Smart Establishment Writer Justifies Occupy Movement

I was overjoyed to discover a writer at the MarketWatch section of the online Wall Street Journal.  Paul B. Farrell writes a column on behavioral economics and has degrees in law and psychology.  In addition to writing nine books he worked in the financial and newspaper sectors.  In August 2011, before Occupy Wall Street became big news, he wrote a column titled “Tax the super-rich or riots will rage in 2012.”  It is critically important for everyone to appreciate that someone who has clearly succeeded within the established economic system has the intelligence to see the truth and write openly about it in a venue that, sadly, few Americans and Occupy participants and supporters read.

Farrell wisely noted “Across our planet a new generation is filled with rage.  High unemployment.  Raging inflation.  Dreams lost.  Hope gone.  While the super -rich get richer and richer.  … We deny the inequality between rich and the other 99%.  The rich are addicts.  More is never enough. They thrive on greed, blind to the needs of others.  … Tax the super-rich, or revolution will overrun America next.  … Tax them now, before the other 99% rise up, trigger a new American Revolution, another meltdown, a new Great Depression.   … Wake up folks. Super-rich addicts are destroying the American Dream for everyone.  They’re destroying the American economy.”

Wow!  Could you ask for anything more correct and prescient?

In early October he wrote another great column titled “Occupy Wall Street will lay siege to U.S. greed.”  More insights: “They want their democracy back: One citizen.  One dollar.  One vote.  Get the corrupting influence of money out of elections.  … They want to eliminate the greatest corrupter of our democracy: Wall Street, the financial Gomorrah of America.  … Warning: Ignore this rebellion at your peril.  Reading their materials reveals a deeply frustrated, angry, fed up army of revolutionaries.  … These revolutionaries are pushing America back to its roots. You sense they’re drafting a new Declaration of Independence, driven by the same powerful motivations as the 57 original signers who wrote: ‘Whenever any form of government becomes destructive … it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.’ Back in 1776 King George III was the destructive force far away. Today greed is the corruptor, from within.”  I especially connected with this sage warning: “you can expect millions will be spent to quash this revolution, much as George III tried with great armies after 1776.  So get ready to see more clever ways Big Money corrupts the democratic process, the right of assembly, freedom of speech.”  That sounds like a prediction for all assaults by local police against peaceful Occupy protesters.  While about 5,000 of those have been arrested, not one of the big bankster crooks that brought down our economy have been prosecuted.

Days ago Farrell wrote yet another great  column titled “Super Rich vs. 99%:  Class war will explode.”  More wisdom from Farrell: “Occupy Wall Street is not about politics? This is class warfare, a revolution about economic inequality, not about political parties, political policies and political solutions … and it’s not going away any time soon.  … Folks, the real problem from the occupiers’ perspective is the inequality gap between the Super Rich and the 99%.  It’s economics.  It’s behavior.  It’s the unfairness of our democracy when the incomes of the 1% increased 265% in the past generation while the incomes of the 99% stagnated.   …[The Occupy movement] will continue long after the 2012 elections, no matter who wins.  … Warning, the 99% have long memories, they recall the Bush years, the massive war spending.  They remember the 2008 meltdown. They see Wall Street greed unabated, their spending hundreds of millions fighting reforms.  …the occupiers are not going away, vanishing into the cold winter nights.  They’re already planning their version of an Arab Spring in 2012. ”

I feel like I discovered a gold mine when I came upon Farrell’s writings.  He has written eloquently about what has produced the Occupy movement, what it is really all about, and even how we should think about its future.  Those participating in and supporting the Occupy movement should give praise and thanks for Farrell’s contributions.  I urge you to read all the columns I have cited and his other writings which also seem remarkable in their honesty and brilliance because they challenge the status quo and conventional wisdom.  What bums me out is that Farrell’s writings over many years have not prevented all the atrocities thrown at Americans.

Joel S. Hirschhorn

Joel S. Hirschhorn was a full professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison and a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association; he is the author of four nonfiction books.Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through

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