Description

The Occupy Wall Street movement started about September 2011, with a few strewn protests. Few weeks later, the movement began to spread in numerous locations and gained a substantial support. The goal of the OWS movement was to stop the callous and self-centered profit making mechanisms of financial giants (Moore, 2011). The protest was also held to show that there is an income inequality in the United States’ companies and the government.

The Occupy Wall Street movement was a protest that brought together students, activists and local organizers in response to the economic inequality of nations around the globe. The demonstration gathered momentum after a continuous series of protests took place in Zuccotti Park in the New York City’s Wall Street monetary district on the 17th September, 2011,where it was forenamed the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS). 
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Moral and Economic Implications Involved in the Movement

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a global protest movement, where the moral foundation appears to be focused around the care, liberty and fairness from oppression. The most crucial moral issues that the OWS movement addresses are against the economic and social inequality, corruption, greed and excessive influence of companies on government, especially from financial services sectors (Moore, 2011).

The main goal of the OWS movement is to make the economic structure and power relations in community fairer. The moral implication of protesters is to fight for more government participation and concern for the 99% that are poor (Moore, 2011). The OWS protesters believed that the economic system is not fair and was put up in a way that only the wealthy are getting wealthier and the poor continue to get poorer. The rich (the one percent) got richer by taking and without giving.

The OWS movement protesters viewed the rich as cheaters, who frequently exploited their way to the top. Moreover, they recommended that taxpayers had to financially guarantee the ‘one percent’ after they had crashed the economy (Day, 2012). The moral implication was that they owe the taxpayers for saving their necks, and it was high time they started paying what they owe. The minority of the OWS movement is the view of those protesters on the Wall Street.

The OWS movement emerged out of a chaotic and multifaceted environment. The movement exposes the unethical practices for commerce and decision making. The movement was also formed because the US corporations and the government had ignored the majority of the community and concentrated on the minority (Moore, 2011). The OWS movement also aims at making sure that the 99 percent are able to get more and better employment opportunities in order to better themselves.

The movement emerged at an era, when banks were failing, individuals were losing their properties and homes, and the nation was faced with the utmost recession that has ever been experienced (Day, 2012). By that time, the state was faced with the unethical stock broking, capitalism had failed to serve the entire nation, and the Federal Reserve was trying to tilt the state policy. The movement also exposed corrupt companies, an issue, which stirred everyone to attend the movement.

Many Americans live under the poverty line, and many do not have the health insurance coverage and the majority earns salaries below the minimal pay. The OWS movement also addresses the moral issue of the executive wage, whereby the executive management in corporations in the United States continues to get large perquisites, while their workers continue to struggle with the smallest pay (Salamon, 2012).

The movement and its suppressions also have implications on the working class. The state and domestic governments reacted to the movement with the police suppression, leading to the arrest of three thousand activists in many cities during the first weeks (Salamon, 2012). The police have raided the OWS movement camps using pepper sprays, tear gas, stun grenades and clubs. For instance, the attack on the Oakland camp led to shooting of the Iraqi war veteran Scott. The movement responded by a general strike, this led to mass demonstrations, closure of Port of Oakland and several schools (Moore, 2011).

Moreover, the OWS movement strives to make sure that the distribution of income is better balanced in the community (Day, 2012). The OWS movement believes that it is morally wrong for a number of individuals in the society to keep on getting richer every day, while the rest of the populace continues to face the economic hardship and poverty due to a small pay and imbalanced distribution of income and wealth.

Utilitarian, Kantian and Virtue Ethics

The utilitarianism theory was put forward by Stuart Mill, and it focuses on the overall moral rules. The theory states that actions of an individual, organization or institution have to be with the overall interest of the greater majority. This means that a person is required to seek the greatest good for the greatest number. The OWS movement suggests that the action by the minority to get wealthier at the expense of the majority does not align with the theory of utilitarianism.

Kantian ethics refers to moral reflections propounded by Immanuel Kant. Additionally, the Kantian theory revolves around the need to make the right decision based on an individual’s own free will and the need of reviewing the will from a general point of view. The theory states that an actor or a decision maker should ask her/himself whether he or she supports a specific action from a general point of view.

The OWS movement believes that managers are not looking at general effects of the Kantian theory. Therefore, supporters of the OWS movement state that by reviewing the Kantian ethics, executives will review the societal fairness of their action before implementing it. The third theory is the virtual ethics, which focuses on the personal character development in order to mould a person to do what is right (Day, 2012). The virtual theory involves seeking the final good and contentment. People ought to have positive character traits like generosity, love and courage to one other.

The utilitarian theory best applies to the OWS movement, because in this theory, the end justifies the means. In other words, actions of a person, organization or institution will be judged based on the result of actions and not necessarily the overall intention of the action. This means that in case of the imbalanced distribution of wealth and income, the majority of people is left in the extreme poverty and misery and is hardly making it through a day (Salamon, 2012). This is different from the few wealthy, who are rich and in control of numerous resources.

Income Inequality and Wealth Distribution in the United States

Contrary to other developing and developed countries, the United States’ inequality of income and wealth is getting wider each day. This wide inequality has made the nation to face the current financial mayhem. Several factors have been responsible for the widening of the disparity of income and wealth gap in the US. First, an inadequate social mobility means that people will continue to remain in their social classes for decades (Day, 2012). Many Americans are in the middle class pay, and this class pay has stagnated for a long period of time, hence increasing the inequality.

Secondly, the disparity of income and wealth distribution increases due the fact that the majority of the US wealth is detained by the few US citizens. This is because the few wealthy Americans accumulate their wealth and concentrate them amongst themselves (Moore, 2011). Therefore, the low and middle class individuals are unable to better themselves and move upwards in the social stratum. At last, the rich will keep getting richer, the middle class will remain stagnated, and the low class will get poorer.

Thirdly, the increasing number of immigrants has contributed to the increased income inequality. The majority of immigrants are less skilled and less educated. Since there are many of them, they provide labor at lower rates than the Native Americans. Therefore, the less educated American citizens will have to accept the lower rates of income because of the stiff competition for jobs faced by the coming of migrants.

The income disparity and wealth distribution in the United States has been a gradual procedure that has happened over a period of time. For instance, with the increasing population, employment opportunities are gradually becoming rare; hence, the competition for the small number of slots available is increased (Moore, 2011). Therefore, most of the people acquire lowly paid jobs or manual work in order to sustain themselves. Moreover, financial factors, like monetary policies and increased rates for saving, have only made the few rich people richer, since their assets and savings gradually accumulated.

The Strategies Put Forward by OWS

There are numerous strategies that the Occupy Wall Street movement can focus on in order to obtain a more equitable outcome that is appropriate for a capitalistic society. To begin with, they can center on the main fundamental issues in the community that causes the disparity in the society (Salamon, 2012). For instance, the improvement of the contemporary education system will establish practical students, who can survive in harsh and altering economic times.

Therefore, education should focus on teaching students to be independent and artistic thinkers. With this, they can still have other alternatives to rely on, even if they fail to get the employment in big corporations and organizations. By and large, the OWS movement should focus on fundamental issues that have brought about the increased income disparity and wealth distribution problems in the United States (Day, 2012). Additionally, the OWS movement should focus on changing present systems that promote fault and cause of vices like corruption and greed in the community. Systems, like capitalism, push people within the community to be corrupt and therefore, obtain resources by every means possible.

The Future of OWS

The movement has been introduced in many countries and has fruitfully brought change in nations like the UK and Canada. Therefore, the OWS movement is the voice of individuals, and the government will be enthusiastic to listen. For instance, when the personnel are working hard for long hours and are being underpaid, the movement will continue to be there. The voice of the OWS movement is the voice of the many that are earning a negligible pay in these callous economic times and are unable to get health insurance and fund their mortgage.

The OWS movement shall continue in the society as long as capitalistic system continues to support only the few wealthy people. Moreover, as the public becomes more and more informed on the increasing levels of moral and economic injustices, the movement will continue to hear them (Day, 2012). Therefore, the OWS movement shall never fade, except when the government and other crucial systems change.

Conclusion

The government and other essential systems should not overlook protests of the OWS movement and complaints that activists are bringing forward as pretense. The government should now accept that the wealth and resources of the nation are controlled by the minority of rich people, while the larger population suffers. The income disparity and wealth distribution did not happen suddenly, it something that has been occurring for several decades.

The 99 percent are presently up in arms because of the severity of the inequity between the poor and the rich (Salamon, 2012). It is, therefore, the liability of the government to review the existing systems and introduce pragmatic changes that will provide each citizen with an opportunity for the upward social mobility and economic growth.

References

Day, K. (2012). Unfinished business: Black women, the Black church, and the struggle to thrive in America. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books.

Moore, K. (2011). Occupy Wall Street’s moral ground. Retrieved May 10, 2013 from http://www.nationofchange.org/occupy-wall-street-s-moral-ground-1320331367

Salamon, L. (2012). The state of nonprofit America. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.

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Occupy Wall Street Movement

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3 months ago
Baton-Rouge, Louisiana, USA

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