Sunday, October 2, 2011

INTO THE STREETS

Three years after Wall Street quants caused the global economic crisis with their CDOs, sub-prime mortgage-backed securities and other finagling, we are in a worse mess that's getting worser, what with algorithmic, high frequency and rogue trading and lack of banking reform. Everything costs more than last year, people are still losing their houses and their jobs, banks are still not lending or regulated, Greece is still on the verge of bankruptcy, the euro is in big trouble and other countries like Italy and Spain are teetering on the brink of financial disaster.  Nobody is talking about W-shaped recession or "green shoots" anymore,
     And, at last, people are outraged.  
     As Emanuel Derman, a theoretical physicist and early quant says: “If people don’t complain now, it serves them right when the next financial crisis happens."
     Having understood that this is no mere recession but a global Wall-Street-made financial crisis, that corporations are treated with more respect than individuals and that no government is going to bail them out, the people who’ve suffered the consequences of bankers' greed and government bailouts have finally taken to the streets, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City. 
     People have responded to @OcuppyWallStreet @OccupyLA, SanFrancisco Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Houston and also to @OccupyToronto,  @OccupyLondon @OccupyLSX on October 15th.
    Salman Rushdie tweeted: "The world's economy has been wrecked by these rapacious traders. Yet it is the protesters who are jailed."
    Why is this?

    Some ask what the protesters want.  Mainly, financial and banking reform, so this kind of crisis can't happen again.  Here are some articles that indicate what's needed: 
- The Volker Rule would restrict banks from trading for their own benefit,           
- closing the "Carried Interest" loophole that allows the wealthy to pay 15% tax 
- implementing the "Bank Tax" , proposed in January 2010 and dropped in June 2010, which would require banks to clean up after themselves
- imposing a financial transaction tax to curb speculative trading
- cancel the bad mortgage debt so "the fraud that originated on Wall Street isn't borne entirely on the real economy." 
- Investigate Wall Street: "Loans were made so fast that proper records weren't kept, which means it's difficult to hold creditors and debtors accountable."
    If you feel you're just as important as a bank or a quant or a trader, or a hedge fund manager, print out a few signs with sexy slogans like: We Demand Banking Reform,  Bank Tax Now,  Tax the RichClose the Carried Interest Loophole,  Cancel the Bad Mortgage Debt,  The 99% is too big to fail  and occupy something near you, get arrested for standing up for your rights rather than waiting for Wall Street to walk all over you again.  And if you don't want to get arrested or camp out, donate some supplies and "OccuPies" to the occupiers via their Twitter accounts.
     As somebody else said: More protesters of Wall Street's criminal behavior were arrested yesterday in New York, than any perpetrators of this catastrophe.  
     Why is this?
     For a big-picture understanding of what's going on worldwide, check out this informative RSA Animate video of the Crises of Capitalism by renowned academic David Harvey, see why politicians are talking crap, why we must speak out against banksters and the global economy gone horribly wrong in the West.

Photo: Robin Wilkey @OccupySanFrancisco

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