Opinion: the Occupy Wall Street movement will eventually fizz
The recent Occupy Wall Street movement across the U.S. may be weighing in your minds. I couldn’t help but draw the parallel to the 1989 Tiananmen protest. With the unemployment in America stuck at 9.1%, pressure on society is gradually mounting. Many young Americans are starting to doubt their future. This sentiment is not that different than the students in China when they went out to Tiananmen uncertain what a decade-long privatization would bring them – as the iron rice bowl was apparently no longer guaranteed.
If unemployment in America is 15-20%, I think it is possible for this movement to escalate. If media around the globe then egg them on, and NGO’s provide them supplies to sustain their occupation of Wall Street, city halls, and so on, we may be seeing the beginnings of a revolution. But, those conditions do not yet exist. Honestly, I see this movement eventually fizzing out.
Occupy Wall Street is rallying the disenfranchised across the U.S. to confront the “greedy and corrupted.” They say their tactics are modeled after the Arab Spring in occupying symbols of injustice:
Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.
Is the movement demanding a revolution? Is it asking the 1% to redistribute their wealth? How is it proposing that the corruptions be stopped? As with the Tiananmen students, I don’t see a real proposal on how this country can change to accommodate what they want. Who does the U.S. government negotiate with? That was too a problem with the 1989 protest.
The population can generally empathize, but they also respect the rule of law. That means public support can quickly wane once the narratives in the media about the movement is primarily of lawlessness.
So, what is the U.S. media position on this movement? It is certainly not making the front pages. The media elites in America are not interested in a revolution at home. In fact, there has been many criticisms hurled at the movement by the U.S. media.
Finally, does any other country on this planet dare to agitate this movement? I don’t think so.
For these reasons, I think the Occupy Wall Street movement will eventually fizzle out. This 9.1% unemployment is more like a moderate back pain. Many people in fact learn to live with such ill.
One more caveat. Trade protectionism could come into vogue in America, because who knows how crazier this next election cycle will turn into. China is where American exports enjoy the fastest growth. In 2010, it was 32%. It is hard to predict what will the impact be when this 32% drops. Furthermore, the RMB will likely become one of the worlds reserve currencies – and soon according to HSBC – which then means demand for the USD drops. That in turn makes for more expensive in U.S. borrowing. Interesting times ahead.