Occupy Wall Street didn’t make it. They didn’t really make a difference and the movement didn’t survive. In fact all that the Occupy movement got known for was untidy evictions from their various vantage points. Oh wait. They did manage to engineer the resignation of the Dean at St Paul’s in London. Success? Hardly.
Yet their message was incredibly important. Stop fat cat practices in the corporate world. Those practices that lead to indecent profits, huge CEO salaries and pittance pay to the people who make the organisation function. Those toilet cleaners, PA’s, support staff and more.
And sure. Warren Buffett‘s secretary earns over $100k per year. Seems a lot, but then look at the profits that his Berkshire Hathaway makes and you have to wonder about the unfairness of it. I am going to presume for the sake of the argument that the rest of the non investment broker staff also earn small salaries. Can’t see the cleaner getting more than $100k per year. Can you?
So what happened? Surely the stats of the top 20% of the population in the USA hold 89% of the wealth should be something that would ‘occupy’ the minds of the eighty percent of the USA that fight for the scraps of the wealth.
Perhaps a random idea is that the Americans are so used to thinking that everybody can make it in the USA and therefore if they are poor they can only blame themselves, surely. They just didn’t make it and they better be happy with their fate.
What the disenfranchised people in the developed world are forgetting is that they do have the power. They don’t actually need to think it’s their fault that they are not getting an equitable slice of the wealth cake. And perhaps one should not forget the developing world where the same inequalities are coming to the fore.
It was therefore great to see in Switzerland a move by the ordinary people taking back some of that power. The people voted overwhelmingly against high executive pay. Lead by one individual, Thomas Minder owner of a family-owned business, a tiny outrage ended up becoming a popular vote.
And that’s how it has to be done if you want to change the world. Messy occupy movements where people settle in tents on the fringe of financial district? No. A well thought through campaign that appeals to the ordinary people via legal and regular channels? Yes to that.
It surely applies to all of the changes that people want to make. Violence, riots, uprisings, demonstrations are not the way to do it. Even in the Arab world the uprisings have not really made a difference instead allowing lunatic fringe religious groups to run the show. Talk about a step back into the dark ages.
You want to make a change? Do it within the system. Just like the Swiss did. They changed the law. We can do that too. And with social media allowing us to talk so freely to each other and making it easy for tribes to get together it really isn’t necessary anymore to camp on the doorstep of the stock exchanges.