By Leen Karman at Oct 26, 2011
Paul Street said:
Do I wish I’d met more tough-minded critics of the profits system and the bourgeoisie than I have on my journeys into the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement and its different regional offshoots?
But so what? They’re kids and this movement is in its very early stages. I sure didn’t have "everything figured out" in my 20s, that’s for sure.
Do we understand? We, those who are commenting in praise of Occupy Wall Street, those who are complaining about the main stream media only reluctantly paying some attention to these people? And the wrong attention, we know for sure.
Now, between all the tunes, all the harmonies of that newly created universe, there is a pedal point.
Do they occupy the White House? No.
Do they occupy the Pentagon? No.
Do they occupy the Supreme Court Building? No.
They occupy Wall Street, the street of the bankers, the street of the money.
The street of the Greed!
They are protesting GREED.
[At the moment of writing there seems to be an OFFICIAL release of a list of 23 grievances. Most of these have to do with greed. Conspicuous: nr. 5 speaks of the cruel treatment of animals, nr. 22 deals with foreign affairs and says: they have participated in torture and murder ... (bold LK)]
I agree with Paul Street: at the moment it doesn't harm that they haven't figured out everything about greed. But it seems important to me that those who are applauding, who are amplifying the voice, who are organizing support, that these people know what they are talking about. The more because their complaint to the main stream media is: the kids are protesting because your ignorance was bought by the Wall Street owners!
Again Paul Street: I’ve never understood greed.
I gave him already two reasons why he better should, but there's another one. If you do want to understand Occupy Wall Street and you do not want to understand greed: mission impossible.
The Parecon boys should understand greed - not only because of their comments, but dealing with it will be a determining factor for the success of Parecon. And there is some misunderstanding among the believers.
Mark Evans wants to rule it out by remuneration criteria
Joseph Waters knows only of the greed of the middle class.
It's not to me to give a lecture in order to have a thorough understanding of greed - but perhaps I can be of some help with a few reminders. In order to have some image of what exactly was the greed of those big shots that destroyed our economy, or, according to Occupy Wall Street, our future.
But first there is one point I would like to make: greed in itself is nothing - apart from the fact that there's also greed for advancement which some think has a positive connotation.
I am talking greed for power and greed for money. I think for our purpose it is not necessary to distinguish between the two - in the end it has the same consequences.
So, an example of greed for power.
Obama, in his greediness for power, doesn't sit at an official diner, grabbing and taking all the food himself - he would never have made it.
So there is a very accompanying feature: manipulation. Obama manipulates people with tales about hope and change and that has brought him at the top!
As is the same with greed for money.
I assume we are talking about the Wall Street owners - the bankers, the hedge fund managers.
Greed and manipulation.
What have the bankers to do with it, or the hedge fund managers?
For those who think they started the whole business, let me remind you of Lee Iacocca, manager of Chrysler. I think at the pinnacle of his career he was paid more than anyone in the world could dream of, for a very long time to come. And he was certainly not the only one to think he deserved it!
And he was one of the first to sell parts of the business to make his own business stronger and to leave others with holding the baby.
What did the banks actually do?
They did rather a good job!
May I remind you of Singer? They made sewing-machines for family use. But they didn't pay their workers well, so no one could afford to buy his wife one. A bit stupid isn't it?
But products in a supply room are of no use to a capitalistic entrepreneur.
May I remind you of Ford Motor Company - the same problem!
They solved that problem: they invented buy now, pay later! Actually, it was Singer who started with some kind of hire-purchase.
They invented consumer credit. Now you can say a lot of nasty things about consumer credit, but it gave the economy a giant leap!
What did the banks? They took it as their business, they organized it. They organized also the Giro system, enabling transferring money in bulk. Alongside with all forms of buy now, pay later like the Credit Card.
They organized it, and they organized it damn well.
Well, giant steps, home run ... but it is not oversimplifying.
Every American citizen a car, every American citizen a house, every American citizen a credit card with which he could buy himself a color TV without the help of God.
Every American could now go to the shops with Christmas or Turkey Day
And off course, every American a bank account and paying the costs of this lending.
Did the banks ask too much?
Well, that is arbitrary. We shouldn't be al too surprised that it takes some greedy people to enable greediness!
Did Chrysler ask too much for his cars?
Were we manipulated into it? Possibly.
Does that make us less responsible? I do not think so.
So we polluted our ambience. We praised Steve Jobs.
And then ... the bubble burst.
Now who are we going to blame?
The industry managers. Oh yes, but that's for another time.
Our selves for the pollution?
Are you kiddin'?
Ourselves for our greediness?
Bug off Karman, shut up with your stupid questions!
So, today it's the day of the bankers - the day of the facilitators of our own greed.
Juan Cole has given some figures. Let me do the calculation.
Every American the same wealth, the same income - the distribution not a bent curve but a straight line, 45 degrees.
Now apart from the fact that you can't distribute equally all the properties, it would leave every American with something more than a little bit of money.
I am not the one to amplify the Republican tale that we have to say thanks to the rich, but one thing is sure: the economy would be as dead as a doornail!
Mind you, we are just talking USA: I am not talking of global equality: every world citizen equal income, equal property. It would destroy the economy.
Okay, not the Parecon economy, but sorry, that economy is still not in place.
I said: not every world citizen.
Why was there no protest against the murder of about half a million of Iraqis?
Why was there no protest when shortly after Christmas 2008 Gaza was assaulted?
Why no protest against the drones, not even when directed to a USA citizen, murder by the President Men!
And if that all is asked too much, or none of their business, because another continent - why no protest against the life sentence for three fund raisers for the needs of Palestinian kids in Gaza by an American judge?
Indeed, that was not the time. Not then.
But now, now they are no longer enabled to facilitate their greed!
This protest is greed driven! As I wrote before: they want a fair share of the American economy, and in Rome they want a fair share of the Italian economy.
Is that a problem? Shouldn't we support them?
I don't think so. It's worth fighting for a more acceptable distribution of income.
I just want to question the motives.
And what is more: we shouldn't mistake our future after the protests!
To be correct, it was the bankers who were facilitating our greed. But it needed a government to bail out, from our money, what should have been fallen. Even more correct, most of the problem was mutual debts within the banking system; a good government should have asked these "greedy" managers to solve their problems by clearing up the mess.
Now, next year it's election time. Will we see other faces then Obama versus Romney or Perry or whatever salesman of American dreams?
Will we see other faces then Reid, Pellosi? Or Boehner McConnell?
I bet we won't.
I am afraid that if these occupying kids are given some pittance - as long as they can believe they get their share, and the rich and the wealth certainly will figure out what the price exactly has to be - they will go home and start working every day for another pittance
1789 was about greed. 1848 was about Greed. 1917 was about greed.
Why aren't we able to deal with it, once and for all?
Can it be that we are kind of paralyzed when we see greediness, evolutionarily spoken, not out of disgust but because of admiration, jealousness perhaps - having a sense of understanding that it is a better feature for survival then the techniques we ourselves are wielding?