Michael Moore said “This was inevitable! We’ve rewarded greed until now. 1% of the population gets 99% of the pie, and the remaining 99% is expected to fight over the left over 1%.” He was just reiterating the well known fact – 96% of the world’s wealth lies with 4% of the people, and 4% wealth is left for the remaining 96%.
“Occupy Wall Street” as phenomenon, spread like wildfire across the world. Rebadged “Indignant” in Spain, this movement has spread to UK, Rome and many other countries. What started with a mere dozen protestors in New York now has hundreds of thousands of participants rallying all over the world. These demonstrators in nine hundred cities protested against corporate greed and wealth inequality. Protesters from London to Sydney echoed the anti-capitalist, populist rhetoric of the Occupy movement in what was deemed a "global day of protest" (TIME).
Is it unjustified? Are we going to claim that the governments are being arm – twisted by citizens, like quite a few people stated about the latest protests in India?
Well, unemployment continues to hover around the 10% mark in the US. GDP is growing at 0.4%. The 2 Quantitative Easing programs implemented by the US government have barely done the country any good. A mounting European sovereign debt crisis has contributed to ongoing market volatility and fears of another global economic recession. Joblessness is on the rise everywhere; be it Nokia, or HP, CISCO… the list can go on and on! Research reports have stated it was greed and malpractices on part of certain banking institutions that led to the sub – prime crisis and the Greece default. Legitimate action against any perpetrators is still pending.
The Great Depression, according to the documentary Zeitgeist, was engineered by certain powerful banks in USA. So were the recent recession and the financial disasters in European countries. The famines in India in the 70s, the tyranny in Egypt and Libya, relentless terrorist attacks in Pakistan; all have been orchestrated by powerful entities which wanted to fill their pockets at the extent of common man. A handful of powerfully connected and wealthy entities continue to push common man against the wall.
The Indian media declares this Occupy Wall Street movement to being spurred by the Anna Hazare anti – corruption campaign in India. But I would beg to differ. This has been the Year of Revolutions. Starting with Egypt, revolutions spread to Libya, the Gulf, Yemen, India, US, UK and now Europe. Karl Marx had theorized that there is always one point in society when the labour class goes at war with the bourgeois. Malcolm Gladwell, in The Tipping Point writes that there comes a point when a sort of saturation level is reached and the balance of the scale tips. This tip in scale brings about actions to counter the existing norms; be it violent or non – violent. Are we seeing the beginning of one such revolution in human civilization now?