Monday, May 7, 2012

Occupy Confusion

This feels a little bit like putting my foot in my mouth - since I'm going to say some things that I might regret later. Oh well.

I keep thinking about the Occupy movement, trying to understand the message, the goal, the idea. I'm not a lot closer to getting it than I was when it started. - Actually, I understood the concept behind Occupy Wall Street just fine - it was the execution that was completely wrong. Since then it's gotten more confused and even less effective in delivering a message - well except perhaps - Lynch the 1%!

So far the Message seems to be:
Corporations are not People
Something about immigration
National Heath Care is broken
Rich people should pay more taxes
Greed is the root of all evil, therefore you should give us what we want because it's not fair for you to have it when we don't.
I just want to destroy stuff because.

Any sales trainer or marketing person will tell you, keep your message clear and simple. Apparently there are no marketing or sales people involved in the occupy movement. If there are other messages they're so lost in the noise I'm not seeing them.

So let's take a look at these messages one at a time.

Corporations are not People - True, they are a legal fiction that management hide behind so they can blame their actions on the Share Holders. I have more than a few problems with the legal fiction of the corporation. I understand the need to sell shares to capitalize, and the benefit to investing, that's the good side of a corporation. The bad side is the way they get used. The company builds a product they know is faulty, but they do it anyway because the potential profits outweigh the potential costs of lawsuits, and there is no personal liability - so why not. Small corporations operate in a fraudulent manner, file bankruptcy, fold up, and start over with a new name and the same criminal practices.

I much prefer the Limited Liability Partnership. At least in this case the major players are actually subject to the consequences of their actions.

If you look at companies like Exon, or JPMorgan, or BofA you can see the dark side of the corporation and they are far from the only examples. In the case of BofA it's so extreme I'm sort of surprised the asshats are still alive.

Something about immigration This has gotten way too emotional - if they are illegal - send them home. If they're not - then treat them as if they were citizens of the U.S.A. It's not that hard. Sure there are lots of ramifications. If you send the illegals home, it will have an impact of prices. If you don't send them home, you basically saying - It's OK to exploit them as cheap labor. If your saying make them all citizens, I'd ask who the hell is going to pay for it? And if you say - the government I'm going to smack you upside the head with a 2x4. California tried that - they're bankrupt.

National Heath Care is broken
Yep. Broken pretty much everywhere it's been tried, with the possible exception of Denmark, maybe Sweden - but I say that out of a profound ignorance, it might be just as bad there as say in England where it's going broke, and it takes months to have critical issues treated.

I have no idea how to fix this. Perhaps if our expectations weren't quite so high... A good portion of the problem lies with our legal system - which is broken beyond repair. Part of it is the sense of entitlement. I've yet to hear any solution that I think has a chance in hell of working.

- Well actually I have some vague notions that I need to think on - they probably won't work, but...

Rich people should pay more taxes
I think I'd like to revise this. How about a corporate business tax on salaries and bonuses (including stock or stock options) in excess of say, $500,000 a year. - Say a 1000% tax, be kind of hard to sell that $10,000,000 bonus to the shareholders wouldn't it :). If you own the company, or it's a limited partnership, no extra tax - because it's YOUR company, not the shareholders. (yeah that's my anti corporate economy thing showing itself - but I really do think the thing that ruins the free market is government intervention and creating a legal fiction like the corporation is definitely interference.)

Greed is the root of all evil, therefore you should give us what we want because it's not fair for you to have it when we don't.
Blah Blah Blah - you want it - go work for it. Greed is a basic part of human nature - yeah it can be controlled, and if you believe in enlightened self interest, you probably do control it to a major extent. But that does not entitle anyone to the fruits of your labor. We had a word for people who's labor was exploited for the benefit of others - I think it was Slave.

I just want to destroy stuff because.
Classify them as looters and shoot them on sight. (Too harsh?)

Yes, I think the economy sucks, yes I think members of the 1% profited from creating the situation that made it possible. Yes I think the 1% profited again from their influence in government. No I don't think the changes made have been very effective, why would you expect them to be? It's not in the governments best interest to piss off their biggest donors - getting reelected (the only real concern of elected officials), is mostly a money thing, voters opinions are much to fickle and easy to change with sufficient funds.

So, one of the reasons I don't like the Occupy movement is the lack of a clear message, it seems to be a case of mass whining with no articulation. The other reason I don't like it is how they behave when they get together - it's the kind of thing I'd expect to see from a similarly sized group of baboons.

I think a more effective approach would be to focus on one company at a time, and have everyone purchase as many shares as possible - then go VOTE at the shareholders meetings. Vote for ethical behavior, reasonable salaries, Elect a board of directors with a conscience - then move on to the next company - sooner or later they'd get the idea. (Yeah I know, takes too long, too much dedication to principle, a clear goal.....)

- Posted from the pad


  1. Few people understand the distinctions of Limited Liability Partnerships/Corporations, etc. They also don't understand, and in many cases don't want to understand, the purposes behind the "legal personhood" of corporations; especially with the Occupy movement, whether the socialist or anarchist contingents, all they "know" is that corporations are evil, and therefore want to end their existence.

    1. Sad but most likely true.

      I still have a hard time viewing the Occupy Anarchists as Anarchists, probably because I used to viewing in terms of a philosophy and the term has been morphed into meaning "To hell with everyone but us (whoever us happens to be)". Mostly I think they're a bunch of jerks taking avantage of a situation to be malicious, I'd be a bit surprised if any of them have an cogent view on any issue. - Could be wrong, wouldn't be the first time, won't be the last.