Sunday, October 9, 2011

"Occupy Wall Street" Versus What Keeps the Rich Wealthy at the Expense of the Poor

Very few people, rich and poor alike, though ESPECIALLY the people who are not wealthy enough to 'invest' in the stock market ever think about what the 'holly grail' of the richest top few percent of the human species means.  In the States, or anywhere in the world, when the rich, whether liberal/Democrat or conservative/Republican, espouse 'free market capitalism' they are generally talking about one thing: the stock market.

As any economic geography 'opens up', be it poor African countries, or former communist regions, or former dictatorship, one of the first things that takes place is the institution of a new 'stock market'.  On the face of it, this misnomer makes it sound like something very solid and reliable is being put in place: a 'market', or forum for buying and selling tangible portions of viable, profit-making businesses.  "Stock", after all, when you talk about a 'stock room', or 'stocking the shelves', or 'taking stock', means actual goods on shelves in a warehouse.  In the so-called 'stock market', however, this is not at all the meaning.

"Occupy Wall Street" is a movement, at its heart, whether most of the participants realize it or not, to raise awareness of what so-called 'free market capitalism' does to those people who are not wealthy enough to leverage the 'stock market' to increase their wealth.  'Stock markets' around the world are in place for only one reason, to give individuals, corporations and  collective fund managers (many of whose funds are 'funded' by the pension and union accounts of the working poor) the opportunity to gamble and make more money, or risk losing it all due to the individuals involved in buying and selling 'stocks' panicking like a swarm of lemmings -- selling to minimize losses and just driving 'stock' value further 'south'.

Click to enlarge. No cash in the bank: Dow Jones & home ownership rocket as saving declines.

The 'stock market' is a gambling enterprise on a national and global level, pure and simple.  Some 'bets' are more stable than others, but none are guaranteed.  This enormously powerful gambling enterprise has been set up to allow the entire world's economy to be driven by it, allowing the relatively meagre wealth of non-players to be evaporated at the whim of the small group of players.

If you are wealthy enough that you can absorb the losses, it can be very profitable, as during periods of growth all the participants make money as the pool grows, but primarily for the wealthiest players who were 'first in'.  For the rest of us, all that Wall Street represents is the 'haves' playing with commodity prices and our pension and union funds on the basis of nothing more than whether or not the other players are 'feeling' things will move up or down.

[Note that there is one 'point of entry' for members of the 99% to enter this privileged 'casino' and that is as dealers/croupiers: brokers/traders.  It helps if you are also an intense, aggressive individual with very low empathy, focused very narrowly on nothing but making money for your clients without regard to what your monetary manipulations are doing to world commodity prices or to average people's savings funds so that you can scoop off as much commission for yourself as possible.  With a low cost of entry hese 'peripheral players' can make millions, and relatively quickly, fast becoming official members of the 1%!]
A gambling pool?  THAT'S what we've come up with as a global economic platform?  Rich guys betting against each other over whether random natural disasters or the weather will effect the prices we all pay for commodities, or whether everyone else is getting nervous or confident with their bets? 
AND we're going to set up a system in which only the really rich and pathologically power-hungry get into the political system that governs us all?  Holy crap!  Now that's a really stupid plan for the betterment of humankind!
If someone told you they were going to set up a system where a few ballsy poker players were going to gamble your pension funds on a high risk game, most of us would balk, but that's what the global system of stock markets is, just a big global crap shoot played with mostly the money of the 1%, but including a significant portion of your money and mine.  When you add in the fact that this gambling game can, virtually overnight as the players in one country after another panic and sell, help bankrupt entire countries like Iceland and depress economic activity in every country of the world, thereby driving down employment and impoverishing social services that support you and me, it's pretty crazy.

Humans are inherently greedy and short-sighted -- self-interest is what drives us at our core.  Left to our own devices, we WILL screw each other over, led by that significant percentage of the human genome who are devoid of empathy or morals.  Government exists for a simple reason, to force us, en masse, to pool our resources against our baser instinct and both plan for the long-term future and share equitably.  Freezing sales on specific stocks or shutting down exchanges until cooler heads prevail (more rational thinking returns) is sometimes the only way to prevent an almost instant collapse.

The US version of democracy is fundamentally flawed because it has foolishly been allowed to (so far) inextricably link its conceptual foundations to 'free enterprise capitalism'.  What the "Occupy Wall Street" movement is beginning to realize is that a government of the people that is not run by the people, but is run by the wealthiest, self-centred and short-sighted few, will inevitably screw the voting majority by hoodwinking them into agreeing with what is actually against their best interests.

The Republican party in the US is especially devoid of any moral compass in this regard, shamelessly manipulating the emotions of a vast swath of under-educated Americans with fear-mongering, half-truths and outright falsehoods that 'light up' the 'hot buttons' of their blindly loyal voters, blatantly mixing religious issues into politics in a country that stands up and SHOUTS that it's constitution separates church and state, baldly hinting that a half-black president is not really deserving of his office as he is 'other' and therefore not like them.

At the end of the day, the wealthiest leaders of this voting block do whatever works most effectively to get themselves re-elected, then they go back to looking after the best interests of themselves and their buddies (investors in health insurance 'stock') by whitewashing their not-so-smart voters with a non-stop barrage of bullshit to convince them that tax-supported universal healthcare is not in their best interests.  LOL!  These people actually vote Republican while going bankrupt paying for their daddy's heart bypass operation.

Throughout human history groups representing the best interests of the common people have rebelled against the wealthy few to regain some measure of control/self-determination and wealth.  America did this against England in the late 1700's, the former Soviet Bloc countries succeeded in doing so against their so-called 'communist' ruling elite, but only ended up giving up control to a few members of the former KGB and Politburo.  Average Americans are starting to do the same again today against their ruling elite, the wealthy few who continue to 'game the system' to enrich themselves at the expense of the rabble, the hoi polloi, the bourgeoisie, the 'great unwashed'.  If you want to become really rich, don't sell expensive things to the rich, sell cheap commodities to everyone.

The world's average folk are beginning to 'get it'.  They're beginning to realize that, while the American Dream is seductive, basic statistical analysis reveals that, no matter how hard we all try to become rich, only a few ever will be -- and they'll do so at our expense, so it's up to the 99% of us to stand up and demand a more equitable system than the rich have gradually concocted for themselves, for their families and their friends over time under the guise of democracy. 


  1. So what are we to do with our "retirement savings"? Savings accounts don't pay anything and many, many people have managed to retire and live comfortably because there is such a thing as a stock market for them to "invest" their money in. For those who have some money set aside, it seems the best alternative at the moment. For those who do not have any money set aside, it isn't costing them anything anyway. What, do you think, are some of the alternatives or options?

  2. You echo my exact sentiments. There are no free lunch to be had. All those who got wealthy got there by gambling skilfully in the social web we call economy and maligning their fellow human beings. Statistically speaking, the distribution of material wealth has always been a strict pyramid. Or better still, it is a very shallow pyramid, with a very wide base and a short height. Yet at the collective level, everyone deludes him/herself into believing that they just have to bet patiently to bubble their individual selves towards the apex of the pyramid. And those who actually at its top work hard to make other believe that the pyramid will somehow metamorphose itself into a high rise platform, with no other floors below.



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