I haven’t blogged about the ongoing “Occupy Wall Street” (and other) protests, but I did want to share a couple of recent pieces that I found helpful for putting them in context.
Using a plethora of charts, this post at Business Insider lays out about as clearly as you could ask the problems with how our economic system is currently functioning. Or more accurately, how it’s failing to function for many, if not most, of the people in the country.
The problem in a nutshell is this: Inequality in this country has hit a level that has been seen only once in the nation’s history, and unemployment has reached a level that has been seen only once since the Great Depression. And, at the same time, corporate profits are at a record high.
In other words, in the never-ending tug-of-war between “labor” and “capital,” there has rarely—if ever—been a time when “capital” was so clearly winning.
Read the whole thing, as they say.
On a related note, here’s economist and author of The End of Poverty Jeffrey Sachs making a similar argument: “Occupy Wall Street and the Demand for Economic Justice.”
There’s been a bit of hand-wringing among respectable liberals over the fact that the Occupy Wall Street protesters include–horrors!–anarchists, socialists, and other radicals who’d rather scrap American capitalism than reform it. But every protest movement has had its share of radicals–the anti-war and civil rights movements certainly did. And at its best, American radicalism has had a creative and fermenting effect on American liberalism. Radicalism without liberalism may stray into utopianism, but liberalism without radicalism is apt to become a complacent defender of the status quo.