The protests in NYC and many other cities under the Occupy ________ name have come under attack as being hypocritical. For instance, many are pointing out that the protestors who appear to be angry at Corporate America are Corporate America’s primary beneficiaries. Images such as the one below are typical in response to the protests.
But let’s make no mistake. What you won’t find in this picture is a single bank name. Now, Americans have seen an extraordinary increase in their standard of living due to the innovative advancements made by many of the corporations mentioned in the image below. And this gets to the real heart of the issue. We must be very specific when it comes to pointing out where this angst is derived from.
This anger by the 99% vs. the 1% is not directed at the Steve Jobs’s of the world. It is directed at the executives of the big banks who, over the last 10 years (when we have NOT seen our standards of living increase), were happy to take much from the U.S. economy and give little back. And this financialization of America gets right at the heart of the issue. We are increasingly becoming a nation that rewards unproductive work. And while banks serve a vital purpose in our economy, they are not the growth engine. The message from OWS should not be against corporate America in general. Instead, it should focus on the entities that are becoming counterproductive to what made this nation great in the first place.
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.