Monday, December 5, 2011

The War is Over

Here is the voice of the 1% crowing about success against the Occupy Wall Street movement.

From a post by Michael Lewis at Bloomberg News:
To: The Upper Ones

From: Strategy Committee Re: The Counterrevolution

As usual, we have much to celebrate.

The rabble has been driven from the public parks. Our adversaries, now defined by the freaks and criminals among them, have demonstrated only that they have no idea what they are doing. They have failed to identify a single achievable goal.

Just weeks ago, in our first memo, we expressed concern that the big Wall Street banks were vulnerable to a mass financial boycott -- more vulnerable even than tobacco companies or apartheid-era South African multinationals. A boycott might raise fears of a bank run; and the fears might create the fact.

Now, we’ll never know: The Lower 99’s notion of an attack on Wall Street is to stand around hollering at the New York Stock Exchange. The stock exchange!

We have won a battle, but this war is far from over.

As our chief quant notes, “No matter how well we do for ourselves, there will always be 99 of them for every one of us.” Disturbingly, his recent polling data reveal that many of us don’t even know who we are: Fully half of all Upper Ones believe themselves to belong to the Lower 99. That any human being can earn more than 344 grand a year without having the sense to identify which side in a class war he is on suggests that we should limit membership to actual rich people. But we wish to address this issue in a later memo. For now we remain focused on the problem at hand: How to keep their hands off our money.
Go read the whole article. Lewis has written a humour piece, but there is a lot of hard cynicism and cold warning in his words. The ultra-rich are on the deck of the Titanic dancing as the ship is being sheared by an iceberg. Times are changing. Whether there is blood in the streets depends on whether the rich can have empathy for the bottom 99%. So far they have proved themselves to be callous and mean-spirited toward the millions whose lives have been utterly ruined by Wall Street machinations...
The second threat is in the unstable mental pictures used by Lower 99ers to understand their economic lives. (We have found that they think in pictures.)

For many years the less viable among us have soothed themselves with metaphors of growth and abundance: rising tides, expanding pies, trickling down. A dollar in our pocket they viewed hopefully, as, perhaps, a few pennies in theirs. They appear to have switched this out of their minds for a new picture, of a life raft with shrinking provisions. A dollar in our pockets they now view as a dollar from theirs. Fearing for their lives, the Lower 99 will surely become ever more desperate and troublesome. Complaints from our membership about their personal behavior are already running at post-French Revolutionary highs.

We on the strategy committee see these developments as inexorable historical forces. The Lower 99 is a ticking bomb that can’t be defused. They may be occasionally distracted by, say, a winning lottery ticket. (And we have sent out the word to the hedge fund community to cease their purchases of such tickets.) They may turn their anger on others -- immigrants for instance, or the federal government -- and we can encourage them to do so. They may even be frightened into momentary submission. (We’re long pepper spray.)

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