Occupy Wallstreet

Topics: Tax, Capitalism, Corporate tax Pages: 6 (2182 words) Published: July 5, 2013
bus309 – business ethics|
Week 4 Assignment 1|
Occupy Wall Street Movement|


Some people say that the Occupy Wall Street movement mirrored the unrest and protest that defined an entire generation in the 60s and 70s. While the flower child movement of thirty years ago dealt primarily with the invasion of Vietnam and a war not supported by the American people, the Occupy movement was centered on economic inequality in the number one superpower in the world, the United States. Protestors participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement relate mostly to moral law. That is to say that the roots of their arguments centered around the good of the majority, rather than the good of the rich which is what seemed to be the main concern of those running the country at the time. The rampant income inequality across the board in America was the main focal point of the Occupy movement, and wealth distribution came under scrutiny as protestors brought it to the forefront of local and national media. Many believed that there would be no end to the movement given the American capitalistic society, and that sentiment has been supported by the movement spreading to other influential American cities like Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.

The Occupy Wall Street movement began in New York City in Zuccotti Park. (Gautney, 2011) The Occupy slogan of “We are the 99%” referred to the main point of the protest which was the severe income gap between the richest Americans and the middle class. Income inequality levels in 2010, the year before the initial Occupy protest were at their highest levels since the Great Depression. (Blodget, 2013) While this in and of itself was a serious enough issue, the massive salary gap between the richest American’s and the majority of the country was no secret in prior years. It is believed that it wasn’t until after the economic struggle in 2007 that it had become clear to the masses that something was amiss. The American government itself seemed at least partly unable to address the issues causing unrest in the first place. Due to the Capitalistic society which America had become based upon, the government was now unable to act against the corporations and banks causing the massive pay gap between the working and upper classes. The country soon became divided into 99 percenters and 1 percenters, two terms coined by the Occupy movement itself in reference to the 99% of Americans considered working and lower class, and the 1% of Americans who make the most money annually and run the country’s largest corporations and banks.

The largest point being made by the Occupy Wall Street protesters was the unfairness of American society and the severe imbalance in power and money. Utilitarian ethics is based on the theory that maximizing utility, that being happiness, while also reducing suffering is of utmost importance. While utilitarian ethics may find some truth in the Occupy movement, the argument of protestors isn’t that American people were suffering, nor was it that the majority of American’s lacked happiness. Virtue ethics focuses first and foremost on the character of a person and how it effects the decisions made in their lifetime. While many people were questioning the character and virtue of those pushing against the Occupy Wall Street movement, virtue ethics is not the theory which best applies to the movement itself. Kantian ethics, proposed by German philosopher Immanuel Kant, is a deontological ethical theory based on the view that good will is the only true and good thing at the core of human nature. Kant’s formula of humanity states that “humans are never treated merely as a means to an end, but always also as ends in themselves.” (Allison, 1990) The Kantian ethical theory holds most true and is the closest theory in comparison to the Occupy movement. Those protesting against the largest corporations and banks holding the most power over the government did so because of...
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