Occupy Wall Street has taken on the concept of indebtedness among working folks in America. Seemingly wound so tightly around the fist of corporate bankers, it appears that now every portion of the fabric of the regular working person’s life encompasses some form of debt management. We are told repeatedly that we must take on debt as the “responsible” action to move upward on the path to “success” — which of course means piling on more debt.
The concept of moving up often can take on many forms, from the most trivial such as clothes or other accoutrements that symbolize middle class upward mobility, or more major investments such as an education or purchasing a house.
But what if people had to take on debt just to meet their basic needs? Already middle class Americans have already started to use credit cards to stay afloat; keep the mortgage paid, fuel in the car and even to pay for emergencies — those necessities that financial advisors always tell people to save for. But how can you save when you have nothing?
In addition, how can one even conceive of taking out a loan to fix their neighborhood or rebuild their house if it is destroyed by a natural disaster? Should a community or individuals residents of a community take on entirely, by themselves the cost of rebuilding that community? Should they take on the burden of becoming borrowers on behalf of the public good?
And more importantly, how does this effect the balance of power in our society? Already, international banks hold entire countries hostage to the credit they extend them. If bankers wield power over the collective, can the collective join together to decide how to go about rebuilding? Will long-term growth and sustainability be taken over by the banker’s interest of payment as immediately as possible, with interest?
Bankers have now seized on the opportunity to use Hurricane Sandy victims as another “market opportunity”. This should draw immediate concern and alarm, but instead the federal government and the capitalist fed pundits for the elite, have nothing to say about the developing stranglehold that the banking/finance system has on American communities. States and local governments, strapped and desperate and essentially abandoned by the feds and served only haphazardly by either under powered non-profits on the ground and ignored by huge non-profits that usurp the public’s good will for their own needs, have little choices left but to consider privately funded loans to rebuild their communities.
In the interoccupy post attached to this Occupy Wall Street report, many activists are concerned and speaking out. Read more here, Shouldering the Costs: Who Pays in the Aftermath of Disaster?