Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Economic Harm of OWS

For a movement that professes to be protesting the dismissal state of the economy, including the lack of jobs, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) appears to believe that hampering the mechanisms of capitalism is a smart move. Yesterday, members of Occupy Portland shut down the Port of Portland, preventing any trade from proceeding. The Port of Portland is the fifth largest port (by tonnage) in the United States and is thus responsible for an enormous amount of trade and jobs, both at the port and in markets that rely upon the trade.

Why the Occupy movement thinks that stopping economic flows is an intelligent tactic is beyond comprehension. Not only would it seemingly undermine any potential support they could garner from those who do not sit on the far-left of American politics, but such strategies undermine attempts to improve the economy. It is nonsensical to prevent people from working and interrupt economic activity in this economic climate.

OWS has had pernicious effects on small businesses, particularly those located in the vicinity of the protests. Shops, for instance, have been forced to close as protesters have driven away paying customers. Other businesses have had to lay-off employees in order to stay afloat. And many banks have been forced to close their doors for fears of potential violence. None of this helps the economy or the newly minted unemployed.

But the follies of OWS do end there. There have been reports, admittedly isolated for the time being, of Occupy protesters attacking banks, stores, and other institutions of "capitalism." While not yet the mainstream of the movement, which has largely been peaceful, such violent trends are worrisome. The last thing this country needs is to descend into further turmoil.


  1. You're right. They should just go home and let the leaders of our great nation take care of things as they've been doing.

  2. Let's not make assumptions. Just because one "solution" is problematic does not mean that the status quo is good. There are other ways to fix the problems we're facing. OWS doesn't offer compelling answers to America's problems, nor does it offer viable means. But such a criticism does not mean that I accept the direction our current leadership is taking us.

  3. You're funny, but being a republican myself, it deeply bothers me that you are so easily manipulated by a few talking points with no critical tough being droned out by Fox "news".

    And the post above is correct, the situation may have had better alternative fixes...over the last 20 years, yet no one wanted to do a thing. Now there's an upswell of angst. Come up with a solution to the injustice of letting white collar criminals continue to loot the country or stay quiet about the consequences.

  4. I'm not sure where you see "talking points" here. This was simply pointing out some effects that OWS is having.

    And again there are assumptions that (1) I haven't thought of or offered alternative solutions and (2) that white collar "criminals" are looting the country. Regarding the former, feel free to page through other posts on this blog to find some of my thoughts if you are interested. As to the second, I'm not sure that's entirely true or fair. There have certainly been bad apples and horrible cases of fraud, etc. but the capitalist system has also done a lot of good for our country. Despite cries to the contrary even some of the poorest Americans are better off today than not only most people who inhabit the planet but better off than most historically. Does that mean its perfect? No. But it also doesn't mean the flaws lie where OWS places them. "Looting white collar criminals" has powerful emotional appeal but it doesn't do justice to the issues faced in our system, not only because it ignores certain problems but also because it creates problems, in certain instances, where none exist.


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