Regarding the Wall Street protests, Robert Robb, a columnist for the Arizona Republic, has a recent and fairly interesting article. Here’s an excerpt:
The protesters are massively wrong about the incompatibility of capitalism and social justice.
Social justice shouldn’t be measured on what the rich have, which is the fixation of the protesters. Instead, the focus should be on the lot of the poor. The spread of market capitalism has done more to improve living standards for more of the world’s poor than anything else in human history.
There is, however, a serious social justice problem that has developed in American market capitalism. Two of the bridges to the middle class for those without a college education — manufacturing and construction — have been eroded. Manufacturing jobs haven’t been lost mainly to free trade, as the brief against capitalism would have it, but to sharply improved productivity. And construction wages have been undermined by illegal immigrant labor.
The American economy hasn’t really developed substitutes for these bridges. While the protesters misdiagnose and exaggerate the problem, conservatives shouldn’t be so dismissive of the rising income gap based upon education.
The protesters are occupying Wall Street because they see large investment banks as the heart of American capitalism. They are also wrong about that, but their mistake is shared by the policymakers in both of the country’s major political parties.
Capital is the bloodline of commerce. Businesses produce first, then get paid by those who buy their goods or services. They need money to get from Point A to Point B.
There are an infinite number of ways that businesses get capital. Large Wall Street investment banks play a role, but a rather small one. And almost exclusively for big businesses, which isn’t where the growth in the American economy occurs.
In related news — and in response to the emails I keep getting from folks who insist that these protests aren’t Marxist — please check out these recent vids: