Tim Howe is a film student and participates in Occupy Boston
The following article is that of my own opinions and thoughts and no way is a representation of the Occupy movement as a whole.
The first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. The United States as it is, has too many problems to list. The Occupy movement that is spreading like wildfire all over the world is an acknowledgement of these problems. The greed that has permeated through our culture in recent years must come to an end. The inequality between the working poor and the greedy rich has become a pink elephant in the room. There is an imbalance of capital flow in our economic system. The banks and corporations who have taken advantage of our capitalist society are holding on to their wealth, not paying taxes on billions of dollars that they have siphoned from our economy and are not contributing to our country in a responsible way.
Our American culture is one of false promises, built on the idea that with hard work and determination, you cannot fail. However, I see an America where citizens that have worked hard for their entire lives, are suddenly getting laid off, having their houses foreclosed on, their families torn apart, and are left with no choice but to live on the street.
I see an America that favors sociopathic corporations over its law-abiding citizens. This is an America whose politicians no longer represent the voice of the people. Our government does not hold banks accountable for their actions, despite being bailed out by taxpayer’s money. They sit back and watch those banks take advantage of us, whose money has bailed them out more than once. We see these banks getting bail outs and handing giant sums of cash over to their top executives instead of using the money constructively in our society. (1)
If we were to follow the example of these banks, then the next time we fall under financial hardship, maybe we should approach them and instead of asking to take out a loan, we should ask for a bailout, because bailouts never have to be paid back. Instead of spending our bail out money in a responsible way, we should put this money in a trash bag under our mattresses and refuse to put it back into circulation.
Monsanto is the leading producer of genetically engineered seed. They are also the developers of the devastating chemical known as Agent Orange. According to a 2010 article from Business Week Magazine, Monsanto controls 93% of the U.S crop. (2) Our government allows large corporations such as Monsanto to sweep in and ruin local economies by eliminating local farmers, shutting down their operations and taking over their land. It is actions of greed like this that is ruining the lives of many, only to benefit a few.
To quote Erik, one of my cohorts here at Occupy Boston, "Not every good idea is profitable". This statement stood out to me above many of the other ideas and opinions that I've heard shared during this movement. Our culture is one that in the past has been defined by the bottom line, profit. To truly have a society that provides an equal fighting chance for everybody, we must re-assess the fundamentals that have driven our global economy into the ground.
Civil responsibility is the idea that there is a greater bottom line than that of profit. It's the idea that everybody should live sustainably, care for our environment, and make cultural and economic decisions based not upon greed, but upon the needs of our society and the prosperity of everybody.
We, as a people, must acknowledge the greed and corruption that has infected our country. We must band together and enter a new age of progress, a true democracy where everybody, from the working class individuals to large corporations are held accountable for their own actions. We must enter an age of civil responsibility. That would be an America that I would be proud to live in and that is the America we must work to become.
(1) 75% Of Latest Bank Of America Bailout Used To Pay Merrill Lynch Bonuses (BAC)
Henry Blodget on January 22, 2009
Copyright © 2011 Business Insider
(2) Monsanto v. Food Inc. over How to Feed the World
Michael Arndt on January 11, 2010
©2011 BLOOMBERG L.P.
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