Saturday, October 22, 2011

Occupy ___

What, do you think you’re rebellious? Do you think you’re going to do some good? Do you really think you are being oppressed? I don’t know what your reason is for “occupying,” but I’d like to know.

Some of you have a point! I’m a business student who just spent a summer in a work environment that was far from fair. Not only was I underpaid – which seems the most frequent complaint of the occupiers who aren’t unemployed – but I was housed in a mold-ridden apartment where my boss and coworkers could find me to come work more unpaid hours. And this was legal because I signed a contract to be an intern. I know unfair working conditions.

But some of these complaints are ridiculous! I just saw a sign held by one of the participants in “Occupy Provo” and could not believe it. It read “Capitalism Caused this Crisis.” Next to it I saw “It’s not a Recession, it’s Robbery.” And another: “$ ≠ Free Speech.”

Yes, maybe if we weren’t a capitalist society we wouldn’t have had this crisis. But what would you prefer? Socialism? We’re working on it. Fascism? I’m sure we could oblige. A monarchy perhaps? If you really want a king instead of someone we can kick out if they fail for four years, go ahead.

If we weren’t a capitalist society, you wouldn’t get “fair wages.” You would get what the government decided you would get. And haven’t we all agreed that the government won’t look out for the best interests of the people all the time. Especially when you give them too much power – look at the USSR, Nazi Germany, Fascist Russia, Communist China and North Korea, Warlord ruled middle-eastern and African countries. Do we really want to be like them? Is that better than an economic struggle?

I repeat, I am a business student – and that presents a unique view. I have struggled to pay for my education. I have been unable to find decent jobs because of downsizing. I am starting from the bottom in this world of economic and political turmoil. Do I become discouraged and ask to be helped out of my situation? Sure! I recognize the system isn’t perfect?

I do not feel “robbed” because of the downturn. I do not believe my leaders always make the smartest moves in fixing it, but I do not believe they are planning on ruining any chance I have for economic success just to be better than me!

First off, if I make more money, I will spend more money on their products, thereby making them richer. It would be stupid for the 1% to keep me down because that only limits their growth potential.

Second, I don’t think they really have any way to stop me. If we weren’t a capitalist society, they sure could! Socialist measures would keep me in my place, but capitalism lets me move, grow, and improve my position. I can create a product and sell it. I can offer a new service. Women in third world countries do this every day, lifting their families out of poverty on the back of micro-loans they pay back with the revenues from their businesses. Do you think you are less educated, less capable, and less creative than a woman in India who has three children and no education? If you do, then maybe you are stuck, but if you aren’t, then why can’t you help yourself?

And I agree, “$ ≠ Free Speech.” Bravo to you for speaking up! But please, think before you speak. We are taught this in grade school, and it really does help. If you are really concerned about the economy, go to your local university and sit in on a basic econ class – in a class of 200, I promise you can get in free. Or a finance class to learn how to spend less than you earn – even when you earn almost nothing. I learned my freshman year (when I had no job) how to save money and make sure I could cover all necessary expenses. Guess what – I graduate debt-free this coming April!

Once you understand what you are talking about, you can speak about it and people will listen. It doesn’t take a lot of money to get to that point. The simple fact that you have researched a topic and have facts backing your opinion, assures you will be heard. The respect that comes with gaining understanding is much more powerful than money will ever be. I am a business student, but I believe true insight, understanding, and thoughtfulness are more effective than a cash infusion any day. It’s like that in marketing – I can do more with a well-planned $100 event than I can with a multi-million dollar ad campaign any day.

Please, do not insult your own intelligence by making claims that undermine your true goal. If you want economic equality, go out and fight as hard as Steve Jobs, Mark Zurkerberg, Joshua James, or Oprah Winfrey.  


  1. So this is what you mean by "going to bed because we have early church tomorrow?" But I like your post. You articulate clearly what the rational among us are all thinking;)

  2. I was going to bed, but I wanted to look that up while I was remembering. And it made me so upset I couldn't sleep until I explained my view.

  3. Right on!! Clarissa. Great job. I am concerned about the attitudes of the "occupiers". Somewhere along the line they lost it. This nation is the world's best place of opportunity for those who are willing to put in the effort with an appropriate attitude. Hang in there.

  4. My cousin visited the protest and was appalled at the protesters' utter lack of vision. Give me a solution. Give me concrete steps you want me to take to change things, and tell me how that will help you towards your goal. As long as they don't have specific goals and plans, they're no different from all the people on the internet yelling about whatever they do or don't like, except slightly more annoying.

    That's one thing I admire about Herman Cain. His 9-9-9 plan has a very serious disadvantage (namely, it won't work), but at least he's willing to step up and offer a real solution to a real problem. He's made the tax code a serious topic of discussion. I'll respect someone who proposes a solution, even if that solution is wrong, far more than someone who simply complains, no matter how valid their complaints may be.

  5. You Go Girl!!! Occupy Where Ever reminds me a lot of the protest against the World Bank Organization in Washington D.C.. I don't know if you remember it. It was a great eye opener to me about how unclear many protesters are and how supported by the media they become. You have presented valid, life proven examples. Amazing how quickly this summer nightmare has already found a powerful usefulness in you.


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