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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Direction of Occupy Wall Street

What I hope the direction goes:

1. Toward holding mainstream media accountable for what they report. In my opinion, and this may be heavy-handed for some, but I believe media outlets should be required by law to cite specific allegations made in Op-Eds etc., and or to severely limit Op-Eds in general (not to be confused with opinions sent in by the public).

2. Toward a newer better kind of financial reform than what the Obama administration passed 2 years ago. What we need is to break-up big banks NOW, like we did Ma Bell. We need more strict financial leverage and capital requirements to prevent the systematic risks many financial institutions increased during the crisis. We need to get the Fed out of the business of fine-tuning (playing) with base interest rates. They think they do the economy good when in fact they just act to help the private sector hide bubble formations by accommodating risky loans. I am not in favor of full 'rule' requirements, but nor am I in favor of full 'discretion' which is what we have now. To this end I hope the movement focuses on the causes of the disease (academic economists and finance persons who ignored reality for decades in favor of training future generations the same faulty science).

3. We need to demand a different kind of Congress - one where rules of the House don't dominate the needs and demands of the people. This is the trickiest thing to change and something I at least think we need to have a real dialog about.

Where I hope the direction doesn't:

1. I hope it doesn't disintegrate into an Obama-coddling liberal (spending) love-fest. I hope it isn't just about class warfare or short-sighted robbing Trump to pay Bob the Builder. Playing games with tax policy is not helpful. I would love for the bad bankers etc. (tax the rich) to pay up for destroying the economy, but at some point we have to stop focusing on the past and move on toward preventing it in the future.

2. I hope it doesn't serve to bash capitalism beyond what is called for. The problem is not capitalism per se in relation to other economies. The problem is how we teach capitalism to our young. We teach everything in terms of 'profit-maximization' and short-sighted 'utility-maximization' and we hope that our students come out well-rounded persons for society? That just doesn't make sense. We could instead teach a kind of moral capitalism. Where the good of the individual is at least in part based on the good of society as a whole. Are humans inherently greedy, sure to a degree, but our teachings certainly don't do anything to temper that - it actually exacerbates it.


KenKen said...

It is funny you said moral capitalism because I was just talking to a friend about this. We are told that "more" is better and greed is okay because we live in America and why else should you be in business if not for high profits??? Yet I asked him, how long can that last? And also is that what made us "great"?

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