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OCCUPY WALL STREET: EAST SWITCHES WITH THE WEST?

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Posted by Leonard Steinberg on MAYDAY, 2012

Mayday celebrations re-kindled the fuel of Occupy Wall Streeters to-day and it made me wonder:  Is Western society becoming more socialist in its thinking while traditional communist countries embrace capitalism?

China, Russia, Georgia and other traditionally communist countries are thriving with a capitalist spirit that is elevating millions out of poverty with economic growth that outstrips all expectations. Obviously corruption is rampant, although that has certainly not escaped Western-style capitalism. Yet here in the good ‘ole USA we see a larger group of people yearning for somewhat socialist principles, especially a large group of the Occupy Wall Streeters. Just like the Tea Party, they are a mixed group, so no-one should label them with one train of thought. Groups of this kind always attract extremist radicals (the curse of our planet) that muddy the message.

Government employment keeps rising. Frustration with the system ‘not providing enough’ keeps growing. We all scratch our heads why job-growth is slow, yet blind ourselves to the fact that there is massive job creation for US companies….but in other countries. The young educated graduates are outraged that there are no jobs for them, even though their qualifications and education have not prepared them for this new world order driven by math and science. We simply don’t like to accept hard truths. We expect to receive the exact same retirement benefits planned 50 years ago when life expectancy was considerably lower. We are surprised by Apple’s massive profits, only to discover that a good chunk of their profits are derived by (legal) tax evasion. Many are shocked that rents rise: surely with growing insurance, labor, tax, fuel and energy costs rents should stay the same forever? We are even more surprised that Walmart had to make large bribes to operate in Mexico….shocking!

So should we be shocked by this more recent growing social unrest?  Does it represent a trend? Probably not: with high unemployment, frustration with a system that hides from the truth, and extremists on the left and the right, we should not expect calm and order. Will luxury Manhattan real estate have to plan for tighter security and more discretion? Will the thinking of the communist regimes of the East infiltrate the West? Its unlikely, although who on earth would have imagined Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Rolls Royce, Chanel and Rolex thriving in COMMUNIST China?