wolfhnd wrote:It is also important to keep in mind that what makes the Wallstreet people so powerful is our own greed.
Aside from the Gordon Geko quote of greed being good, which was taken up as a kind of mantra by the neo-cons, I think it is important to remember that we actually have all kinds of laws to protect even the most greedy. Most of what we call illegal cons or scams work because they target the greedy. Whether we are talking about illegal gambling, pyramid schemes, internet investment offers for some African diamond mine or a chunk of some foreign investment account, etc., these can only work by preying on the greedy. I can only trust you don't mean that retired folk who are greedy enough to want to buy a more efficient furnace should be victim to what turns out to be a fraudulent contractor just because they wanted to save a few bucks.
wolfhnd wrote:The current protest also lack perspective. It is important to look at the communist economies of Russia, China, and Cuba to see the dangers of the alternatives.
Sorry but this is an old example of a false dichotomy but one that seems to have an odd resonance with Americans in particular. The argument seems to be that the only alternative to completely unregulated capitalism is absolute communism under a dictator. There is actually a lot of room in between. In fact, I have certainly long argued that the supply side economic revolution which includes the opening of free market spheres is not very capitalistic at all. What it has accomplished is forcing the competition down so that workers (and tax payers) are the ones forced to compete through accepting lower wages, benefits, job security, etc., while those at the top (i.e., the corporate owners, etc.) can reap disproportionate benefits. They do this in two ways. First, deregulation in the movement of money has meant they can export wealth to the country where they can receive the benefits of the lowest tax rates. Second, they can form multinational monopolies and cartels ultimately reducing or eliminating competition for their products.
To give an example of the latter, one can point to contrasts between the past and the present in some key economic products. Throughout the 20th century, one of the biggest economic impacts has been the rise of the automobile industry. Because of protectionist policies and government (i.e., tax payer) support, some countries like the US (but also, of course, Japan, Germany, Sweden, for a while England, the Italians at least with their trade mark sports cars, etc.) did very well. Others (and I would include Canada, France and of course Russia) didn't compete as well. Similar differences in countries competitive developments, complete with both winners and losers, can be cited in terms of aircraft, weapons and weapon systems, even clothing styles, household appliances, etc. Now we don't have those same regional differences because the big boys, operating through their multinational platforms (ultimately thanks to what different governments and tax payers have given them in terms of economic and regulatory freedoms, etc.) can quickly and easily squash any regulatory policy of fiscal spending (i.e., government or military, etc., investment) that doesn't favour them. We are, I would argue not seeing much in the way of competition at the top (i.e., witness the government bailouts of the big businesses in a trickle down format in 2008) but only at the bottom in workers wages, etc. Sure we are seeing some reduction in prices of goods and services but these are being marketed to all the people who have had to tighten their belts and thus have had stagnant or reduced spending power for the last 30 years.
wolfhnd wrote:Historically the failure of the US economy is going to look pretty week in comparison to the implosion of the Soviet Union.
Truth be told, I have long argued that the US would go the same way as the USSR but it would just take longer because of the deeper pockets built up from before. While I am not convinced the fall is exactly immanent, the combined effects of trickle down economics, which ultimately means only that tax payers/workers (and I certainly include small, medium and even somewhat big businesses) have to shoulder the weight of various kinds of cost cutting by being more "competitive"in terms of salary and wage reduction, benefit reduction, job security (and this is important too because all economists will note that peoples sense of security and optimism about the future has an impact on the domestic economy), etc., and consequently, for the last 30 years, for most people (in this context identified as the "99%") their contribution to the economy has fallen. On the other hand, the rise of more global free trade, has, as I said, reduced competition and allowed large corporations to siphon wealth out of the former economic giants. The US cannot continue this way since they only have increasingly limited fiscal policy that has to be balanced against rising debt to fight even minor fluctuations in the global economy. The fall will happen from within by the increasingly angry majority who have had to accept less and less with each passing decade.