That is Occupy Wall Street’s new motto….”Shut Down The Corporations“. Now, I have to say that I sympathize with the basic idea behind the occupy movement. We live in a financialized world where the wage-productivity gap seems to grow by the minute. Inflation is effecting families unevenly and the country appears to be increasingly imbalanced in many regards. But I think this new message is a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water.
What we have growing in the USA is a problem primarily built around financialization. The Steve Jobs of today doesn’t start Apple. He starts XYZ Financial Management, LLC with a 2 and 20 fee structure. And the result is many of our best and brightest minds figuring out how to move numbers around in accounts rather than solving big world changing problems or creating goods and services that increase the entire society’s living standards (and not just a bunch of accredit investors who don’t need the help to begin with!). This has been growing for 30 years now and it’s manifested itself in the form of a seemingly persistent sluggish economy.
I’m not here to trash Wall Street. After all, I am a creature of Wall Street. I’ve lived inside the belly of the beast. Wall Street does a lot of good for the country. And the great irony of it all is that Wall Street only garners this sort of attention because demand for Wall Street’s services are so enormous. So I am not here to villainize anyone. Rather, I’d like to present what I think is a pressing problem of our reality.
But I think it’s very important that we not throw the baby out with the bath water. We have big problems in this country but resolving them requires a very precise diagnosis of the issue and then figuring out how we can fix it. We can’t just go around painting this with a broad brush hoping that if we hit all the bases we’ll score. Occupy’s message has never been very specific. I don’t think this new message helps much.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.