THE ZEITGEIST MOVEMENT: RESPONSE TO "OCCUPY WALL STREET"
On Sept 17th 2011, a grassroots expression of contempt was launched in the heart of the world's financial center in lower Manhattan of New York City, also commonly known to the world as the institution of "Wall Street". As of Sept 26th, there have been over 80 arrests and many recorded instances of what appears to be violence and abuse coming from the police and security forces there. However, the protesters remain vigilant in what could very well be a landmark event that will resonate for some time to come.
The Zeitgeist Movement would like to extend its public support to this basic expression.
As the world awakens to a failing financial system with growing civil unrest emerging without the bias of sovereignty, religion or political loyalty, a new, unifying perspective is slowly taking hold which transcends the framework many of us falsely assume as empirical to our way of life.
With the slow grind down of the global workforce as machine automation continues to replace human labor for the benefit of corporate cost efficiency, simultaneously reducing purchasing power and hence inevitably stifling so called “Economic Growth”; with the ever expanding Debt Crisis born out of the Fractional Reserve Lending System and the simple reality that money is created out of debt and sold as a commodity in exchange for Interest - Interest that can only again come onto existence through more loan sales; with the looming military programs growing in virtually all major powers as the financial crisis, coupled with a pending hydrocarbon energy crisis, begins to suggest a stage of global conflict possibly never before seen; along with the market psychology of Infinite Growth Consumption that continues to pervade and distort our values and what it means to live in harmony with nature on a finite planet...
...it might be time we begin to see that the social problems at hand are not specific to any general policy, administration, or even so called "corporate greed". The real problem at hand is actually systematic via the very core foundation of what defines our Economic System and the psychology that is supported and rewarded.
The historical illusion that continues to this day is that someone or some group is explicitly to "blame". Rather than focus on the 400 people who have more wealth than 150 million in America or the fact that globally 1% of the world's population has more wealth than 40%, let's instead ask ourselves how such a manifestation is even possible and, more critically, why we would expect anything less? Think about it.
After all, it's the "Free-Market", isn't it? Contrary to the statistically void efficiency assumptions made by most Market Economists, the Free-Market simply means anyone can do whatever they want and maximize however they want within the confines of legal legislation; legal legislation which, make no mistake, is also for sale in the Free-Market as well; as are political officials, regulatory institutions and whatever social entity you wish to consider.
Nothing but maximizing monetary gain is sacred and anytime a person or group brings some detrimental social or environmental consequence of this system to the forefront, pejorative distinctions are usually branded upon their forehead to stifle such concern and frighten other detractors – such as being called a “Socialist” or “Communist”.
Furthermore, while people in protest today across the world continue to condemn monetary influence in social dealings such as the legal reality of Corporate Lobbying, even using such colorful terms as "Corporatism", “Crony-Capitalism” and even “Fascism”, they seem to misunderstand what this system is and always has been.
The Free-Market model of Economics is a haphazard, unscientific anarchy of organization which assumes that any person or group with enough money and hence power will be “responsible” in their actions both socially and environmentally. The problem is that the very definition of being "financially responsible” actually means to be socially and environmentally exploitative, manipulative and negligent, for the main driver of this system is Inefficiency. The more problems in society in general, the more jobs are created and the more rich the upper 1% become. There is an empirical decoupling from what actually supports life and no alteration of the core configuration of the monetary-market Incentive will likely change that.
On a different level, this system, as an historical evolution, is actually based on a culturally hegemonic pretense. Once economic advantage is obtained, it will likely be kept. This is why everything in the system favors the wealthy by its general structure and inherent logic. While the public might complain about the fact that top Hedge Fund Managers bring in over 300 million dollars per year, they often do not find objection with an Interest system that rewards those with high deposits and essentially taxes those using credit. While you may buy your home with a loan, paying thousands in interest a year, a person of wealth can make a CD Investment and gain free interest income simply because they have the money to spare.
Class separation and perpetuation and the growing wealth divide is not a byproduct. It is inevitable. In the Free-Market, one is actually “free” to take away the liberty of others through the mere economic pressures generated from the game. You are only as free as the size of your wallet. The term “Institution Racism” was coined by civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael in the 1960s referring to how often unnoticed underlying policies and structures within the social system undermined African American prosperity and equality. What we have today is a mere variation: “Institutional Classicism”.
Wall Street itself, which is the ultimate manifestation of the pursuit of money as a commodity rather than any form of true creation or social contribution, is naturally a ripe entity for symbolic objection for, at a minimum, it shouldn't exist at all and most certainly not have the grand effect it does on the stability of the global economy today, regardless of the inherent shortcomings denoted.
However, that stated, it must again be made clear that Wall Street and the Banking System are not the source of our problems. They are only symptoms of an Economic System which will continue to fail by the very gravity of its outdated and false assumptions of human conduct and environmental relationships.
The question then becomes, what do we put in its place? ~Z
The Zeitgeist Movement is a global sustainability activist group working to bring the world together for the common goal of species sustainability before it is too late. It is a social movement, not a political one, with over 1100 chapters across nearly all countries. Divisive notions such as nations, governments, races, political parties, religions, creeds or class are non-operational distinctions in the view of The Movement. Rather, we recognize the world as one system and the human species as a singular unit, sharing a common habitat. Our overarching intent could be summarized as “the application of the scientific method for social concern.”
To learn more about our work, please visit www.thezeitgeistmovement.com