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Stiglitz writes: "There are times in history when people all over the world seem to rise up, to say that something is wrong and to ask for change."

Darrell Willis wears a '99%' button and an American flag at the corner of LaSalle and Jackson during an Occupy Chicago protest, 10/03/11. (photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)
Darrell Willis wears a '99%' button and an American flag at the corner of LaSalle and Jackson during an Occupy Chicago protest, 10/03/11. (photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

The 99 Percent Wakes Up

By Joseph Stiglitz, The Daily Beast

03 May 12


Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns


here are times in history when people all over the world seem to rise up, to say that something is wrong and to ask for change. This was true of the tumultuous years of 1848 and 1968. It was certainly true in 2011. In many countries there was anger and unhappiness about joblessness, income distribution, and inequality and a feeling that the system is unfair and even broken.

Both 1848 and 1968 came to signify the start of a new era. The year 2011 may also. The modern era of globalization also played a role. It helped the ferment and spread of ideas across borders. The youth uprising that began in Tunisia, a little country on the coast of North Africa, spread to nearby Egypt, then to other countries of the Middle East, to Spain and Greece, to the United Kingdom and to Wall Street, and to cities around the world. In some cases, the spark of protest seemed, at least temporarily, quenched. In others, though, small protests precipitated societal upheavals, taking down Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, and other governments and government officials.

Something Is Wrong

That the young people would rise up in the dictatorships of Tunisia and Egypt was understandable. They had no opportunities to call for change through democratic processes. But electoral politics had also failed in Western democracies. There was increasing disillusionment with the political process. Youth participation in the 2010 U.S. election was telling: an unacceptably low voter turnout of 20 percent that was commensurate with the unacceptably high unemployment rate. President Barack Obama had promised “change we can believe in,” but he had delivered economic policies that seemed like more of the same—designed and implemented by some of the same individuals who were the architects of the economic calamity. In countries like Tunisia and Egypt, the youth were tired of aging, sclerotic leaders who protected their own interests at the expense of the rest of society.

And yet, there were, in these youthful protesters of the Occupy Movement—joined by their parents, grandparents, and teachers—signs of hope. The protesters were not revolutionaries or anarchists. They were not trying to overthrow the system. They still had the belief that the electoral process might work, if only there was a strong enough voice from the street. The protesters took to the street in order to push the system to change, to remind governments that they are accountable to the people.

The name chosen by the young Spanish protesters—los indignados, the indignant or outraged—encapsulated the feelings across the world. They had much to be indignant about. In the United States, the slogan became “the 99 percent.” The protesters who took this slogan echoed the title of an article I wrote for the magazine Vanity Fair in early 2011 that was titled “Of the 1%, for the 1%, and by the 1%.” The article cited studies that described the enormous increase in inequality in the United States—to the point where 1 percent of the population controls some 40 percent of the wealth and garner for themselves some 20 percent of all the income. In other countries, the lack of opportunities and jobs and the feeling that ordinary people were excluded from the economic and political system caused the feeling of outrage. In his essay, Egyptian activist Jawad Nabulsi discusses how the system was fixed in favor of the upper classes, and he uses the word fairness repeatedly to describe what was lacking in Egypt under Mubarak.

Something else helped give force to the protests: a sense of unfairness. In Tunisia and Egypt and other parts of the Middle East, it wasn’t just that jobs were hard to come by, but those jobs that were available went to the politically connected. In the United States, things seemed more fair, but only superficially so. People who graduated from the best schools with the best grades had a better chance at the good jobs. But the system was stacked because wealthy parents sent their children to the best kindergartens, grade schools, and high schools, and those students had a far better chance of getting into the elite universities. In many of these top schools, the majority of the student body is from the top quartile, while the third and fourth quartiles are very poorly represented. To get good jobs, one needed experience; to get experience, one needed an internship; and to get a good internship, one needed both connections and the financial wherewithal to be able to get along without a source of income.

Around the world, the financial crisis unleashed a new sense of unfairness, or more accurately, a new realization that our economic system was unfair, a feeling that had been vaguely felt in the past but now could no longer be ignored. The system of rewards—who received high incomes and who received low—had always been questioned, and apologists for the inequality had provided arguments for why such inequality was inevitable, even perhaps desirable. The inequities had been growing slowly over time. It is sometimes said that watching changes in income inequality was like watching grass grow. Day by day, one couldn’t see any change. But as those who live near abandoned subprime houses know all too well, within a few months, scrub and weeds can quickly replace the best of manicured lawns. Over time, the change is unmistakable, and so too, over time, the inequality has increased to the point where it cannot be ignored. And that’s what’s been happening in the United States and many other countries around the world.

Even in the United States, a country not given to class warfare, there is today a broad consensus that the top should be taxed at a higher rate or at least not taxed at a lower rate. While some at the top may believe that they earned what they received through hard work, and it is their right to keep it, the reality (which many of the richest do realize) is that no one succeeds on his own. The poor often work far harder than the richest. In developing countries, the poor lack the chance of education and have no access to funds, and their economies are dysfunctional, but they work long hours carrying water, looking for fuel, and toiling at manual labor. Even in developed countries, life chances are affected by where one is born and the education and income of one’s parents. Often it comes down to luck, being in the right place at the right time.

It was not just the worsening inequality that outraged the protesters of 2011. It was a sense that at least some of those incomes were not honestly earned. Injustice motivated the Occupy Wall Streeters just as it motivated the young Tunisians of the Arab Spring. If someone earns huge incomes as a result of a brilliant contribution that leads to huge increases in incomes of the rest of society, it might seem fair that he receive a fraction, perhaps a substantial fraction, of what he has contributed. Indeed, the dominant paradigm in economics attempted to justify societal inequalities by saying (I should say, assuming) that they were related to differences in “marginal” productivities: those who, at the margin, contributed more to society got more.

Now, in the aftermath of the crisis, it seemed grossly unfair that the bankers walked off with outsized bonuses while those who suffered from the crisis brought on by those bankers’ reckless and predatory lending went without a job. It seemed grossly unfair that government bailed out the banks but seemed reluctant to even extend unemployment insurance for those who through no fault of their own could not get employment or to provide anything but token help to the millions who were losing their homes. What happened undermined the prevailing justification for inequality, that those who made greater contributions to society receive (and should receive) larger rewards. Bankers reaped large rewards even though their contribution to society—and even to their firms—had been negative. In other sectors, CEOs who ran their firms into the ground, causing losses for shareholders and workers alike, were rewarded with gargantuan bonuses.

If no one is accountable, the problem must lie in the economic system. This is the inevitable conclusion and the reason that the protesters are right to be indignant. Every barrel has its rotten apples, but the problem, as MIT Professor Susan Silbey has written, comes when the whole barrel is rotten.

Much of what has gone on can only be described by the words moral deprivation. Something wrong had happened to the moral compass of so many of the people working in the financial sector. When the norms of a society change in a way that so many have lost their moral compass—and the few whistle-blowers go unheeded—that says something significant about the society. The problem is not just the individuals who have lost their moral compass but society itself.

What the protests tell us is that there was outrage and that outrage gives hope. Americans have always had an idealistic streak, reflected both in the instruction in schools and in political rhetoric. Kids read the Declaration of Independence, “all men are created equal,” and they read the words literally, all men, white and black, and they believe them. They recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which promises “justice for all,” and they believe it.

Market Failures

The list of grievances against corporations was long, and longstanding. For instance, cigarette companies stealthily made their dangerous products more addictive, and even as they tried to persuade Americans that there was no scientific evidence of the dangers of their products, their files were filled with evidence to the contrary. Exxon had similarly used its money to try to persuade Americans that the evidence on global warming was weak, even though the National Academy of Sciences had joined with every other scientific body in saying that the evidence was strong. Chemical companies had poisoned the water, and when their plants blew up, they refused to take responsibility for the death and destruction that followed. Drug companies used their monopoly power to charge prices that were a multiple of their costs of production, condemning to death those who could not afford to pay.

The financial crisis itself had brought out more abuses. While the poor suffered from predatory lending practices, almost every American suffered from deceptive credit card practices. And while the economy was still reeling from the misdeeds of the financial sector, the BP oil spill showed another aspect of the recklessness: lack of care in drilling had endangered the environment and threatened jobs of thousands of people depending on fishing and tourism.

But even before the crisis, the evidence was that the market economy was not delivering for most Americans. GDP was going up but most citizens were worse off. Not even the laws of economics long championed by the political right seemed to hold. Earlier, we explained how the theory that is supposed to relate rewards to social contributions had been falsified by the Great Recession. The theory holds that competition is supposed to be so strong in a perfectly efficient market that “excess” profits (returns in excess of the normal return on capital) approach zero. Yet each year we saw the banks walking off with mega-profits so large that it is inconceivable that markets are really competitive. Standard courses in economics talk about the law of demand and supply, where prices are determined to equate the two. In the theoretical model, there is no such thing as unemployment, no such thing as credit rationing. But in fact, we have a world in which there are both huge unmet needs (e.g., investments to bring the poor out of poverty, to bring development to Africa and the other less developed countries in other continents around the world, to retrofit the global economy to face the challenges of global warming) and vast underutilized resources (e.g., workers and machines that are idle or not producing up to their potential). As of December 2011, some 25 million Americans who would like a full time job can’t get one, and the numbers in Europe are similar.

Innovation and globalization provide the most recent—and the most important—contexts to observe the failings of the market. Both were supposed to make our economy more prosperous, and yet both seem to have resulted in an economy in which most citizens are becoming worse off.

In recent research, Bruce Greenwald and I have traced the roots of the Great Depression to an increase in agricultural productivity so rapid that fewer and fewer people were needed to grow the world’s food. In the United States in 1900, a large portion of the labor force worked on farms; today less than 2 percent of the population grows more food than even an obese population can consume—and there are large amounts left over for exports. Over time, most people working in agriculture who were no longer needed looked for alternative employment. But at times, the movement away from agriculture was far from smooth. Between 1929 and 1932, agricultural prices plummeted, and incomes fell by an amount variously estimated at one-third or two-thirds. Such precipitous declines in income resulted in corresponding declines in demand for manufactured goods. Rural real estate prices plummeted and credit became unavailable, and so, despite their already low income, farmers were trapped in the declining sector. Just when migration out of the rural sector should have been increased, it came to a halt. If people had been able to relocate, if new jobs had been created, the increases in productivity would have been welfare-increasing, but as it was, given the market failures, those in both the city and the rural sector suffered.

It seems strange, in the midst of the Great Recession, when one out of six Americans who would like to get a full-time job is unable to get one, to see stores replacing low-wage cashier clerks with machines. The innovation may be impressive, profits may even be increased, but the broader economic and social consequences cannot be ignored: higher unemployment, lower wages for unskilled labor as the balance of demand and supply tilts more against workers, and greater inequality.

Political Failures

The political system seems to be failing as much as the economic system, and in some ways, the two failures are intertwined. The system failed to prevent the crisis, it failed to remedy the crisis, it failed to check the growing inequality, it failed to protect those at the bottom, and it failed to prevent the corporate abuses. And while it was failing, the growing deficits suggested that these failures were likely to continue into the future.

Americans, Europeans, and people in other democracies around the world take great pride in their democratic institutions. But the protesters have called into question whether there is a real democracy. Real democracy is more than the right to vote once every two or four years. The choices have to be meaningful. The politicians have to listen to the voices of the citizens. However, increasingly, and especially in the United States, it seems that the political system is more akin to “one dollar one vote” than to “one person one vote.” Rather the correcting the market’s failures, the political system is reinforcing them.

Tax systems in which a billionaire like Warren Buffett pays less taxes (as a percentage of his income) than those who work for him, or in which speculators who helped bring down the global economy are taxed at lower rates than are those who work for their income reinforce the view that politics is unfair, and contribute to the growing inequality.

The failures in politics and economics are related—and they reinforce each other. A political system that amplifies the voice of the wealthy also provides opportunity for laws and regulations—and the administration of laws and regulations—to be designed in ways that not only fail to protect the ordinary citizens against the wealthy but enrich the wealthy at the expense of the rest of society.

Globalization and Markets

My criticism of globalization lies not with globalization itself, but with the way it has been managed: it is a two-edged sword, and if it is not managed well, the consequences can be disastrous. When managed well—and a few countries have succeeded in managing it well, at least so far—it can bring enormous benefits.

The same is true for the market economy: the power of markets, for good and for evil, is enormous. The increase in productivity and standards of living in the past two hundred years have far exceeded those of the previous two millennia, and markets have played a central role—though so too has government, a fact that free marketers typically fail to acknowledge. But markets have to be tamed and tempered, and that has to be done repeatedly to make sure that they work to the benefit of most citizens. That market control happened in the United States in the progressive era, when competition laws were passed for the first time. It happened during the New Deal, when social security, employment, and minimum wage laws were passed. The message of the Occupy Wall Streeters, and other protesters around the world, was that markets once again needed to be tamed and tempered. Even in parts of the Middle East, where they brought increases in growth, the benefits did not trickle down.

From Cairo to Wall Street

In more than forty years of travel to developing countries, I have seen these problems at close hand. And throughout 2011, I gladly accepted invitations to Egypt, Spain, and Tunisia, and I met with protesters in Madrid’s Retiro Park, at Zuccotti Park in New York, and in Cairo where I spoke with the young men and women who had played a central role at Tahrir Square. As we talked, it was clear to me that they understood how in many ways the system has failed. The protesters have been criticized for not having an agenda, but such criticism misses the point of protest movements. They are an expression of frustration with the electoral process. They are an alarm.

At one level, these protesters are asking for so little: for a chance to use their skills, for the right to decent work at decent pay, for a fairer economy and society. Their requests are not revolutionary but evolutionary. But at another level, they are asking for a great deal: for a democracy where people, not dollars, matter; and for a market economy that delivers on what it is supposed to do. The two demands are related: unfettered markets do not work well, as we have seen. For markets to work the way markets are supposed to work, there has to be appropriate government regulation. But for that to occur, we have to have a democracy that reflects the general interests, not the special interests. We may have the best government that money can buy, but that won’t be good enough.

In some ways, the protesters have already accomplished a great deal: think tanks, government agencies, and the media have confirmed their allegations, of the high and unjustifiable level of inequality, the failures of the market system. The expression “we are the 99 percent” has entered into popular consciousness. No one can be sure where the Arab Spring or the Occupy Wall Street movements will lead. But of this we can be sure: these young protesters have already altered public discourse and the consciousness of both ordinary citizens and politicians. your social media marketing partner


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+44 # Activista 2012-05-03 21:14
Stigitz is brilliant - yes the system is crumbling - this article should be read and understood by our "elites" yes - "moral deprivation" - lies is new way - one can see not only at bankers level - but moral deprivation spread to the auto repairman - charging $90/hour for work that they did not do - to software programmer - faking projects (60% projects will fail).
"he growing deficits suggested that these failures were likely to continue into the future" - we need the change - and it has to be fundamental/rad ical. Cosmetic changes will not do.
+13 # Merschrod 2012-05-04 01:45
Sri, I have to defend the rates for a mechanic. He/she may not have invested so many years of life in formal training/studie s, but those manual and diagnostic skills come from experience and that work has to support the garage, the tools (and they change with each model), the tow truck, the insurance and the self employment taxes. To the employed $90/hour may seem like a big deal, but not when you consider the tools of the trade.

So, if all you have is a Ph.D. and a laptop, be thankful that the car is fixed because that laptop will only allow you to find a decent mechanic!
+3 # Activista 2012-05-04 09:36
It is not only mechanic (my past 2 days experience - and I work on my car myself - including rebuilding blown VW engine in the Mexican desert) - he charged for work that he did NOT do - did not even touched rear brakes as he charged for.It goes for the Dentist, Doctor, Vet, Insurance Salesman, police, lawyers (charging $100 for off leach ticket?)
The "success" is to MAXIMIZE profit - not quality. It seems that the trend is specific for younger "professionals" - do NOT trust anybody under 40 (probably more - how young is president?)
+16 # Majikman 2012-05-04 11:21
It's not the rate that a particular vender charges that is the issue, but the integrity of the vender, and our ability to receive recompense for fraud. Fraud has become, in many instances, SOP. That's why the Repugs went after tort reform. The corp.'s from Big Pharma to banksters to Big Oil are able to commit fraud with impunity. The FBI which used to go after white collar crime is being redirected to sting ops for half witted terrorist wannabes. Increasingly, when one signs a contract for a product or service from a major company there's fine print that prevents the buyer from seeking redress for the company's failure to perform. Instead they must submit to binding arbitration.
0 # 666 2012-05-17 06:38
it's not just crumbling, it's being actively demolished by those with economic and political power.
+19 # grandpadavid 2012-05-03 22:05
As he has in the past with papers and books, Stiglitz has got it right. if we are to keep our democracy,or so much of our society that is democratic, we have to pay attention to getting out the vote. Studies show that the greater the participation, the more likely the outcome will be just. The money and power that are arrayed against those of us who want to see democracy succeed is vast. In our favor are the young and the disadvantaged who can be persuaded their vote counts. 99% is a very powerful number.
+4 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-05-04 09:11
Yes, we need to vote and hope the votes are counted--but we need to have something to vote FOR. The lesser of two evils is not voting for anything we want. We must break the two corporate parties strangle hold on our electoral system. The best I think we can do is NOT VOTE FOR EITHER A DEMOCRAT OR A REPUBLICAN. There are other candidates on the ballot! We need to not re elect
anyone if federal office now. They have been corrupted by 'donations' (better know as BRIBES!).
+2 # suzyskier 2012-05-06 15:25
Voting for a third party candidate sounds good on paper but the reality is that one or the other of the R's or D's will get elected. It is a great idea but first it needs time to get up and running. It should start now for 2016. You may not like either candidate but having Romney as President would be a disaster. I will vote for Obama. What needs to happen is the House needs a through cleaning out! They are the do nothingest congress ever! They are so destructive I cannot believe anyone could re-elect them. But I know some will. Pity.
0 # 666 2012-05-17 06:40
that's the problem. the presidential election is a sham, a charade that obscures the real issues. Why, you don't really vote for president. the electoral college does that. They can do anything they want.
+10 # bubbiesue 2012-05-03 22:32
Protest is important, but not as important as tax policy. We need to expect more from those who have more to give, and not just in tax-deductibled donations to real (or other) charities. We need a redistribution of assets, if you will, so that when the economy can't take care of a person the government can. For example, tax all income for Social Security. That would help a lot of disabled people. Let banker and corporate CEO salaries rise to the skies, with tax rates to match. This is a missing ingredient.
+18 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-05-04 00:00
I certainly hope we are headed for a BEC rather than a (P)NAC?
I mean a Bearded Economists' Century - Stiglitz, Reich, Krugman, to start with.

These guys know what they are talking about, and yet they come through as caring people - a value that gets lost on most of the Greedy Old Plutocrats (a.k.a. Grumpy Old Pharts, or GOP for short).

Go Stiglitz (your "roaring '90s" was a revelation)
Go Reich
Go Krugman

If you guys had the balls to start a political party I would be the first contributor to your superPAC.
+8 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-05-04 00:14
Stiglitz has it right and he is not the first one: economy deals with the speed at which we transform our natural resources into profit and landfills; distribution of the riches created and overall justice is squarely in the land of politics.

Economics is not immoral, it is amoral - these are disjunct concepts.
Politics, on the other hand, is the realm of how to organize our "city" (polis).
The politics naturally makes sure that the interest of the cast in power are fulfilled.
In a true democracy, the cast in power is the people.
Our system is not distributing close to reasonably the proceeds of the economic production.
Therefore it is not a democracy. Sorry.
Or a republic - "res publica" - a public thing. More of a reprivate.

To answer That great man Ben Franklin, it sounds that we could not keep it after all.
+12 # Merschrod 2012-05-04 01:37
Great - simply a great summary of the issues and problem from an economic and political perspective that puts the reason for work (better and well being for all) above the greed for the profits of other's work.

Thank you Prof. Stilitz
+13 # srf123 2012-05-04 06:02
Kids read the Declaration of Independence, “all men are created equal,” and they read the words literally, all men, white and black, and they believe them. They recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which promises “justice for all,” and they believe it.

It's sad to say "all men" meant precisely all men, not women. Now is the time to declare that all citizens, male and female be treated equally. The 99% are waking up but after 89 years the ERA has not been ratified. It's time to ratify the ERA. "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex".
As Joseph pointed out the moral compass of our society is pointing south. It's time the 99% take a stand.. Equality for All!
Please sign our petition to ratify the ERA...

And please copy and send the link to your address book, your tweeters and email lists. This is more important then you think.
+1 # Alice W 2012-05-04 21:30
Honestly I kind of glazed over most of what professor Stigliz wrote; what is clear though is that the Equal Rights Amendment should be ratified--now. How about this for our new motto: "We're here, it's clear, ratify the damm thing!"

Redraw the scrimage line for human rights according to the Constitution-- put all of us on it!
+11 # John Locke 2012-05-04 06:30
Change unfortunately will not come through the electoral process, the system is set up to be controlled by money...and until we are able to get money out of the equation there will be no change...

Those that have...will fight to keep what they stole! And they have the sadistic US Government which they own and which does their bidding, even to the extent of turning on us...
+12 # cmcook41 2012-05-04 06:34
Excuse me. You aren't awake until you DEMAND CHANGE not ask for it!
+18 # tuandon 2012-05-04 06:43
Here I am at age 64, finally driven by the Republican Party to believe that Class Warfare is the only way we are going to dislodge the entrenched Elitist Plutocrats. The Koch Brothers are poster boys for the need for it. Their toadies in the Republican Party are enough to make one puke. I'd like to see the lot of them swept away in a revolution.
+9 # madmainer 2012-05-04 07:07
Let's not forget that women entering the work force (women's liberation) led corporations to conclude that they needed to pay each working member of a family only HALF of the income needed for a family to live comfortably, and this was followed by realizing that they didn't have to pay workers all their wages...they could let them BORROW the extra they needed, and credit cards and consumer debt were born! Pretty clever, eh?
+10 # Vern Radul 2012-05-04 07:44
There are 310 million Americans who, so far, are acting like they are outnumbered by a few thousand wall streeters, media moguls, insurance company and weapons manufacturer execs and other assorted 'plutocrats', 100 senators, 435 congresspeople, and maybe a couple of hundred in the US Administration.

So far.
+14 # walt 2012-05-04 07:59
Great points made here.

The most notable, however, is that the people who caused the economic collapse benefited while everyone else suffered. And the Obama administration has allowed the same Wall Street crowd to dominate his administration. And as of this date, he still has done nothing for the victims despite pleas for help from everyone.

One has to conclude, as did Occupy Wall Street, that we need a new political party. The two parties we have are failing us and seem more occupied with fighting each other than working for the people.
+6 # Vern Radul 2012-05-04 09:24
Obama is doing exactly what he was chosen by his 1%'er financiers and put there to to.

It is not Obama's fault that even though he promised transparency there are still some people who are still unable to see through him.
All of his actions since he was inaugurated suggest that he is doing exactly what he wants and intends to do.

Like it or not, that’s the real Obama.

He is NOT caving. When someone continually and repeatedly goes along on everything with someone else whom they 'claim' to be opposing, it's not 'caving'.

It's the plan. The INTENTIONAL plan.

Look carefully at his re-election "strategy"...
Team Obama sees four reasons they expect to win the 2012 election, and Plouffe's first reason seems unbelievably disconnected from reality, unless we assume it is Obama's intention to enable republicans policies and turn the country over to the plutocrats:

First, Plouffe suggested, Obama has an opportunity to improve his standing among independent voters -- many of whom deserted the Democrats in the 2010 midterm election -- by working with Republicans toward bipartisan deficit-reducti on measures.
+6 # rockieball 2012-05-04 09:46
It is a shame though that without the media 24/7 attention and truthful reporting that is needed it goes unreported. If it were not for the internet people would not know whats going on outside of their area or country but not anyplace else. From the media we only hear when it gets violent and then it's the unarmed demonstrators who are at fault not the police who are armed for a military confrontation instead of peaceful crown control.
0 # barbaratodish 2012-05-04 18:10
Professor Stiglitz writes in the article " The 99 Percent Wakes Up" and I quote:"In some ways, the protesters have already accomplished a great deal: think tanks, government agencies, and the media have confirmed their allegations, of the high and UNJUSTIFIABLE (emphasis added- I don't have italics, I only can use capitals for emphasis, or erhaps capitals use me? lol) level of inequality, the failures of the market system." end quote.
What, Professor Stiglitz, would be JUSTIFIABLE inequality????
+3 # MindDoc 2012-05-04 20:28
What a great read! (And without name calling or political spin.)
From a brilliant Nobel-prize winner. Thanks for this, RSN! (And so I add to the chorus: Support RSN! Yes I did. And will again.)

This is such a poignant, resonant observation on recent years, among the 99% of all 'people', economically & socially. Globally. Geopolitically. Culturally. In the context of human experience.

Thank you professor!

I too hope this discussion shared and read - and processed - by those who are interested in things like our country and the experience of the world's people. Hope springs eternal... But it's true, as someone noted, some things don't change on their own, and need OUR help. That's what elections and democracy entail.
-14 # jimattrell 2012-05-05 11:25
Sorry but Occupy "whatever" doesn't represent Americans .... It represents what is wrong in our country ... A few unemployed who want hand outs and reward of failure. That's their cause!
+2 # brux 2012-05-06 06:47
What about the EMPLOYED bankers and CEO who vote themselves raises when they are losing money and asking the government for handouts? Does that meet your criterion or are you just typing for the fun of it ?
+1 # suzyskier 2012-05-06 15:28
Quoting jimattrell:
Sorry but Occupy "whatever" doesn't represent Americans .... It represents what is wrong in our country ... A few unemployed who want hand outs and reward of failure. That's their cause!

What USA are you living in? No body is asking for a handout! They are not failures! I don't know where you get your ideas, they seem rather warped to me.
+2 # brux 2012-05-06 06:45
Uh … the thing is the 99% are awake, they are being spanked daily … they're awake, lemme tell ya … BUT they cannot do anything about their plight because the system is rigged and they get no focus in the media - and even if they did the media is ignored by the 1% - it is just a pressure release valve to make the 99% feel better in their impotence.

In case no one has noticed or you are living in fantasyland, you need power, wealth and connections to get your way and the 99% have less than ever -

the 99% are wide awake and in a straightjacket until the 1% decide to start to be human beings - don't hold your breath.

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