October 23, 2011

THE PROBLEM WITH THE #OCCUPY MOVEMENT — NO EXIT STRATEGY: “You come, you conquer, and then time passes, protesters get dirty and ugly, internal divisions crack them up, the nearby residents get disgusted, the local businesses get mad, and then what? There’s isn’t going to be a revolution. It’s not Egypt. In the end, they’ll have to break up and go home. Or hope the cops come in and bust them up so they can end with a bang.”

Well, that’s one problem. The other is that the value of the sword of Damocles is that it hangs, not that it falls. Obama told Wall Street that he was the only thing standing between them and the pitchforks. That scared them into line for a while. But now Wall Street’s sick of him, and doesn’t care. They’re not playing ball like they used to.

So he unleashed the pitchforks and what we got was the #occupy movement, a pathetic, and totally non-scary, embarrassment for the Democrats. Republicans are now hoping they’ll stay in place until November of 2012.

You just can’t get good goons these days.

Meanwhile, Andy Kessler reports from San Francisco.

Maybe this is all really about disappointment. I spoke to a young woman who had clearly bathed more recently than most. I asked her why she was at OccupySF. She told me she’d done all the right things. Studied hard. Graduated college. (She was an art major.) And now she can’t get a job. It didn’t matter. It’s all messed up. She was lied to.

Of course she was. She’s a member of the Trophy Generation. Win or lose, you get a trophy. We embraced mediocrity to an entire generation of kids during good times who are now finding themselves mediocre in bad times. There still is that American dream: Go to college, get a job, buy a Prius. But like it or not, studying art or humanities or gender studies won’t get you there. Marissa Mayer at Google complains she can’t find enough computer-science majors. Civil engineers are getting hired sight unseen.

Educating the whole child was bad advice. So was follow your passion. California spends months teaching ninth-graders how to build a waste-treatment plant with only a day or two on natural selection. I think Occupy Wall Streeters are as much disappointed with the route they all took as they are with “fat cat” bankers.

Plus, how to really occupy Wall Street — with, you know, actual skills and value added and stuff:

I must have rolled my eyes because Aaron introduced me to the guy. He had long hair, a scruffy beard and was holding an iPhone in one hand and a 5-hour ENERGY drink in the other. All entrepreneurs are trained for the elevator pitch, the 30-second description of what they do in case they are ever on a short elevator ride with a venture capitalist.

“I’ve taken the best of social networking and high-frequency trading and built a system that beats those Wall Street thieves at their own game. Users input their portfolio, it could be stocks or bonds or even derivatives and then we log each trade and anonymously share the spreads so everyone is on an even keel. First it’s just about information, but then we can start matching trades away from Wall Street. Its over for those guys, the status quo is toast.”

Apparently there’s more than one way to Occupy Wall Street.


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