Monday, October 3, 2011

Occupy Wall Street–The Wrong Approach

I have been watching with some concern about the growing number of “Occupy __Insert Name Here___” organizations that have sprung up in recent days in the US, whether it’s “Occupy Wall Street” in my old stomping grounds, Occupy Chicago or any of the other groups.

I am not surprised that people are protesting.  With the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots in America, a lot of people are becoming angry at certain establishments, whether it be large corporations or governments.  They are also becoming afraid of their inability to provide long-term sustenance for themselves and their families.

What worries me is the lack of understanding of how we came to be in this mess and how we will get out of it.

It is true that a number of people in the upper echelons of organizations had greed as their primary motivator as they manipulated a system for their own advantage.  Some, like the Bernie Madoffs in the world, did make their wealth illegally. 

However, many play completely within the rules to build their wealth and so if you want to protest against someone, you need to protest against the people who make the rules and not against the ones who benefit from the rules. 

In addition, there are many wealthy people out there who earned their wealth.  They didn’t step back and wait for a hand-out.  Many put everything on the line to get what they have, all the while playing within the rules.

So people can’t protest based on some “moral” grounds.  Morals are as much open to interpretation today as someone describing to a blind person what the color blue looks like.  There are many protestors who, if handed a million dollars, would suddenly “understand” and would stop protesting.  It is an interesting side of human nature that very few who benefit from the rules have an issue with the rules.

The other concern I have is that there are no actual leaders of these protests.  There are no real stated intentions outside of protesting against “the man” for the reasons of fighting their greed or their alleged intentional oppression of certain classes.

There is no strategy outside of “let’s try to tear the whole system down and see what we can come up with”.

The problem with this lack of a coordinated plan is that it is very similar to the strategy currently in place by many government officials as we wrestle with the current economic crisis.

The current random strategies being deployed, whether it’s the latest flavor of quantitative easing that didn’t work, a hastily concocted round of spending cuts and tax increases that will magically create a bazillion jobs or something else all show that hurried execution without long term strategic planning and smart tactical execution produces a big, complicated mess.

Such a big complicated mess requires careful correction and not additional hasty, random measures, otherwise it produces a larger mess that will continue to grow until it’s too large to fix.

But economics, like nature, is self correcting.  It will eventually correct itself, whether by our hand or by natural evolution.  This correction, which I have often referred to as the Great Correction, will be the great equalizer and will sharply narrow the gap between the haves and the have-nots.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this occurs within the next 9-12 months, with a few worrisome warnings along the way.

So when I look at the “Occupy XYZ” groups springing up, I have one observation for them.

If you want to be the change you wish to see, then do it intelligently, strategically and tactically.

Otherwise your non-strategic, leaderless, random execution is no better than the system you are protesting against and is not going to produce much of any substance.

In fact, if you get too disruptive, you will probably draw the military in to establish law and order and by then, your claims regarding the lack of freedoms or excessive amounts of chaos in one of the greatest nations on earth will actually manifest.

The only difference is that you will have created it.

And by then, your opportunity to influence change will really be diminished.

So I respect the passion and intention of the Occupy Wall Street group.  Once the passion is focused strategically, tactically and collaboratively with an eye towards real solutions, only then are real solutions possible.

Otherwise, we slip deeper into the mess we are in.

And that doesn’t help anyone.

In service and servanthood,


PS - A Conspiracy Spin

For those that like a good conspiracy theory (and the Occupy Wall Street group probably has people who embrace conspiracy theories), think of this.  Mayor Bloomberg predicted a couple of weeks back that if we weren’t careful, we would start to have demonstrations and / or riots in the streets.

Did Mayor Bloomberg or a colleague:

a. Predict the current situation using his years of political and business experience?

b. Accidentally inspire someone to actually start the demonstrations?

c. Plant some organizers amongst the rioters in order to start the demonstrations, with intention to create trouble for some reason?  (See my blog “Reading the Fine Print” for one suggestion).

Only hindsight will tell us for sure. :-)

PPS – CNN Speaks to Protestors

This was an interesting bit on CNN.  Yes, I know the conspiracy people will say that the media is part of this …. but this is an interesting piece worth watching.


  1. I see that Mr. Tucker continues to 'moderate' aka censure comments on his blog. Mr. Tucker is the very thing he accuses other of being. So typical.

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    As you can see, I release any comments sent to me.

    Take care and create a great day.