Occupy Wall Street

For a business administration class that I’m taking taught by former University of Illinois President B. Joseph White (BADM199, Badminton 199 as my grandmother calls it), we were assigned several articles on Occupy Wall Street. Several of the authors had good/notable points. Note: the articles are from a variety of sources, but the ideas are nevertheless thought-provoking.

Alexa O’Brien: “I see an American moment coming to America. It’s not that Tahrir isn’t inspiring. People all over the world are facing tremendous challenges in the face of globalization, increased institutional complexity, and ancient problems of just and stable governance. But our nation’s problems are our responsibility to fix. Either we face up to that fact, or our nation will perish from the earth.”
Source

“There’s a huge disconnect between the value perceived by the Wall Streeters that I talked to at least – it was an informal survey – and the people at Occupy Wall Street. And I do think that there’s a disconnect here. I mean, the U.S. system still allocates capital very well. We still have the largest economy in the world. Having said that, I feel as though the momentum we’ve had for the last few generations is waning to some degree, and that’s ultimately my concern. So I don’t feel like the banking industry is responsible for all the problems, but there’s many chefs in the crisis kitchen.”
Source

The finance industry’s share of total corporate profits doubled in the past two decades and at its peak in the early 2000s accounted for more than 40 percent of all US corporate profits
Source

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CEO pay: not a big deal, pay them what you want (as long as the company hasn’t been bailed out)
Bailouts: like wearing a helmet on a road bike, gives you enough reassurance to go as fast as you can down a hill whether or not it’s a responsible idea
Occupy: protesting the events that led up to the financial crisis, legitimate: e.g. subprime lending, complex financial instruments, More Causes; getting your college tuition paid, probably not.

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In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell argues that certain people are extremely successful not only because of their own drive and ambition, but because of their family, experiences, and environment. For proponents of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, it may not be that simple. For proponents of charging the government with continually raising the American standard of living, it’s probably too expensive and complex to execute to the satisfaction of the country. From what I can see, a solution lies in the middle, where the private sector allocates resources in the most efficient way (innovate or die) while the government sets the rules of the game. Going forward, both my brother and I think the countries that can set the best rules to facilitate trade, investment, and production will be the ones with the best standard of living, growth, and viability.

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