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OccupyWallStreet.org's "Demands"

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Praetyre Posted: Wed, Oct 5 2011 3:04 AM

I'm normally a firm advocate of civility, but this particular manifesto's level of economic ignorance is so stunning I feel compelled to make an exception. Sweet mother of Ahura Mazda, this stuff is so bad it makes the drivel spouted by the (NZ, but it's the same in the US anyway) National Socialist Public Radio network look like Mencius Moldbug in comparison. This stuff defines the "Too Smart for Econ" demographic mocked in Freedom Images. So, let's (both for the sake of my sanity and readability) take it down bit by bit, shall we?

"Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending "Freetrade" by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr."

This is like an unholy hybrid of the "Fair Trade" nutters and the worst of the protectionist-paleocon writings I've seen. Have these people ever read a serious history of tariffs in America, let alone Britain, Europe or the Orient? Even Paul Krugman is supportive of breaking down tariffs and global markets. To paraphrase RJMII, I don't want to be associated with anyone who is worse than Paul Krugman.

I'll hold off on the raising the minimum wage commentary for now, for reasons that will soon become apparent as we head further down the list.

"Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors."

Rinse and repeat the above, but with Obama standing in for Krugman. The logic in this one is beyond belief. This same crowd bangs on and on about the "40 million uninsured" statistic, so their solution is to eliminate the providers of the very services these people claim that 40 million are lacking in, and replacing with a monopoly (like, say, the ever wonderful and efficient Postal Service). All the while ranting on about the evils of "monopolies" like Standard Oil.

"Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment."

And... this means what, exactly? What is the difference between this and food stamps? A living wage by whose standards? Pretty much everybody in America lives in luxury by the standards of most of the world. Of course, I doubt the poorest percentile of Americans make up more than 1% of this alleged "99% Group", or give a hoot about it, and as Exhibit A for this claim I present...

"Demand four: Free college education."

Bingo! Hipster college kids ahoy! And how do they intend to pay for the "human right" to an education that until about half a century ago was the exclusive province of the nobility? Just watch this space and see...

"Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand."

I'm holding off on this one too, since it's going to expose it's flaws in all their glory in just two demands...

"Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now."

See demand four. The plot thickens. How are they going to pay for it all?

"Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America's nuclear power plants."

And here we go with demand five to boot! If they hate fossil fuels so badly and want to save the world from global cooling warming climate change TM from carbon dioxide emissions, why do they want to close the only viable, clean and efficient energy source currently available with modern technology? What's their timetable for closing these plants? What are they going to do with all the people fired from closing these plants? What are they going to do with all the leftover land and waste? So many questions, so little time... and of course, there's still the question of funding.

And to close the point I was about to make in demand one, a $20 minimum wage will probably be a pay cut with all the new trillions flowing into the economy.

"Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment."

Holy guacamole, THIS is a blast to the past! Seriously, what do they think the US is, Apartheid South Africa? Are there still seperate drinking fountains, is there some active counter suffrage movement? Not to mention the overwhelmingly WASP makeup of these protesters... who died and gave these trustafarians the right to speak for the working poor?

"Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live."

Free trade is bad, but open borders is good! I know people here have their disagreements on the immigration side, but surely we can all agree that is some pretty damn strange logic going on there.

"Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system."

There are few words I despise with greater passion than "international community", "world opinion" and "international standards". Whose standards? The UN, who can't even stop their own "peacekeepers" running sex trafficking rings in the Congo? The EU, who have all the respect for national sovereignty and public opinion of Abraham Lincoln? Bulawayo's standards? Cuba's standards? Zimbabwe's standards? Not that I'm defending the US system here, but whose standards are we going by here?

"Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the "Books." World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the "Books." And I don't mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period."

Ah-ha! Now we see their plan for paying for it all? Just "Drop the Debt", like Bono says (or is it Robbie Williams? It's hard to keep track...) and we can have free love and free doobies for all!

How do they intend to get all 200 of the world's countries (if you want to be generous, you could cut it down to the dozen or two nations that are creditors) to give up their debts by slowing a few New York commutes? How do they intend to pay for at least 2,000,000,000,000 dollars of spending (and obviously a lot more when you factor in the free college) after they magically cancel all debts? Do these people realise that's nearly 3 times the annual operating budget of the entire Department of Defense? And what of Social Security and Medicare, which already have many trillions in unfunded liabilities, and which these people will undoubtedly expand? How are they going to pay for all this?

They'll probably cry "Tax the rich!", but leaving aside the fact "the rich" (a percentile which encompasses everyone from a small businessman with a million in the bank to Bill Gates, the difference between which is as large as the difference between that small businessman and a Zulu tribesman) already pay the lions share (I believe it's either 64% or 70%, but feel free to correct me on that one) of federal taxes (even when you factor in offshore tax shelters and the like), an 100% income tax on every person on Earth would not be sufficient to pay off the US national debt within years, and that's not even counting the aforementioned unfunded liabilities. And even assuming this magical debt forgiveness works, their policies are just going to pile on the debt, except replace "trillion dollar bailouts" with "trillion dollar tree reforestation programs".

"Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies."

This is the economic equivalent of demanding the banning of fire alarms for causing fires. And is eerily close to measure 5 of old Karl's manifesto, to boot:

"Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly."

"Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union."

Errm... alrighty, then.

If this is the Great Depression, these folks are like the red headed stepchildren of the Share Our Wealth movement.

Anyone else want to dissect this trainwreck?

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Yeah, those people are way out there in terms of economic ignorance. Funny how such large chunks of people can enjoy the benefits of the 21st century yet be utterly unaware of how it came to be. Also, they don't notice that their pro-authoritarian protest benefits precisely the "big bankers" they think they are protesting against.

Edit: I wanted to comment the particular demands as well, but there isn't much more to them other that their authors must be utterly unaware of scarcity and opportunity cost. Apparently we only need to decide that everyone should receive a living wage and schooling and whatnot, and the resources to provide this will just appear out of thin air!

 

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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EmperorNero:
Funny how such large chunks of people in the 21st century can be utterly unaware of how the world around them works. Also they don't notice that their pro-authoritarian protest benefits precisely the people they think they are protesting against.

Exactly what I was talking about in the epilogue of this post.

 

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ricarpe replied on Wed, Oct 5 2011 6:58 AM

Karl Marx meets Fight Club (minus the underground boxing).

"All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree." -James Madison

"If government were efficient, it would cease to exist."

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Vitor replied on Wed, Oct 5 2011 7:08 AM

Walter Block could write a book just tackling each one of those absurds.

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Frankly, my own feelings on the matter is that the "debate" over this recession can be summarized succintly in both today's Anthony Gregory article and Jim Goad's "The Retarded State of Public Debate". In a fight between corporatist kleptocrats, National Socialists of the protectionist "Durn yellow people turk er jerbs!" who believe mass compulsory Ponzi schemes are just fine so long as Da Jooos and other non-Aryan people aren't on the payroll and honest but insane social democrats like this bunch (and toss in the LaRouchites for a combination of 2 and 3), my feelings are again summarized twofold by the tagline of Alien vs Predator and the war between the Nigerian mobsters and the MNU in District 9.

It's really a choice between globalist "consensus" of the sort exemplified by the BBC, Economist and New York Times, a more right wing, American exceptionalist and moderately less deranged version of the former in the form of the WSJ and NRO, an authoritarian Norsefire-like regime in the form of economic nationalism and a bizarre hybrid of Marxian communism and syndicalist fascism, represented by the British National Party and other so called "far right" parties that aren't simply single issue or classical liberal, or a government run by Kucinich-voting gadflies who look and smell like they've been in cryogenic suspension since the 1960's and whose idea of a good time is an evening spent reading the Village Voice (or the Guardian, or Die Tageszeitung) and their editorials against "speculators" and "unregulated derivatives".

Or more succinctly: http://mises.org/Community/forums/p/23193/412278.aspx#412278

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anyone can start a website hooked on to these protests and post some Demands.

start protest-america.org and make a list of your own demands.....

put pictures from a bunch of these protests on it....and post links to it all over forums and facebook. mainly forums though.
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limitgov:
anyone can start a website hooked on to these protests and post some Demands.

start protest-america.org and make a list of your own demands.....

put pictures from a bunch of these protests on it....and post links to it all over forums and facebook. mainly forums though.

Let's hope that's what happened.  Actually reading through that list I thought it had to be a joke.  It's like something from The Onion...or some smartass making his own satire.  But if you read through the comments there are links to other proposed lists that aren't much better.  I mean, they're not as laughable as "oh yeah, we need a $20 minimum wage too", but they're basically lock-step big government "we need more regulation" nonsense.

 

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Am I the only person that noticed the word "proposed"?

That said, I see problems with all of 'em. But, eh, what the fuck? They're trying. When the system refuses to meet these demands we will see to them ourselves. We'll just quit paying attention to debt and start setting up alternative infrastructure. And then we'll leave everyone alone.

The fact that these kids are so bold is pretty cool to me. All this says is that they need to learn to stop begging their masters for more food.

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Birthday Pony:
The fact that these kids are so bold is pretty cool to me. All this says is that they need to learn to stop begging their masters for more food.

...and just take it from them, right?

 

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Esuric replied on Thu, Oct 6 2011 5:03 AM

This is some scary stuff.

"If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion."

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"..and just take it from them, right?"

How about just read some lewrockwell.com and mises,org, get a little educated and take back their freedom?

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If only that were what people like the pony would have them do.

The problem is how you define "take back their freedom".  Most of these people (again, like the pony) see people who have something they themselves don't, and think it an injustice...and therefore taking other people's stuff in an effort to form some sort of "fairness" that they have conjured in their heads is what "taking back their freedom" means.

 

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OccupyWallSt is a good thing...But not for the reasons might think:

 

 

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Here it is people:

 

 

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Clayton replied on Fri, Oct 7 2011 2:12 PM

It's amazing to see how influential the Venus Project has become. It has no new ideas but it's a virulent cross-pollination of many of the most alluring and dangerous economic and social fallacies. Tom Woods or someone of his caliber needs to slap together a printable, 3- or 4-page PDF brochure that debunks or at least defuses the most dangerous ideas in the Venus Project (e.g. the one guy who said "we just need to get back to barter" like that's a good thing).

I'm thinking something more of a popular work... Scholarly works are inappropriate because the audience is just attuned enough to perceive there's something wrong with the current system but not mentally disciplined enough to follow long deductive arguments.

Clayton -

Edited: Can't believe I misspelt caliber... argh, I think I'm getting old...

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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Eric080 replied on Fri, Oct 7 2011 2:42 PM

Robert Murphy did a Mises Daily on it, but I'm not sure if it was concise enough to bebunk it.  On Youtube, they have the "Venus Project Challenge," where you have to debunk all 100+ points on the Venus Project FAQ before they even begin considering taking you seriously.

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Well, it's hardly a homogeneous bunch out there. None of us (including you) ever said otherwise, of course.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

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It's amazing to see how influential the Venus Project has become. It has no new ideas but it's a virulent cross-pollination of many of the most alluring and dangerous economic and social fallacies. Tom Woods or someone of his calibur needs to slap together a printable, 3- or 4-page PDF brochure that debunks or at least defuses the most dangerous ideas in the Venus Project (e.g. the one guy who said "we just need to get back to barter" like that's a good thing).

I'm thinking something more of a popular work... Scholarly works are inappropriate because the audience is just attuned enough to perceive there's something wrong with the current system but not mentally disciplined enough to follow long deductive arguments.

That's a great idea, but it would be tough.  Last weekend I was debating a VP'er who left a comment on one of my videos.  I was really trying to get inside his head and it's quite amazing how the fallacies all interlock.  The most difficult thing would be knowing where to start.

If anyone wants to collaborate on this project though, I'd get involved.

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Clayton:
It's amazing to see how influential the Venus Project has become.

That's a big part of why I posted that video.  Aside from the bum who said it would all be empty after one strong wind, and the guy who spoke after him that sounded like a Paul supporter, that whole video was a great collection of all the greatest problems with our populous.  It really did seem like a good representation of what is out there.

Just like the Mises Daily outlined, there are people who have no idea why they're there (like the glasses girl), there's typical leftists (like the effeminate Obama supporter), there's typical really bad leftists (like the self-proclaimed socialist), there's ill-informed bastards who think they're in-the-know (like the Venus Project guy), there's idiot "enlightened" douchbags (like the jackass that pulled rank on the poor guy just trying to answer questions), and then there's the at least somewhat rational-sounding guy (like the Ron Paul supporter).

I swear the minute Mr. che guevara t-shirt said "resource-based economy" my head fell into a facepalm.

 

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It is interesting that I agree with all of their goals, getting rid of the banker elite and such. They're just so misinformed that their energies are channeled in the wrong direction. In effect, they are useful idiots of the elite.

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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You've taken the words of my mouth... about 90% of the words I've ever had regarding protest groups outside of the Tea Party for the last few years. The only kinda sorta exception is those hacker groups, but my money is on them (especially Anonymous and Lulzsec) being collective pseudonyms for a variety of groups, mainly either disillusioned veterans of the pirate radio wars or hired cyber-hitmen for the Russian mob or Chinese intelligence services.

As always, Zombie delivers, and gives a fairly interesting analysis of the contradictions and various factions marching under the OWS banner. It's like Billionaires for Bush on steroids. Also, Che and FDR make cameos.

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Praetyre:
You've taken the words of my mouth...

I don't think this is some spontaneous protest by a few economic ignoramuses. This is a predictable reactionary push against recent liberalization. Essentially, liberalization threatens incumbent elites, which is why they create a downturn to get the distressed masses to demand the statism back that protects the elites. These protesters are precisely playing into the plot of the elites.

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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What is this recent liberalization you speak of?

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Nielsio replied on Sat, Oct 8 2011 7:15 AM

Re, Clayton;

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Praetyre:
What is this recent liberalization you speak of?

You know, globalization. That a third of the world isn't communist any more. And neoliberal reforms since the 1970's. The US has been slipping in the freedom score, but most countries (heritage.org/index/ranking) have been getting more free in recent years. Also, technology has made it much easier to compete, leading to a more capitalist world.

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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I love how in that ReasonTV clip, at around 5:14, the real man on the street speaks the truth: it's not gonna do shit and once the wind gets colder all the people will leave, but he's glad to be there because the police aren't harassing him for sleeping outside. 

"I don't believe in ghosts, sermons, or stories about money" - Rooster Cogburn, True Grit.
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That RP guy from the video has serious guts to go there and support capitalism. Praise to him.

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Lol.

The OP's link now mentions Mises.org. The forums there are full of cool people though....... very open minded.

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laugh  That is awesome.  Links directly to the Mises Daily article.

It's actually kind of funny to see how worked up they are.  It's funny that at least some of them can recognize how dumb it makes them look, even though (as I pointed out earlier) all the other demands lists aren't much better.  Just like screaming Bob said above, this is what happens when you have a protest and don't even really know what for.

It's also funny because they owners of the website are in such a tough spot, since they can't exactly delete nonsense like that without getting all sorts of backlash.  "YOU'RE TRYING TO CENSOR US!  YOU'RE ONE OF THEM!"

 

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