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Oct-21-2011 20:31printcomments

What does Occupy Wall Street Mean for the Future?

The outcome of this movement cannot be predicted just as, when an earthquake occurs, it’s a fool’s game to try to say how the world will look like when the ground stops moving.

Salem-News.com

(CALGARY, Alberta) - The Occupy Wall Street movement (the name may change as it evolves) marks the beginning of an epochal cultural revolution and promises to be a societal shift of seismic magnitude. Lest I be accused of exaggeration, recall that the modern world seems to reinvent itself every 80 years—give or take. If we begin with Galileo in 1610 and go ahead in eight decade jumps:

  • 1610—With his telescope, Galileo proves that the earth is not at the centre of the solar system (universe)
  • 1687—Newton discovers gravity (Principia published in 1687)
  • 1770—Founding of the United States and the start of the Industrial Revolution (1760s-1770s)
  • 1850—Revolution and upheaval in Europe (1848 is pivotal year)
  • 1930—The Great Depression (1929 stock market crash)
  • 2011—Occupy movements around the world

So, hold on, we’re due.

Newton’s and Galileo’s discoveries, as intellectual happenings, weren’t apparently revolutionary at the time but turned out to be epochal revolutions all the same. A revolution is an event or short time period where everything changes and the following generation sees the world in a radically different way compared to the preceding generation. Once you go through a revolution, there is no going back. In this way I think we can confidently predict/suggest that the adult lives of those born around now will be paradigmatically different from what the readers of this book are experiencing.

(Eighty years is not a magic number but represents roughly the passage of four or five generations. The world looks completely different to you than it did to your great-grandparents)

Some of the revolutions cited emerged from technology (Industrial Revolution) and others from a paradigm shift in how we see the world (earth no longer at the centre). But they all share one thing in common: The world can never be the same again.

The outcome of this movement cannot be predicted just as, when an earthquake occurs, it’s a fool’s game to try to say how the world will look like when the ground stops moving.

The late economist John Kenneth Galbraith once wrote:

"The test of the good liberal is still that he is never fooled, that he never yields on issues favoring the wealthy. Other questions occupy his active attention, but this is the constant. Behind him, always challenging him, is the cynical Marxian whisper hinting that whatever he does may not be enough. Despite his efforts, the wealthy will become wealthier and more powerful. They lose battles but win wars".

Make no mistake: this is a war in progress. Will “the people” regain their democratic sovereignty (which they barely held anyway) or will the plutocrats simply reassert their dominance. It’s every citizen’s responsibility to get involved. On which side will you be?

And for those of you who want the world to stay the same and somehow return to the old days and old ways remember the one lesson: We're all powerless against the flow of history.

___________________________________

Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Daniel Johnson as a teenager aspired to be a writer. Always a voracious reader, he reads more books in a month than many people read in a lifetime. He also reads 100+ online articles per week. He knew early that in order to be a writer, you have to be a reader.

He has always been concerned about fairness in the world and the plight of the underprivileged/underdog.

As a professional writer he sold his first paid article in 1974 and, while employed at other jobs, started selling a few pieces in assorted places.

Over the next 15 years, Daniel eked out a living as a writer doing, among other things, national writing and both radio and TV broadcasting for the CBC, Maclean’s (the national newsmagazine) and a wide variety of smaller publications. Interweaved throughout this period was soul-killing corporate and public relations writing.

It was through the 1960s and 1970s that he got his university experience. In his first year at the University of Calgary, he majored in psychology/mathematics; in his second year he switched to physics/mathematics. He then learned of an independent study program at the University of Lethbridge where he attended the next two years, studying philosophy and economics. In the end he attended university over nine years (four full time) but never qualified for a degree because he didn't have the right number of courses in any particular field.

In 1990 he published his first (and so far, only) book: Practical History: A guide to Will and Ariel Durant’s “The Story of Civilization” (Polymath Press, Calgary)

Newly appointed as the Deputy Executive Editor in August 2011, he has been writing exclusively for Salem-News.com since March 2009 and, as of summer 2011, has published more than 160 stories.

View articles written by Daniel Johnson




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Douglas Benson October 25, 2011 4:31 am (Pacific time)

Now Im confused Dan .In what way am I putting ideology in front of reality? I just pointed out that taxes were used to support those that couldnt support themselves from the founding of this country and before . By the way I do support some of the Tea party's ideas.If you are speaking about my support of the constitution [when properly applied ] that has allways been my position . Peace

I was referring to your rant about government being socialism. See my current piece Free Market Fallacy for an exploration of that idea. 


Daniel Johnson October 23, 2011 2:25 pm (Pacific time)

Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz writes:

"In recent weeks we have watched people taking to the streets by the millions to protest political, economic, and social conditions in the oppressive societies they inhabit. Governments have been toppled in Egypt and Tunisia. Protests have erupted in Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain. The ruling families elsewhere in the region look on nervously from their air-conditioned penthouses—will they be next? They are right to worry. These are societies where a minuscule fraction of the population—less than 1 percent—controls the lion’s share of the wealth; where wealth is a main determinant of power; where entrenched corruption of one sort or another is a way of life; and where the wealthiest often stand actively in the way of policies that would improve life for people in general.

"As we gaze out at the popular fervor in the streets, one question to ask ourselves is this: When will it come to America? In important ways, our own country has become like one of these distant, troubled places."

Read the whole article here:  http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent-201105.print


Ehud Goldman October 23, 2011 10:41 am (Pacific time)

Have you ever tried competing with other people on "fund of knowledge" and "problem reasoning and solving ability?"

This "person" just doesn't want to give up, but what is he offering? Instead of any kind of reasoned response to my article, he feels his only choice is to attack me psrsonally. This is called an ad hominem argument. Intellectually depleted his only recourse is to attack the writer. And he doesn't even have the integrity to post under a real name--posts under multiple names. You won't get away with that any more here. 


Ehud Goldman October 23, 2011 10:39 am (Pacific time)


Posting under multiple names. You're out of here...


Daniel Johnson October 23, 2011 10:18 am (Pacific time)

For you anti-government types, here's something to think about:

It’s a simple and unassailable point, but it’s almost always ignored: it is only possible for anyone to own anything—money, land, jewellery, yachts, and so on—if there is a state to create laws and enforce those laws. Private property is a special privilege, backed up by state power, conferred exclusively on those who have control over sufficient resources.

This is the logical starting point for any serious discussion about income and wealth and who is entitled to what.

Without government, there would be chaos and anarchy, or what seventeenth-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes called “a war of all against all”. Not only would life under such circumstances be rough and disorderly—or in Hobbes’s words, “nasty, brutish and short”—but there would be no reliable way to enforce ownership. As another English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham succinctly put it: “Take away the laws, all property ceases.”

Under such circumstances, everyone’s welfare would be fairly minimal—and roughly equal. Philosophers Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel argue that it is wrong to pretend that the differences in ability, personality, and inherited wealth that lead to great inequalities on welfare in an orderly market economy would have the same effect if there were no government to create and protect legal property rights.


Anonymous October 23, 2011 9:20 am (Pacific time)

Einstein's theories, (many esteemed scientist's advocate that he stole/replicated other's work's), are now slowly being shown as faulty, and are now causing a shift in astronomical measurements. Even his statement that doing the same thing over and over again as a form of insanity was nothing more than a re-working of Plato's statements of similar behavior in his writings. Some even accuse Plato of stealing many of his quotes from other more ancient writers than he. Regardless, the OWS movement is really nothing more than a jumble of agenda's that will fade. Arrests in New York are nearly 1,000, and more and more people are seeing internet video of these mostly unkempt, and violent people. Many have never even had a job in their lives, and just want freebies. A negative side-effect that the entitlement mentality produces. I normally would feel sorry for these people, but they represent a very real threat to the majority of Americans, and our constitutional rights. Same thing happened in the 60's here in my town. I thought we deported a lot of these nuts to Canada, but seems many creeped back after that idiot Carter pardoned these lowlifes. Ergo, it's in their DNA, thus their offspring cometh. I predict a massive culling within ten years, but for you orgasmic America haters, the OWS will simply make us stronger. Please note that the TEA PARTY actually was raw political power that changed the political landscape and got people elected. The democrats, getting desperate, made the mistake of tieing themselves to the OWS movement. They, as usual, have always demonstrated poor decision-making ability.

You're the perfect example of Pope's dictum: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Einstein never said the aphorism about insanity. Relativity is constantly being reinforced. The CERN experiments that suggested that neutrinos travel faster than light hs been found to be an error--they did not take relativity into full account. See http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/27260/

Next time you want to comment, I suggest you use a vomit bag, instead. 


Douglas Benson October 23, 2011 7:07 am (Pacific time)

Once again the socialism cry. Wake up and smell what you are shoveling . Government is socialism and in a democratic republic the the majority rules ,limited by the constitution which should protect the rights of the minority from majority tyranny ,government tyranny,or the tyranny of the powerfull [wealthy] . The sleeping giant is stirring and the powerfull are getting nervous they may be held to account by the people. You can only push so far untill the people realize they are all in this together and fight back . People vote, corporations dont ,banks dont, and the bought and paid for lawmakers can be voted out. Protest ,Educate ,Organize.
One last thing ,our founding fathers were not quite the every man for himself with no social safety net that some would have us believe . Thomas jefferson wrote in his notes on the state of Virginia . The poor unable to support themselves are maintained by an assesment on the tytheable persons of thier parish . The poor who have niether property ,friends nor strength to labour ,are boarded in the houses of good farmers to whom a stipulated sum is annually paid. to those who are able to help themselves a little or have friends from whom they derive some succors ,inadequate however to thier full maintenence ,supplementary aids are given . Nearly the same method of providing for the poor prevails through all our states . OMG SOCIALISM and wealth redistribution . Peace

I normally respect your comments, Doug, but in this case you're out of your depth. You're letting ideology get in the way of a factual reality. You sound like a Tea Party supporter. 


Anonymous October 22, 2011 6:03 pm (Pacific time)

I have tried to explain this to my leftist/statist sister, who is a big OWS fan. I have told her time and again that we are reaping the fruit of what her own ideology has sown- placing the collective over the individual, replacing objective truth with relativism, replacing religious morality with group consensus, replacing fact based education with feeling-oriented indoctrination, and so on. And the result, of course is that we have a nation of people acting selfishly and in their own interest regardless of others. I explained to her that you cannot call on Wall Street and corporations (who the left insist are not people anyway) to act upon and uphold a morality that is not universally agreed up as the cultural standard. If everyone gets to manufacture their own morality, why should I give a whit about what you think is moral if it differs from mine? Yet she does not see the contradiction in her thinking and the foundational cultural failure that it leads to. We can change the faces in Washington, we can alter the financial structure of the country, we can exchange capitalism for socialism- none of these things will ever fix the problem, because at the root, those are but symptoms of the real problem: a worldview shaped by the rejection of objective truth and foundational morality. We have a populace that is neither trained in nor embraces the classic liberalism of the Founding Fathers. If anyone doubts that, just look at the people that the mainstream Republicans are looking at for President- Romey? Christie? Really? We can only pray that by next spring we have a real contender to replace Obama. I guess, even Romney would be a far superior replacement, but we will need a very strong and entrenched conservative congress to fix us.

Objective truth? Have you ever heard of Albert Einstein? 


Anonymous October 22, 2011 10:32 am (Pacific time)

The majority of voters see the Wall Street bailouts and the government money sent to the politically connected and wants it ended. OWS sees that and wants it redirected to them. Just observe and listen.

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