“Please sir, I want some more ..”, the young boy Oliver held his bowl up with more than a slight quiver to the Master. Fear gripped not only him but also the entire congregation of students, of what the outcome would be. The outcome, as told by Charles Dickens was indeed favorable to Oliver Twist, but not in the short term.
Back then as well, in the days of Oliver, there existed fat cats. These were men of high standing and stature who were well out of reach of the poor. Between then and now, nothing much has changed in terms of attitudes, except for the fact that the pie has tripled or even quadrupled in size and there are more people with knives and bowls at the table.
The leftists and socialists often blame the skewed system of capitalism for not providing equal opportunity to all, while capitalists in turn consider socialists to be a bunch of lazy bums wanting to live out of taxpayer’s money in the name of social security. The truth lies of course between the melted cheddar in the middle.
What began as just an ordinary run-of-the-mill march against high prices in Israel has now turned into a full throttle drive against capitalism across the highways of the world as the segment of the seemingly deprived join hands on facebook.
The demands of the Protesters in Wall Street are by now, common knowledge. Their prime concerns revolve around the bankers who were bailed out with TARP money and are still around earning hefty bonuses. Worse still, those who invested in their schemes have gone broke.
A CNN Contributor even suggested that the protesters align themselves with shareholders and voice their concerns in Shareholder meetings. This of course assumes that the crowd on Wall Street believes that working within the system would yield the desired results.
The only other legal option is off the table. The protesters from all the major cities cannot consider any form of Class Action lawsuit, since on all counts it was the Incumbent Administration that showered 800 Billion of Dollars on the Banks, with absolutely no conditions attached.
To be fair though, Capitalism to a large degree is more appealing that her half cousin socialism and has to a large extent many feathers in its cap. Free markets after all encourage entrepreneurship and meritocracy, and it is indeed no surprise that Silicon Valley still attracts some of the best talent in the world.
In the days of plenty, the Oliver’s were too insignificant to be heard. The fat cats were munching their exotic seafood unseen on the rooftops while the middle class were taking home a fair chunk of the pie. Everyone was content and no one wanted to rock the boat. Surprisingly though, between 1979 and 2006, the lower class saw their incomes rise by 11%, the middle class by 21% and the uber-rich by a whopping 256%!!
Despite this gross imbalance, the general public as it seemed, had absolutely no objections. Then came the Lehman Brothers collapse which was soon followed up by the plight of “Income Stagnation” heaped upon an already over-debted middle class.
Sensing danger, the chieftains of capitalism meanwhile turned their anger towards the Obama Administration and began to blame him for the countries unending woes. “Obamacare has ripped the state exchequer off its future earnings and will put millions of Americans in debt !!” has been their rallying cry till date.
The Middle class gradually hollowed themselves out and joined the ranks of the Oliver’s on the table with knives and spoons. Like an angry bunch of kids, they are fed up with the administration. They know that Big Government is not the solution because it ends up borrowing more than it has, but they don’t understand why an elite group of individuals should still take home bonuses when thousands are unemployed.
Elsewhere the man who promised Change in Washington has abandoned the senate to its own devices and has limited himself to making targeted statements against Congress whenever he gets a chance. The Republicans have mastered the art of Brinkmanship and are determined to use any future exigency to extract the last drop of blood from an already divided Congress!!
Outside in the cold, as winter sets in, the obstinate protesters vehemently brave the cold and claim that they represent the 99%. As their numbers swell and the government continues to blink, the din will grow louder. The crisis continues on its downward spiral as capitalism’s moment of reckoning has finally arrived.
Article first published as Occupy Wal-Street: In the Days of Oliver on Technorati.