“Occupy Wall Street”
Professor: Steven Curry
“Occupy Wall Street”
The “Occupy Wall Street” movement has become a big deal since it began in the fall of 2011. This movement was inspired by international protests, with thousands arriving in New York City answering the call, soon spreading to well over 500 cities. I would like to discuss more of the details of the movement, the moral and economic implications, as well as the different ethics theories to see which theory best applies to the movement.
The Arab Springs protest on February 11, 2011 was the most notable inspiration of the Occupy Wall Street movement. According to the website occupy together, the occupy movement is an international movement driven by individuals. They are organized in over 100 cities in the United States, and they aim to fight back against the system that has allowed the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. “All of us have many different backgrounds and political beliefs but feel that, since we can no longer trust our elected officials to represent anyone other than their wealthiest donors, we need real people to create real change from the bottom up… We no longer want the wealthiest to hold all the power, to write the rules governing an unbalanced and inequitable global economy, and thus foreclosing on our future.” The movement works to achieve their goals by resist, In the spirit and tradition of civil disobedience #occupy takes to the streets to protest corporate greed, abuse of power, and growing economic disparity; Restructure, #occupy empowers individuals to lead others into action by gathering in the commons as engaged citizens to demonstrate a culture based on community and mutual aid. We will be the change we are seeking in the world; and finally, Remix work to make fundamental changes in the system. Now that we know a little more about the movement itself, let us look at some of the moral and economic implications of this movement.
In the Constitution, the Fourteenth Amendment requires that the government provide “equal protection of the laws” to all citizens. The moral implications of the Occupy Wall Street movement reach far beyond the passing sensation it has created. The movement seems to be acquiring immunity from the laws the rest of us are expected to obey by calling themselves representatives of the 99 percent against the 1 percent. If 99 percent of the people in the country were like the Occupy mobs we would have anarchy, not a country. Democracy means majority rule, not mob rule, and if Occupy or any other mob movement actually represents the majority, they would have enough votes to legally achieve what they are trying to accomplish by illegal means. In problems of collective action, individuals who work solely for their own selfish interests can bring about tragic consequences for society as a whole. The only way for collective action problems to be solved is to create coordinated collaborations that unite social and individual interests. The “collective” element is paramount because even one “defector” (someone who acts selfishly, like those who stand accused of criminal acts at Occupy Wall Street camps) has the power to run everything by leading others to defect as well. I found an example of the Occupy movement being about the law on the national review website. “When trespassers blocking other people at the University of California-Davis refused to disperse and locked their arms with one another to prevent the police from being able to physically remove them, police finally resorted to pepper spray to break up this human logjam. The result? The police have been strongly criticized for enforcing the law. Apparently pepper spray is unpleasant, and people who break the law are not supposed to have unpleasant things done to them. Which is to say, we need to take the “enforcement” out of “law enforcement.” The police are the last line of defense against barbarism, but...
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