A heist of stupendous proportions was committed in plain sight three years ago. Here’s a brief recap…
The financial crisis that began in September 2008 has caused millions to lose their jobs and had knock-on effects that have been and are being felt by all of us.
It was caused by the recklessly risky and highly unethical behaviour of a number of investment banks and other gigantic financial institutions.
Ten years ago I was still a financial journalist, and the markets were so tightly regulated that said risky, unethical behaviour would not have been possible. But since then, many important protections have been removed to the benefit only of these mega corporations, and to the detriment of everyone else. Why? Because the corporations in question spent billions lobbying government in the intervening years.
The unethical and should-still-be-illegal behaviour by Wall Street’s financial giants caused many ordinary people – mainly in the US – to lose their life savings, and in some cases also their homes, through no fault of their own. So you’d think the US government would have swiftly stepped in with financial aid.
And step in with financial aid it did – but only to bail out the gigantic corporations who’d caused the mess. And the boards of those corporations duly used the hand-outs to pay themselves and others in their organisations multi-million-dollar bonuses.
One of the (since broken) promises Barack Obama made during his presidential campaign was that he would tighten up the regulation of the financial sector. Why hasn’t he? Because, as is pointed out in the movie Inside Job (trailer above), America has a “Wall Street government”.
Enough is enough.
Occupy Wall Street demonstrations started on September 17 in New York City and the protests have now gone global, with demonstrations in many other cities around the world. Participants and supporters are making a stand against social and economic inequality, corporate greed, and the influence of corporate money on government.
One aim of the protests is the separation of money and politics, so that industries with deep pockets can no longer bribe those in office and get laws passed that suit their interests yet neglect everyone else’s.
Check out the website for more information, and if you are committed to a fairer world for all please Google to find out what is happening in your area and how you can get involved.
There is a meeting on Westminster Bridge in London at 1pm tomorrow to discuss the upcoming Occupy The London Stock Exchange protest.
For real-life testimonials from real people about why change must now happen check out the website We are the 99 Percent.
I also invite you to take two minutes to watch the trailer of the movie Inside Job (at the top of this post). If you also watch the movie, prepare to be shocked to the core. Anna and her husband Nat were kind enough to tell me about it, and I realised from their words that this was a documentary I had to watch. It is currently available for rent in the UK, and on Amazon.co.uk for £5.99.
Final recommendation of the day for finding out more about why these demonstrations are so important: the book All The Devils Are Here by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera.