Occupy Wall Street

December 4, 2011

Political Theory


By now, we’ve all heard of Occupy Wall Street. It is a series of protests revolving around the social inequalities between the wealthiest 1% and the other 99% of the population. Originally, the protesting began in New York City, on Wall Street. However, the protests have spread across the nation – even to Ann Arbor.

Although I agree with some of the protestor’s points, I don’t understand their real purpose. I agree that the economic inequality between the top 1% and the other 99% is far too large and has only grown bigger in the past few decades. Some people argue that the disparity creates incentive for the other 99% and that the top 1% needs this money to create even more jobs, but I don’t really agree with these arguments.

Is the purpose of Occupy Wall Street to just bring the social inequalities on the forefront of people’s minds? Or is it to actually enact change itself? The protestors are merely campaigning against the social inequalities, but they don’t offer a sense of direction on what needs to be done. How will Occupy Wall Street Protestors realize when they have actually met their goals without this sense of purpose?

I feel that almost all other movements in the past have had a sense of direction, which has given them a sense of purpose. Occupy Wall Street is often compared to the Tea Party movement, but they offer a direction of lower taxes and other conservative agenda. Civil rights movements in the past have all had an agenda of inequality and have offered an approach of how to tackle the racial differences.

What are your thoughts on Occupy Wall Street, and what do you think their purpose is, if they have one? Do you think political philosophers, including John Stuart Mill, would agree with the protestors and take their side?

 

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One Comment on “Occupy Wall Street”

  1. elyssashea Says:

    From a personal standpoint I would agree that Occupy Wall Street does not have a clear sense of aim at this point. I suppose that they are in part trying to gain awareness for the problem, but our 101 discussion sections made me think about the fact that the OWS is holding the government responsible– yet I don’t know what is being done by the movement to actually make changes within the government.

    Yet there seems to me to be no reason that John Stuart Mill wouldn’t whole-heartedly support Occupy Wall Street. I think that he would approve of the fact that a group was airing their views for discussion in a public forum. However, other than the fact that Mill would approve of the notion of a public forum of discussion, I don’t think one could really say whose side of the issue Mill would be on. I believe that, provided no one was being harmed physically, Mill would support any opinion regardless of the content, simply because it was an attempt to find the greater truth by contributing to the forum.

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