Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | November 7, 2011

Occupy Wall Street; A Taoist Perspective

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been criticized every which way: they have no clear goals, they don’t know what they’re talking about, they’re lazy good for nothings, they’re marxist anarchists, they hate capitalism, they offer no real solutions, they’re misfits and miscreants, and on and on.

But the truth is, most of America realizes that the system is broken and corrupted; not necessarily that the system is wrong. We need systems to have a society. But the secular matrix is broken and needs fixing and needs oversight and needs control and needs some fiduciary responsibility. I have tried to educate myself a bit to understand just what exactly an f’ing derivative is, and while I have a better understanding, I still don’t get it 100%. And there is a reason for this. When someone wants to pull the wool over your eyes, they obfuscate things to such an extent that there’s no hope of you getting it, so you trust they’ll do what they say, and then you’re cooked!

The whole mortgage debacle has plenty of people to blame, and each side can focus on and take your pick. Yes, people bought homes they couldn’t afford, yes, congress mandated banks to give mortgages to more people so that more people could live the American dream. But that mandate got co-opted. Nobody built affordable housing, they just cooked up a mortgage that people could get into easily enough and they didn’t have to worry what would happen down the line because they knew they’d sell it off and then it would get sold off again and who cares. There were also a lot of people who thought they could get in on housing as a business, not as a place to live, so a lot of people bought several houses looking to flip them before the mortgage became untenable. All these people got caught. There’s a whole lot more to this story, but here’s the botom line:

People are occupying Wall Street because they know something’s wrong even if they can’t enunciate it or give a lecture on it. Real wages have been stagnant for 30 years. A lot of people are unemployed or worse yet, underemployed. Credit card companies choose to charge usurous rates that have caused their own peoblems because people can’t pay it instead of charging a reasonable rate that someone can take responsibility for and pay back what they borrow. This has become a debt nation, and our economy has been built on debt as the commodity. Doesn’t that sound terrible? To build a nation of people and an economy on debt, rather than building it on responsible saving and intelligent use of one’s hard earned money?

The system is messed up, and the middle class is getting smaller. Wealth is being concentrated among a smaller and smaller percentage(see The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant to understand that this concentration of wealth has been happening since the beginning of time with the inevitable historical consequence that civilzations eventually shrivel up and die).

I am not an anarchist. I am not a marxist. I am not a socialist. I don’t believe good, hard working people who are successful in life should have their earnings taken away from them. But with freedom comes responsibilty. Steve Jobs and Howard Shultz and all the other entrepreneurs deserve to make money. But they also need to know that all their great ideas are useless and would earn them nothing if the people in the stores weren’t selling their product to the public, so there needs to be a fair share for those in the trenches. Corporations that hire people for 15 to 20 hours a week are not being responsible. Investment companies who research ideas and companies and think something is a good idea and deserves to be invested in are doing the right thing. Companies that are only interested in nickel and diming the economy to the tune of billions of dollars a year by creating markets and trades out of thin air with no regard to what’s actually involved, or what the derivative is derived from, just as long as they make that nickel or dime on the trade itself, because they multiply the trades hundreds and thousands of times, thus turning nickel and diming into billions and billions of money made on nonsense. And if the market they created out of thin air becomes a bubble and blows up, they don’t get hurt, we do.

So, what is the taoist perspective? Extricate yourself from the madness as best as you can. Try not to use the credit card, think about putting your money in a community bank instead of one of the big ones. Don’t allow the confromism and behavioral control of large corporations to control you. As much as politicians and financiers try to control things, the truth is, they can’t. The world will arrange itself. The question is whether these people will act responsibly, conservatively, and honestly so that it has a chance of resolving itself favorably, or if the wild ride will go on until it drives itself off a cliff.

A taoist lives simply, works hard, is honest and has integrity. This will get a taoist through a financial crisis better than the person who is hoarding and trying to hold on to ill gotten gain.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: