towards in college. I saw on the news the other day there were three thousand new teachers graduation from university in B.C., for a thousand jobs. Are you kidding me. Why? I would think that with a little fore sight this would have been obvious. How many have useless degrees? Are you employable? Whats your attitude about work? I feel like there are too many that forget that one may have to do shitty, hard, labor jobs to make a living. We can't all be teachers, marine biologists, and artists. It another romantic notion. I would love to be a full time writer or wood carver, but its a hobby. Pretty tough to make a living when so many others want the same thing. Get a trade. Get paid to go to school. Put off university for a few years until you can make enough money to pay for your post secondary with out debt.
I know that I am a little biased towards what is happening in B.C. and I have no personal experience with how things are down in the U.S. I feel like if you aren't afraid to get dirty, have a open mind, be creative and work your ass off, you can have a better job. There are only so many baristas needed in this world.
Good reading on the subject of capitalism: The Walmart Effect by Charles Fishman.
I had a thought the other day. I pondered the idea of making the box store corporations start paying for landfills. With the amount of packaging that comes with the smallest product is stomach churning. More plastic in the package that the product, and most of it isn't recyclable. It is another one of the true costs that isn't calculated in the price of a product, along with the carbon spewed in transportation and manufacture, and the pollution to land, air and water. What are your feelings on these issues?