One of the main complaints I've heard about Occupy Wall Street is that the people protesting don't have any solutions of their own to solve America's economic problems. Basically, critics are complaining that the protesters just want to be critics for the sake of being critics. Now, that's not entirely true. Most of the protesters do want to tax the rich and sue the banks, but that's probably not going to fix the economy in the long run. They're certainly in need of a coherent message.
I plan on attending some occupy events. Because of that, I've decided to take it upon myself to draft three proposals that I feel would address the concerns of the protesters in realistic ways. These three proposals are more on the idealistic sides. An addendum, which follows the three proposals, makes some concessions for reality. What these proposals suggest is not the complete revolution some long for, but a major reform of our current system. I feel that's the solution that would make the most people happy.
1. MULTINATIONAL MEGACORPORATIONS ARE A PROBLEM, AND WE NEED TO ENACT LAWS THAT LIMIT THEIR POWER.
This goes beyond mere economics. I believe that corporations a threat to humankind (keep in my mind that this definition of a corporation includes modern, multinational banks). Like a parasite, corporations suck as much profits out their hosts as they can, moving onto a new hosts once they've drained their old hosts. Already, they're eying China as America's fortunes dwindle. They have to grow at all costs, even if that means harming the environment and everyday people (when, in all actuality, we should be consolidating and making do with what we have in preparation for overpopulation).
Think about it. Corporations have essentially used the free trade laws they lobbied for to "union bust" America. From the perspective of corporations, America's workers expected too much, and had gotten the government to pass too many environmental and labor regulations. So, after getting landmark free trade laws passed, they took all the manufacturing jobs overseas, where they could pay workers a fraction of what American workers made. This slowly undermined the economic base of America and was a direct attack against the American worker.
The government, again with the encouragement of corporate lobbyists, reacted to this by promoting deficit spending, easy credit, and lax lending policies. This created an illusion of wealth in America, when in reality, we were propping up our lifestyles and business with enormous amounts of debt. For awhile, that pacified Americans and kept them from worrying about the destruction of their manufacturing base. But it couldn't last forever. Eventually, the lenders would have to be paid back (and remember, through all of this, banks were walking arm in arm with the multinational corporations).
The problem was and is, we have borrowed so much money and invested it so poorly that there is no way we could ever pay off our debts (remember the real estate bubble?). Consequently, many lenders have stopped lending to us. The fallout from that is plain to see. The bottom lines of American companies are hurting because most of their profits we're from consumers and the government spending borrowed money. Because of this, jobs are vanishing from the county, perhaps permanently.
This is where the multinational corporations enter. "You want jobs again?" they say. "Get rid of all the rules and regulations in America. We'll bring some of the jobs back." Do you know what kind of rules and regulations they hate? Protections for organized labor, minimum wage laws, and environmental protection. They want to be able to pay the average American worker $3 an hour and use up as many natural resources as they want. Corporations only care about economic growth statistics, because growth means big profits that can be skimmed off to line the pockets of the powerful.
Many Americans, desperate for decent jobs, are demanding that politicians support corporations and limit rules and regulations. They've fallen prey to corporate propaganda, ignoring hundreds of years of evidence that shows that corporations are completely self-serving whenever possible. Instead, they somehow believe corporations and the top 1% are the job creators and economic saviors.
This, folks, is how multinational corporations union busted America. It's not the first country they've messed up, and it won't be the last if we don't do something about it.
It's time we passed laws that make it near impossible for multinational corporations to exist. We could start making corporate executives more responsible for any unethical actions their companies take, and also by making laws that changed how companies could be structured. There is too little liability in modern corporations. It would be a difficult and at times painful process, but it would be good in the long run.
Multinationals corporations like Nike have an overall negative effect of the planet and humankind, and we don't need them. By getting rid of multinational corporations, we'd also free up the press again. Right now, the press is so reliant on corporate advertising that they're afraid to publish stories that would offend corporations and their globalist agendas. Also, did you know that half of the stories you read in the newspaper actually originated from corporate press releases? That's not good. TV and radio news is just as controlled by advertisers. That's why pro-corporate propaganda rules the airwaves, shaping the opinions of Americans.
Bringing an end to multinational corporations doesn't mean ending free trade. Chant after me: "Free trade is good. Multinational corporations are bad." That should be the mantra behind the new laws. Also, we don't need massive tax hikes on the rich to destroy the multinationals, either. Granted, as it stands, the rich don't share enough of the tax burden. Small tax increases on the rich and the closing of tax loopholes would be enough to fix that (many tax loopholes would disappear if we got rid of multinational corporations, which strategically keep money in various offshore accounts). Remember, you have to let people accumulate money to a certain extent so that they can invest in new research and ideas.
2. THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX NEEDS TO BE DESTROYED.
America is an empire. Untold amounts of money are poured into the military-industrial complex by America every year. And what do we get for it? Dead bodies and unfulfilled goals. All this while we're being told that social security is an entitlement, even though it was funded by taxpayer dollars and should theoretically still have a large surplus of funds.
The War on Terror is a vague term with Orwellian overtones. 9/11 was a freak occurrence. Yes, it was a tragedy, but what's also a tragedy is the destruction of civil liberties and warmongering that followed 9/11. Do we really need the USA PATRIOT Act to stay safe? And how can foreign invasions of other countries realistically spread democracy? If Iraqis and Afghans truly wanted democracy, they'd install a democracy themselves.
We have to accept that some cultures are different from ours. The seeds of the American Revolution go all the way back to the signing of the Magna Carta. It took a lot of social evolution within in our culture to get where we are today. We can't reasonably expect Iraq or Afghanistan to become Western style, pro-American democracies after a few years of American military occupation (which is what the military was really after - emphasis on PRO-AMERICAN - and not some abstract goal of "freedom"). It doesn't make sense.
Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden were evil people. I would never argue otherwise. However, the American, European, Chinese, and Indian governments, along with the multinational corporations they support, aren't innocent, either. Sure, they're better than Hussein and Bin Laden, but that doesn't say much. As Socrates would say, pick your poison. The actions of the military-industrial complex and multinational corporations are a major reason why there is so much hatred for America around the world.
Ending the military-industrial complex would save money, resources, and lives, and would give back countries like Iraq the right to determine their own futures for themselves. The new focus for the military should be self-defense. We should withdrawal from any wars we're involved in and abandon most of our foreign military bases. The money saved could go to valuable social programs.
3. BOYCOTT THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PARTIES AND PUT A STRICT CAP ON CAMPAIGN FUNDS.
The Republican and Democratic parties will never produce real change. They have too many entrenched interests, most of them determined by corporate and industrial lobbyists. These lobbyists are able to get the ear of politicians because politicians rely on their funds for their reelection campaigns.
Politicians since time immemorial have understood that propaganda is an important tool in getting their agendas accepted. That's why they spend so much money on ads and go around the country on jets or expensive tour buses so they can give grand speeches. They need corporate and industrial funding to do that.
Politics shouldn't be a career, but that's how Republicans and Democrats treat it. Barack Obama wants to be the so-called "man of the people" because of an overriding desire within himself to establish his own self-importance. Because his policies originate from selfish concerns. and not a genuine sense of altruism, they tend not to reflect what's best for humankind, but what will make him the most popular. Most politicians have those same narcissistic traits.
Politics should be a passion born out of necessity. Socrates thought that the people who didn't want to rule make the best rulers. That's because politics shouldn't be about ruling over people or helping the elite to rule over the masses. It should be about helping all of humankind accomplish shared goals that are in the best interest of all.
By boycotting the Republican and Democrat parties in the voting booth and putting a strict cap on the amount of campaign funds they can use (less than a million dollars), we could diminish their power and influence and make way for people that want to bring real change to America.
ADDENDUM: Of course, as great as these proposals might sound, we have to take into account the world we live in. If America destroyed its multinational corporations, dismantled its military-industrial complex, and got rid of its two major political parties, a huge power vacuum would be created. Regions and countries like Europe, China, and India would rush to fill the vacuum, using the opportunity to further their own imperialist ends.
That's why the people of the world would all have to unite against multinational corporations, the military-industrial complex, and corrupt political parties, not just Americans. People in Europe, China, India, and other regions and countries would have to create their own proposals that would bring about the same ends, realizing it was for their own good.
We must remember that the fate of humankind is more important than economic growth statistics. The planet, given our current way of life, is overpopulated with humans. Rather than growth statistics, we should refocus on sustainable economies that use more relevant statistics to measure success (such as human health factors). There is no reason, given our level of technology, that all people shouldn't have more than enough to get by. True, a sustainable world might mean we won't have quite as many cheap disposable goods to buy, but there's more to life than cheap disposable goods.
We all have to work together. Multinationals, overgrown militaries, and corrupt governments are roadblocks we need to clear out of the way if we're ever going to build a better world. This is the information age. We should know better than to fall for the same old tricks.