Feb 15 2012

Three coherent, powerful blasts from #Occupy

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

A lot of misguided commentary has suggested that the worldwide Occupy movement is made up of a set of incoherent, know-nothing anti-capitalists bent on causing trouble. It is nothing of the sort, and I’m delighted today to see respected financial blogger Felix Salmon saying this about the latest contribution from a part of the #Occupy movement in the United States:

“the absolutely astonishing 325-page comment letter on the Volcker Rule which has been put together by Occupy the SEC; it’s pretty clear, from reading the letter, that the people who wrote it are whip-smart and extremely talented”

This follows another much shorter, yet nevertheless extremely coherent and pertinent comment article in the Financial Times by Occupy London. Their recommendations went over the heads of a lot of people, and part of it (on housing) went a little over mine, but the bits that I do know about are absolutely right, absolutely important, and at the leading edge of thinking on these issues. Well done (again) to them. I am pleased (and I know, from communications with some of them) that Treasure Islands has had at least some impact on their thinking.

The third blast is from one of Occupy’s supporters: Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism, another respected U.S. based financial blogger and an attendee at the Alternative Banking Working Group of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Smith says, in an interview carried by the financial blog FT Alphaville:

In two months a very small movement had a very big impact. It has changed the nature of the conversation in America in a very serious way. I don’t think you would have seen anything like as big of a backlash against Mitt Romney’s private equity fund background come to pass if Occupy hadn’t seeded the ground by questioning the way that people in the top percent, and particularly those in finance, make their money.

And, for good measure, a comment that I’d heartily agree with:

“I don’t think that the fact that they aren’t choosing to interact with the media in an expected way should be held against them.”

So here’s to the highly talented and influential Occupy movement, and my wishes that the global movement goes from strength to strength. And if you’re interested in futurology, take a look at this article highlighting the scale of the challenges now facing the U.S. movement, and the hopes that it can prosper. See also this podcast, with a more London focus.

7 comments so far

jon 2th February, 2012 8.35 pm

I had a hard time getting the FT link working. But I found a copy of the text. Here is the link in case anyone needs it:
http://pastebin.com/P1XhSq6k

Smith 2th February, 2012 1.43 pm

From Occupy London:

‘Hayek’s observation that distributed intelligence in a voluntary co-operative is a hallmark of real economy rings true beneath the bells of St Paul’s’

Namechecking one of Pinochet’s intellectual inspirations isn’t really a good sign though. It suggests they’re slightly politically tonedeaf to mention him at all, but moreover the entire corpus of his work is fairly tightly integrated and oriented to his primary political concern – which one would think was diametrically opposite to that of the movement. If they think they can selectively import chunks of his theory without being carried along by it, they’ll find themselves in surprising places soon.

If the intention was just to be wryly amusing to the FT audience, I think it was a naive choice.

Locke 2th February, 2012 8.18 pm

Namechecking Hayek

Politically tone deaf?

Surely that is not the point. They are Making Something New. They are not out to engage with the mainstream. They are not writing for the media. Wry amusement is not the point. Cherrypicking bits of theory is not really useful, as how do you know which bits you want this time, until you chew through it all.

If your new theory is per-determined, what would be the point?

[...] are just a few posts where Shaxson gushes over the Occupy movement: Here, here, here, and [...]

[...] are just a few posts in which Shaxson gushes over the Occupy movement: Here, here, here, and [...]

Paul 7th July, 2012 1.42 pm

What garbage. Occupy is dying. No one cares because you failed to make a point. You sit around and intellectually handjob each other so much that it just went away. Nice job. On to your next project.

[...] are just a few posts in which Shaxson gushes over the Occupy movement: Here, here, here, [...]

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