|World Map of Occupy Protests from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/occupy-movement|
I have noted some things about the Occupy protests...
The protests have been largely poo-pooed, regarded as an amorphous social phenomena and a logistical nightmare for municipalities to manage. Worse, some have framed them as problems due to specific individuals or companies. But it should act far more as an indicator of a widespread distrust in the governing systems that rely heavily on the maintenance of that trust for power to govern. Trust and risk are inversely related. As trust decreases, perceived risk increases. That the governing systems seem to be perceived as a risk to the public well-being should be a concern to those powers as it is an indication that the public has lost trust in their ability to govern effectively.
Also, a common complaint about the protesters is that their demands seem unorganized. It appears more of an uprising with general discontent then one of traditional demand for specific policy action. But it is not fair to ridicule protesters for this. Because the public does not know the intricacies of the system and cannot know the intricacies, they trust others to make decisions about the system for them. This is the purpose of electing officials that consult with technical experts. To accuse them of not formulating specific policy demands is a slap in the face to those that have put their faith, debt, and dollars into the ideals of democracy and by extension, modern capitalism.
A brief editorial by Richard Lambert in the Financial Times reflected on this issue well
...The fact that the protesters have no clear agenda is irrelevant. They represent concerns that many people can relate to, and they are unlikely to go away.
So it may be that capitalism is approaching some kind of tipping point, away from the winner takes all culture of the past three decades. If left unchecked, public disquiet will sooner or later bring a political response, maybe in the form of much more aggressive regulations and progressive tax systems. These could be at least as damaging as the free market fundamentalism that they would seek to replace.
Much better for business itself to recognise that it has a real economic interest in the well-being of the societies in which it operates; that success or failure is not just determined by earnings per share or profits per partner; and that a successful market economy has to be built on a degree of trust and mutual respect. Capitalism has adapted to changing political and social pressures in the past, and now is time for it to do so again.