Friday, November 04, 2011

Occupy Movement on Wrong Street

They "occupy" movement that gained ground over the past month is an interesting study in human psyche. This movement contains thousands of people gathering in locations across the country (and the globe) protesting something. I use the word "something" because it is unclear what that "something" is. Some say it is about the distribution of wealth, some say it is against corrupt government, others are protesting jobless rates, and many are just looking for something to do.

The slogan used is 99% vs the 1%. At its core, the protest seems to be about the inequality of the wealthiest 1% of people vs the 99% of everyone else. The reality is that this is just fancy jargon that ignores many other percentages that, in the end, will accomplish nothing to help distribute wealth among all people.

This use of fancy jargon puts the emphasis in the wrong places. Sure it is hard to believe that some people make so much money but how many of these protesters are using their wealth to distribute to the biggest percentage of the 99%? Over 64% of the world has wealth less than $10,000. 92% of the world possesses wealth less than $100,000. This is not income, this is the entire value of assets. So if you own a car, have a little equity in a home, and an annual income that adds up to more than $100,000 you are in the elite 7% of the wealthiest people on earth.

In my family, we are in the middle of the pack for American income but we are in the elite 7% of the world's wealthiest people.

Because of this fact, we share some of our wealth to support kids in poverty, to build wells in countries with no access to safe and clean water, and to feed the hungry in our community. We never say things like, "we are broke" or , "we are poor". We do not have much compared to the rest of our community in Orange County, but we are wealthy.

I am a strong supporter of taking care of "orphans and widows", of feeding the hungry, and of defending the oppressed. I believe that those who are blessed with more should be willing to take care of those who do not have enough. If the occupy movement wants to make a difference, the protest needs to move from Wall Street to Main Street. We need to create a culture where we are content with what we have and do something good within our abilities. If we want to protest, we can tell congress to get to work or we will vote them out , we can take our business away from organizations that are greedy and unethical, and we can bring our business to those who do positive things with their wealth. (Ironically some of the most charitable companies such as Wells Fargo Bank are being protested by the occupy movement).


Perry said...

You would think I would have given up checking for new blogposts from you, but still do once a week or so. Glad to see something new, and agree 100%.

Steve said...

Good words ryan. I was just thinking about this the other day. I have a friend who is really into it and sitting here in India I'm constantly reminded of the rest of the world's 99%. Hope you guys are doing well.