Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupied Wall Street, Unoccupied Brain

Pretty much everyone has seen or heard about the mob of malcontents camping out near Wall Street. Well, attention was their goal, so far as I can tell. The mob was not very strong in working for any specific change, and their communication skills were and are execrable. The people saying these ‘occupy’ stunts are puerile attempts to distract the public from the current Administration’s blunders and failures rings true, but even so, the complete inability to convey an effective message or mission by these jokers makes their whole effort a waste of time by any reasonable standard.

But speaking of the election, when everything is said and done, the most important factor, as in most elections, is the economy. A great many pundits and self-proclaimed ‘experts’ have addressed the economy in great detail, but in the political sense the economy can be understood as the national condition on three points of concern:

1. Unemployment
2. Inflation
3. Debt

The biggest stage, as should be obvious, is Unemployment. Inflation can be serious, as can debt, but it all starts with jobs. Economics, at its core, is all about money in motion. Someone has to spend money for anyone to make money, and it has to make sense for the participants. This is, coming back to the protesters, one of the reasons why their hatred of the American system is misplaced and wrong – envy of an efficient system and those who succeed in work, attacks the people who can best help the unemployed find work, and destabilizes the economy instead of finding answers. The OWS protesters, including those who have copied their tactics in other cities and countries, at best are ignorant and selfish, and at worse know they are liars and parasites. Harsh words for someone who claims to just want to work, granted, but the protesters do not want work, at least they don’t want work in the classic sense of wanting a chance to earn money and prove they can add value to their nation and community. Instead, careful attention to what the protesters actually do and say shows that they what good things handed to them, or at the least they expect people who have succeeded in business to be punished for hard work and initiative. They rail against ‘Corporate Greed’, but when pressed for specifics they resort to broad stereotyped attacks against the largest employers and best-established firms, with absolutely nothing for evidence. They claim that they represent “99 percent” of the nation/world, but again provide no evidence to support the claim, and their demographics suggest they are so far from the truth as to make the claim laughable. If all the protesters were tallied in the U.S., for example, they come up to only a few thousand members, well short of one-hundredth of one percent of the population, let alone ninety-nine. This does not touch the rather obvious observation that the protesters are the same in demographic – they are urban, young and unemployed with little (if any) experience or significant job skills, they are liberal in political orientation, they demand punishment of the wealthy on no basis other than the assumption that wealth is wrong, while simultaneously demanding jobs and money for themselves.

The OWS crowd could be dismissed for the nauseous parasites they are, except for two things. One is the fact that the media has tried to play the OWS stunt into a legitimate grassroots movement; particularly noticeable is how the MSM sells OWS as similar to the TEA Party, which is nothing short of a bald-faced lie. Where the TEA Party is a true populist movement, and wholly American in its spirit and creation, OWS was designed and initially driven by the Canadian firm Adbusters, which as a by-the-way has come under fire in the past for promoting anti-Jewish bigotry. Gives one a sense of their true values, perhaps.

The TEA Party operates in a spirit of increasing citizen participation in election, and demanding that Congress adhere to constitutional limits and principles, while OWS demands punitive action against selected targets, and seems to have no concern whether the government has authority for such action, or whether due process is followed. Whether the groups’ demographics, mission, or tactics are considered, it is clear that the TEA party is American, responsible, and accountable, while the OWS is none of these things.

Supporters of the OWS protests may reasonably claim that the protesters simply want jobs. While I do believe the OWS participants, the ones on the street, do in fact want jobs, they’re going about it the wrong way. The tactic of demanding something you want, without first showing how you will earn it, is always foolish, but to do so as a mob appeals to precisely zero potential employers, excepting criminals and political thuggery movements. What’s worse, in this age of instant information, people who participate in the OWS have damaged their profile for any potential employer. To be blunt, I can scarcely imagine any potential hiring manager considering OWS participation to be anything but a red flag which would cause the application to be rejected out of hand. It’s not that the hiring manager would have to agree with my politics, or even find the OWS position unreasonable; it’s just that when so many people apply for any available position, any potential liability could be disastrous, and so the job-seeker who engages in such behavior damages his personal credibility.

This comes back, as well, to the question of corporate integrity. I will readily admit that there are a large number of companies which I consider to be void of ethics, but even so the corporate identity in general protects employees better than do most private businesses. To see what I mean, consider harassment. A private business is not well-equipped to address harassment, because if it happens the perpetrator is likely to be the owner, and even when a private company chooses to investigate allegations of harassment, they seldom have professional HR tools to do so properly. In a corporation, however, not only are there enough safeguards built in to create a culture of compliance, the potential cost of litigation and range of management between floor and C-suite insure that as a practice, harassment will be strongly discouraged and punished where found.

The same effect exists in compensation. Although corporations are commonly vilified in the media for executive pay and bonuses, most observers fail to note that standardized pay scales also protect raises and bonuses for most other levels of position. In short, while private firms may fluctuate greatly in how much they pay their employees, corporations generally pay for what the work is worth to the company. At low pay, this means the employee must demonstrate superior skills or work to move into the desired pay range, but for proven performers and star employees, corporations generally make sure the employee is paid well enough to make competing firms less attractive. The problem for the OWS mob, is that unskilled labor and lack of a work ethic do not produce attractive opportunities, and these undisciplined people are not yet willing to improve their skill set or work hard enough to stand out and show excellence in their profile. The sum effect of their protest is to damage their own employment prospects. This demonstrates that while they may “occupy” parks or landmarks, the brains of these miscreants are quite empty.