Last updated on June 24, 2020
What did Occupy Wall Street Accomplish?
In the fall of 2011, I spent a lot of time in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, which was Occupy Wall Street’s home base in New York City.
I would go down there after work to take pictures, chat with people, eavesdrop, and just walk around.
It was interesting because I identified with the protesters.
Just a few years prior, I was bumming around South America spending my days smoking weed in parks, selling jewelry and bashing capitalism.
In other words, I was an idiot.
But that was my life before Atlas Shrugged.
Once I read Atlas Shrugged which screwed my head on right, I was no longer the idiot — the people in Zuccotti Park were!
What Was Occupy Wall Street?
Occupy Wall Street was the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis.
People across the country were suffering from losing their jobs, homes and retirement savings.
The protesters were enraged with the bankers, who they felt caused the crisis. Why did the bankers not lose their jobs, or their homes? And why the fuck did the bankers get billions of dollars of bailout money?
Where was the protesters money?!
And so, the movement collectively blamed the state of America on the following groups of people:
- Anyone with money (especially the 1%)
- Bank CEO’s
- Corporate executives
I took pictures of their signs that said things like this:
Chase! Give Us Our Money Back. $92.7 Billion
A Job Is a Right. Capitalism Doesn’t Work!
1,000,000,000,000 in Student Loan Debt. Big Banks Stole Our Future!!
Wall Street Stole My Retirement Fund!
But thanks to Ayn Rand, I could see the protesters were confused.
Her book helps clarify the blurry lines between government / media / society / business.
In other words, why would the bankers refuse free bailout money from the government? Why is it their fault that the government chose to reward them for their behavior instead of punish them?
Not one banker or Wall Street executive went to jail.
Once you can see through the bullshit, the government is always the one to blame and the protesters just didn’t get that.
Think about it — if a bank is stealing money its customers, where are the police? Where the fuck are the authorities to shut down this criminal operation?
Or, if Wall Street is the reason your retirement funds tanked — why is the Fed not stepping in to issue repayment to those impacted? They bailed out Wall Street, so why not the customers?
The government works for the corporations, not for the people. In America, we don’t practice capitalism, we practice corporatism.
The mortgage lenders and financial services industry played a major part in causing the crisis, but our politicians collected lobbying fees to turn a blind eye. Then, when shit hit the fan, our spineless leaders rewarded those same bankers, let the country collapse, and no one went to jail.
Related Reading: The American Dream Includes 30 Years of Debt
Occupy Wall Street Accomplished Nothing
If Occupy Wall Street identified the root of the problem and narrowed in on the lack of regulation that led up to the financial crisis, the lack of accountability, the lack of prosecution, and the BILLIONS paid in bailouts, then maybe the movement could have been relevant.
But no one wants to complain about Obama, do they? They would prefer to blame Wall Street.
Did you know the housing crisis was the result of a government policy called the Community Reinvestment Act?
The policy, which gained popularity in the 1990’s, requires banks to lend to less-than-desirable borrowers. The government agreed to guarantee mortgages that banks issued to Americans with poor credit.
Banks expected the borrower to default, but they didn’t care because the government was enforcing them to issue the loans.
Can anyone be surprised this resulted in a disaster?
The government’s job is to protect its citizens. In the lead up to 2008, it failed us miserably. It was more interested in looking good and “supporting diversity” than being responsible.
The government dropped the ball.
Related Reading: The Untold History of Student Loans
Occupy Wall Street Failed to be Relevant
Since the Occupy protesters couldn’t agree that government is the root cause and therefore should be as limited as possible, they got even more confused.
The movement stood for climate change, then student loans, then criminal justice reform.
It eventually lost all momentum and we are right back to where we were in 2008:
- Wall Street “stole” our retirement funds, yet Americans are still pouring billions into retirement accounts each year…..
- The banks “stole our future” by issuing student loans, yet student debt continues to rise…
- The financial services industry forced us to take out 30-mortgages we couldn’t afford and yet Americans can’t fathom buying a home any other way….
If only the protesters and movement had read these articles above and connected the dots, their message could have been clearer and resonated with more people.
Government is at the root of every social economic issue in history. Americans are getting hoodwinked everyday and supporting bigger government, assuming the next administration, the next party, etc. will save them from their troubles.
Wake the fuck up, government is the problem, never the solution.
Related Reading: The Reason You are Fat
Occupy Wall Street and Wealth Inequality
Even though the movement was largely a failure, it did contribute one thing to society: WE ARE THE 99%
In the aftermath of 2008, it was increasingly evident that the rich won’t suffer. Ever. And the government, which is meant to protect and represent the people, trades money for power and power for money, further widening the wealth disparity.
Can I still not convince you that government is best when its limited?
Why do previous Occupy Wall Street protesters vote Democrat, for bigger government? How does one come to that conclusion after sleeping in tents for weeks angry at rich people? Who do they think protects these rich people?
If the government hadn’t stepped in to bail out the banks, the 1% may have actually suffered.
The CEO’s job is to extract profits, period. The government’s job is to make sure he/ she does so legally.
America is broken, however, because our government refuses to enforce the rules for the rich.
Related Reading: What is Anarcho Capitalism?
If you haven’t read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, please do so as soon as possible if you aren’t scared (raging liberals hate her novel).
But I love it because it helps compartmentalize the roles and responsibilities between Business, Government, Media and Society, which Americans today are mostly clueless about.
For example, if you had talked to me about the 2008 Financial Crisis before Atlas Shrugged, I would have complained how immoral the mortgage lenders behaved. But everyone has the capacity to be immoral, so what modern society relies on is a system to catch immoral behavior (laws, computer system, HR, school policy, etc.).
In the early 2000’s, slimy mortgage brokers sat in the kitchens of illiterate, poor families and convinced them to sign on the dotted line for a brand new $500k home.
The system that should have caught this behavior is called the government. Remember, the government buys the loans from the bankers (per their policy) and it is the government’s responsibly to underwrite the loan and determine its quality.
But the system failed us because the government didn’t review the loans it purchased because it had ulterior motives which was to increase homeownership in America.
Occupy Wall Street missed the opportunity to highlight the colossal failure of government.
They should have changed the conversation from “Fuck this bank” and “Wall Street Sucks” to Where was the government? Why aren’t they accountable? Why do we tolerate their incompetence?
Whose fucking side are they on?!