Sunday, October 16, 2011
Let me say straightaway that I'm not against corporations, even huge corporations. It depends on the company. Whole Foods (for whom I worked for a couple of years) is a really good company. They treat their employees well, are ethical in their business practices and make it possible for me to eat very high quality food. If not for Whole Foods, many of the organic farming laws and regulations would not be in place. Whole Foods has the heft to make that sort of thing happen.
Same goes for Ikea and Starbucks. Both of those companies donate money to great causes, treat their employees decently and sell products made from sustainable materials. I can afford to buy a new rug, made in America, if I need one. I can find a decent cup of coffee no matter where I am. These corporations serve the greater good, in my opinion.
Of course large corporations, when they do make mistakes, make big ole mistakes. But that's inevitable, yes?
Here's what I love about Occupy Wall Street: I love it that people are participating in our democracy, bringing individual points of view into the light of day, expressing their own frustrations with the lopsided nature of society. The reality of haves and the have-nots has always existed throughout history, but for most of history, in most locations, if the have-nots try to take a stand, they are silenced, jailed, killed.
In the U.S. allegedly we are allowed to express our opinions as long as we do it lawfully and peacefully. This is one of the things I love about America. Sometimes things get out of hand on one side or the other - that, too, is inevitable. But I like it that the American Way includes the right of every citizen to have a say.
As for Wall Street itself, that world is not something I understand. Gambling is so weird, at least for me. I lived at Lake Tahoe for a couple of years, during which I partook of the casino experience exactly once, losing all my money in the blink of an eye. After that I decided it would be a lot more fun to throw $20 bills out the car window. I realized the state of Nevada would quickly go broke if it were true that anyone can gamble and consistently win. Hmmm.
During the crash of 2008 I kept asking people, "Where did the money go?" No one could really explain it in a way that made sense to me. Did it evaporate, I would ask, and they said yes. Yes? Money can evaporate? Please explain.
A world in which barter was the norm for exchange would make a whole lot more sense to me. Money is a bizarre - and in the case of American money, really ugly. A few years ago the Mint decided to redesign our money. Instead of making it cool looking, they decided to increase the size of the presidential heads. I find this shift quite rude. Who wants to gaze into the face of Andrew Jackson? I mean really!
I would love to live in a world in which those who have money would spread it around to the people who have not had the same privileges, who are down and out for one reason or another. I would love to live in a world in which health care was not co-opted by pharmeceuticals and insurance companies, and was provided to all in a reasonable, fair and just way. I would love to live in a world where all were well fed.
It's such a fantasy! When people try to make that happen, it gets complicated. For some it becomes a scam, others are unfairly excluded, and the ones who have the money and privilege hoard all the excess so no one can benefit from it.
Don't ask me for answers. I have none. But I really love it that people, regular people, have come out of their homes, have gotten their asses off the couch, out from in front of their TVs, to express themselves. This is a time of awakening for the common man and woman. That is why I love Occupy Wall Street.