Thursday, October 13, 2011

Main Street Businesses should join with Occupy Wall Street

I've been down at the events at Occupy Portland every day for at least a few hours since the events started here in Portland on October 6th.  There truly is a wide variety of people involved.  While we need many more voices engaged, one thing clearly missing up to this point is the voice of Main Street businesses and the people who actually create jobs, make payrolls, and contribute to our communities in so many ways.  The movement is anti-Wall Street, not anti-business.

When I attend the events, I see the need for far more people to be involved in the discussions than are currently present.  While those of us with businesses probably find it hard to get down to the occupation and be involved, it is imperative that we get involved in what I believe is likely to be the biggest social change movement in my lifetime.

Business as usual cannot continue.  Business as usual cannot continue.

I wrote that twice to emphasize a point.  People are pissed off and in the streets because we have an economic system that is NOT meeting the legitimate needs and aspirations of a free people while simultaneously destroying the biological systems that life depends on.

Here are some sobering facts:
  • 1 in 4 US children in poverty
  • A corrupt political system controlled by money
  • 20%+ unemployment or underemployment
  • Multiple wars for resources and control
  • 50 million Americans without health insurance
  • The largest prison population in the world
  • A security state second to none
  • Wealth disparity that rivals third world nations
  • The daily destruction of biological necessities like clean air, water, land, diversity, and a stable atmosphere

We have an economic system that works amazingly well for the 1%, and pretty darn good for another 10-15% while leaving vast amounts of people in desperate poverty or surviving pay check to pay check.  We can do better.

Our system isn't broken, it's actually working wonderfully well according to it's design.

In order to make the necessary system changes, we need lots of people involved.  That's how we all can help birth a new society.

I did a blog post more than two years ago about systems I think you'll find interesting.  You can read it here.

The sign I'll be carrying at the next rally will say "It's the System Stupid"  I hope you'll join me at an occupation near you.


Don Smith said...

Nice, Brian. Hope to see you down there again soon.

Brian Setzler, CPA said...

If you want to hear messages from the 99%, check this page out:

Be prepared to spend some time. The messages and images are compelling.

David Anderson said...

Absolutely loved this post, Brian. Responsible business starts with responsible business owners. Change starts with those who bring the change. Making something better starts with sharing our own collective knowledge on how to make it better.

I'm going to try to make it down there tomorrow.

Brian Setzler, CPA said...

Thanks David. I had to write it quickly, I've been busy but enjoy lending my perspective to the larger discussion.

Jerry Jackson said...

You list your sobering facts, yet, you say.. "Our system isn't broken, it's actually working wonderfully well according to it's design." I hope your not serious, you completely contradicted yourself. Our system is broken. are you in denial?

Brian C. Setzler said...


Our system isn't broken, it is operating as designed.

Instead of looking at the problems, ask yourself what is working here?

The rich, the powerful, the elite, the connected, are all doing really well. For them, the system is working. The fact that it isn't working for the rest of us is irrelevant to them and so I say, the system is working according to design.

Brian C. Setzler said...

If a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves.... There's so much talk about the system. And so little understanding."

Robert Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance