We are the 99%

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pages: 173 words: 54,729

Occupying Wall Street: The Inside Story of an Action That Changed America by Writers For The 99%

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Bay Area Rapid Transit, citizen journalism, collective bargaining, desegregation, feminist movement, income inequality, McMansion, Mohammed Bouazizi, Occupy movement, Port of Oakland, We are the 99%, young professional

This is not to say that we have always successfully adhered to the model set forth by the movement–our organization, like OWS, is an imperfect work in progress—but we have tried to observe its principles of direct democracy, consensus-based decision making, inclusiveness, and transparency. As we go to press with this book, at the beginning of December 2011, many aspects of the future course of Occupy Wall Street remain unclear. But one thing is starkly evident: Under the banner “We are the 99%”, the protest has given birth to America’s most important progressive movement since the civil rights marches half a century ago. We hope, in the pages that follow, to tell the story of that beginning. Beginnings “Are you ready for a Tahrir moment?” —Call from Adbusters, July 13th 2011 Occupy Wall Street is part of a global movement that has reached nearly every continent in the last year.

Sensing an opportunity, those on the march’s front line soon locked arms and, assured by the mass of people chanting behind them, began a slow, purposeful advance on the police and onto the bridge’s roadway. Severely outnumbered, the handful of police on the bridge turned and walked toward Brooklyn, all the while shouting on their radios. As the march took the roadway, several protesters who had taken the pedestrian walk hopped the railing to join the occupation of the bridge. But as marchers swarmed the roadway chanting, “We are the 99 percent!” “Banks got bailed out! We got sold out!” and “Whose bridge? Our bridge!” the police quickly regrouped and established a barricade using the increasingly ubiquitous orange mesh fence, which was unfurled mid-span to stop them. Those near the front of the march, halted in their tracks, could not see the back of the march from the bridge’s center, but whispers began to circulate that the police had completely enclosed them.

Emboldened, the students set a new goal: occupy the streets. As the march kicked off, hundreds poured out of Washington Square’s southeastern corner. Bearing signs such as “Student Debt = Indentured Servitude,” “They Call It Class War Only When We Fight Back!,” “Why are so many out of work . . . When there is so much work to be done??,” and “We Want Our Future Back,” the marchers turned onto the sidewalks along Fourth Street, chanting “We! Are! The 99 percent!” They swarmed around food carts and by the plaza adjoining NYU’s Stern School of Business, where several students, some dressed in suits and ties, looked on with light-hearted skepticism. Initially the march stuck to the sidewalks, with only a handful of students walking in the streets alongside traffic. But once they reached Mercer Street, the students flooded Fourth Street. They continued past Broadway, veering right onto Lafayette.


pages: 291 words: 90,200

Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age by Manuel Castells

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access to a mobile phone, banking crisis, call centre, centre right, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, housing crisis, income inequality, microcredit, Mohammed Bouazizi, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Port of Oakland, social software, statistical model, We are the 99%, web application, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, young professional, zero-sum game

Tumblr is a powerful storytelling medium, and this movement is about stories – about how the nation’s economic policies have priced us out of school, swallowed us in debt, permanently postponed retirements, and torn apart families. “We Are the 99 Percent” is the closest thing we’ve had to the work of Farm Security Administration – which paid photojournalists to document the plight of farmers during the Great Depression – and it may well go down as the definitive social history of this recession. In a telling comment, Ezra Klein wrote in The Washington Post: “It’s not the arrests that convinced me that ‘Occupy Wall Street’ was worth covering seriously. Nor was it their press strategy, which largely consisted of tweeting journalists to cover a small protest that couldn’t say what, exactly, it hoped to achieve. It was as Tumblr called, ‘We Are The 99 Percent’” (2011). Internet social networks mobilized enough support for people to come together and occupy public space, territorializing their protest.

Ungerleider, N. (2011) How virtual private networks keep Occupy Wall Street networks up and protesting. Available at: <http://www.fastcompany.com/1792974/why-occupy-wall-street-uses-vpns>. Wagstaff, K. (2012) Occupy the Internet: Protests give rise to DIY data networks. Techland, Time. Available at: <http://techland.time.com/2012/03/28/occupy-the-internet-protests-give-rise-to-diy-networks/>. Weinstein, A. (2011) “We are the 99%” creators revealed. Mother Jones. Available at: <http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/10/we-are-the-99-percent-creators>. On organization and decision-making in the camps Graeber, D. (2011a) Enacting the impossible (on consensus decision making). Occupy Wall Street. Available at: <http://occupywallst.org/article/enacting-the-impossible/>. Graeber, D. (2011b) Occupy Wall Street’s anarchist roots. Al Jazeera. Available at: <http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/11/2011112872835904508.html>.

The analysis by Gilad Lotan on Twitter traffic related to the movement shows that the peaks are associated with crucial moments in the movement, such as the first attempt to evict the occupation of Zuccotti Park on October 13.7 In most instances of threatened police action against occupations, Twitter networks alerted thousands, and their instant mobilization in solidarity played a role in protecting the occupiers. Using Twitter from their cell phones, the protesters were able to constantly distribute information, photos, videos and comments to build a real-time network of communication overlaid on the occupied space. The 99% theme was popularized, in large part, by the “We are the 99%” Tumblr page, started in mid-August, in advance of the September 17 protests, by Chris (who chose not to give his last name) and Priscilla Grim, who both work professionally in media in New York, and were involved in social activism. At first, both chose to remain anonymous, writing “Brought to you by the people who will Occupy Wall Street.” Tumblr, a social network started in 2007, has been characterized by The Atlantic’s Rebecca Rosen as a “collaborative confessional” that can, in the case of social movements, be used to create “self-service history” and demonstrates that “the power of personal narrative, whether on the radio, in a book, on YouTube, or on a Tumblr, can cut through the noise and cynicism of punditry and give shape and texture to our national story” (Rosen 2011).


pages: 284 words: 92,387

The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement by David Graeber

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Bretton Woods, British Empire, corporate personhood, David Graeber, deindustrialization, dumpster diving, East Village, feminist movement, financial innovation, George Gilder, John Markoff, Lao Tzu, late fees, Occupy movement, payday loans, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Nader, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, unpaid internship, We are the 99%, working poor

When questioned later, Georgia just insisted that there was nothing to be discussed. “Yes, I’m black,” she said, as if the matter was self-evident. a Specifics of how these consensus tools work will be covered in Chapter 4. b As a matter of historical record, since there is so much discussion of the origin of the slogan “We Are the 99 Percent,” the answer is that—appropriately enough—it was a collective creation. I threw in the 99 percent part, Begonia and Luis added the “we,” and the verb was ultimately by added by Chris, of Food Not Bombs, when he created the “We Are the 99 Percent” tumblr page a month later. c Though it’s worthwhile to point out this is untrue. The number would be more like 37th: New York City would come in just ahead of Tunisia, and just behind Portugal. d Later, various occupations did acquire the technical means to beam powerful images on the sides of buildings, but the NYPD has held that doing so without permission is a form of trespassing and has forbidden the practice.

Americans in either of those overlapping categories—the working class and underemployed graduates with crippling student loans—are actually paying more of their income to Wall Street than they pay to the government in taxes. Back in September, even before the occupation began, Chris—the Food Not Bombs activist who helped us create the first democratic circle in Bowling Green in August—set up a web page on tumblr called “We Are the 99 Percent,” where supporters could post pictures of themselves, holding up a brief account of their life situations. At the time of this writing there are more than 125 pages of these, their authors varying enormously in race, age, gender, and just about everything else. Recently there was an Internet discussion about the “ideology of the 99 percent” as revealed by these testimonies. It all began when Mike Konczal, of the blog Rortybomb, carried out a statistical analysis to determine the twenty-five most frequently used words in the html texts, and discovered that the most frequent was “job,” the second, “debt,” but that almost all the rest referred to necessities of life, homes, food, health care, education, children (after “job” and “debt,” the next most popular words were: work, college, pay, student, loan, afford, school, and insurance).

The result is a mainstream ideology—a kind of conservative centrism that assumes what’s important is always moderation and the maintenance of the status quo—which almost no one actually holds (except of course the pundits themselves), but which everyone, nonetheless, suspects that everyone else does. It seems reasonable to ask, How did we get here? How did there come to be such an enormous gap between the way so many Americans actually viewed the world—including a population of young people, most of whom were prepared to contemplate jettisoning the capitalist system entirely—and the opinions that could be expressed in its public forums? Why do the human stories revealed on the We Are the 99% tumblr never seem to make it to the TV, even in (or especially in) “reality” television? How, in a country that claims to be a democracy, did we arrive at a situation where—as the occupiers stressed—the political classes seem unwilling to even talk about the kind of issues and positions ordinary Americans actually held? To answer the question we need to take a broader historical perspective.


pages: 329 words: 95,309

Digital Bank: Strategies for Launching or Becoming a Digital Bank by Chris Skinner

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algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, bank run, Basel III, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, demand response, disintermediation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, Google Glasses, high net worth, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, margin call, mass affluent, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, Pingit, platform as a service, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pre–internet, QR code, quantitative easing, ransomware, reserve currency, RFID, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, smart cities, software as a service, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Stuxnet, trade route, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, web application, Y2K

A global movement through Twitter and social media. The movement then gathered more focus through a website called “We are the 99%” on Tumblr, a social blogging service. The 99% are the masses of poor who have no wealth and see the 1% - the politicians, the bankers, the priests, the people in power – taking all the power and wealth from them. The movement was spawned by the birth of the Occupy movement, and describe themselves as: We are the 99%. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1% is getting everything. We are the 99%. The story of how the 99% came around is that a New Yorker called Chris decided to publicise the Occupy Wall Street march that was due to take place on September 17th 2011 by asking people to put a photo of themselves holding a sign that explained their financial situation on the page he created called We are the 99 percent.

The story of how the 99% came around is that a New Yorker called Chris decided to publicise the Occupy Wall Street march that was due to take place on September 17th 2011 by asking people to put a photo of themselves holding a sign that explained their financial situation on the page he created called We are the 99 percent. Chris immediately forgot about the page and got on with other things but, four days later, came back and found hundreds of photos had been submitted. One was from Priscilla Grim who noticed that, after a fortnight, the website was not being updated so she offered to help Chris edit it. Soon, the service became a cohesive force for change behind the Occupy Movement. The photos being posted proved to have a major emotional impact, and the blog went viral with protestors adopting the phrase “We Are The 99 Per Cent” as a slogan, writing it on signs and banners. It is quite clear from the emergence of the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement and the 99% that these and many other social movements would just not exist in the same way without Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Change and the power of today’s social internet.

It is quite clear from the emergence of the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement and the 99% that these and many other social movements would just not exist in the same way without Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Change and the power of today’s social internet. Equally, the real revolution of these networks is that they allow critical mass of new movements to be linked globally within days, as demonstrated by the We are the 99% story. In banking, we see these changes occurring rapidly too. Just look at Molly Katchpole, the young lady who posted a petition on Change.org to get Bank of America to reverse policy and waive the $5 per month fees they were going to impose if people used their debit cards. The fee was to recoup losses due to the implementation of the Durbin Agreement, part of the Dodd-Frank regulatory changes in the USA. This agreement wiped out profits from interchange on debit card transactions and many US banks decided to add a fee therefore, in order to recoup losses (note: Bank of America were not the only bank to do this, just the first to get the headlines).


pages: 284 words: 85,643

What's the Matter with White People by Joan Walsh

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, banking crisis, clean water, collective bargaining, David Brooks, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, full employment, global village, Golden Gate Park, hiring and firing, impulse control, income inequality, invisible hand, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, mass immigration, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, upwardly mobile, urban decay, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, white flight, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

After a lifetime on the fractious American left, I felt stranded on the sidelines without a side: a civil rights integrationist stuck in a world of narrow boxes; a working-class Irish Catholic San Franciscan jousting with Beltway and Ivy League elites; an American who loves my country fighting charges that I’m un-American from an increasingly vicious right. One party, my own, had lost its spine; the other lost its mind. I knew that change lay in a broader definition of common ground, and I saw hope in the rising realization that “We are the 99 percent.” Yet if we are the 99 percent, why do we so often fail to get a majority of the country to listen to us? • • • I had the broad outlines of an answer, as others had put much of the evidence together before me. I’d seen it over and over. Democrats do best when they can unite around a vision of economic improvement for everybody; they get derailed when Republicans toss culture war grenades or play on race.

E839.5.W34 2012 973.91—dc23 2011053473 For my father John Patrick Walsh, who taught me to debate, with love. Preface A few days after the Occupy Wall Street movement began to stir in September 2011, I walked the narrow streets of the world’s financial hub in a light rain, looking for a protest still too small to find. During the next few weeks, OWS would change the national conversation. The slogan “We are the 99 percent” did what years of complaint by economists and liberals could not: it focused attention on staggering income inequality and “the top 1 percent” who’d enriched themselves phenomenally during the past thirty years. “I am so scared of this anti–Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death,” Frank Luntz, the GOP’s master of spin, told a private meeting of Republican governors at the end of 2011.

(Alexander Hamilton, the father of American banking, is buried in the Trinity Church yard down the street.) It seems as if we are continually having our attention drawn back to the same spot, trying to get democracy right, as we struggle over America’s place in the world. Certainly, democracy seemed to come alive again there, as the movement to wrest control of the country from Wall Street and the wealthiest 1 percent spread to hundreds of American cities and into other Western countries. “We are the 99 percent” became an updated version of e pluribus unum, “out of many, one.” I think about the Hard Hat Riot all these years later because it symbolized the culmination of a Republican political strategy that has worked nearly flawlessly for almost my entire life. No matter what’s going on in the world, the right can find a cultural issue that will get the left to fight itself, to atomize into little groups, and to give voice to factions that frighten Americans on the sidelines—often, the left-out white middle and working class—and the country winds up the worse for it.


pages: 537 words: 99,778

Dreaming in Public: Building the Occupy Movement by Amy Lang, Daniel Lang/levitsky

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Bay Area Rapid Transit, bonus culture, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deindustrialization, facts on the ground, glass ceiling, housing crisis, Kibera, late capitalism, mass incarceration, Naomi Klein, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Port of Oakland, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Slavoj Žižek, structural adjustment programs, the medium is the message, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, white flight, working poor

* We believe that any student loan should be interest-free. * We believe that private and for-profit colleges and universities, which are largely financed through student debt, should open their books. * We believe that the current student debt load should be written off. In acknowledgment of these beliefs, I am signing the Debtors’ Pledge of Refusal. ♦ occupystudentdebtcampaign.org/pledges/ occupystudentdebtcampaign.org/our-principles/ WE ARE THE 99% The Mortville Declaration of Independence 5 October 2011 We, the people of Mortville, reject global capitalism and the consumer-based identities it imposes upon the populace. We acknowledge that race, class, gender and sexual orientation have been systematically transformed into marketing schemes to sell us our identities at the expense of the global poor and the human spirit. Mortville shall exist indefinitely as a laboratory in which we create recombinant personas from the detritus of corrupt corporate constructs.

The second thing the wave of occupations has done is inject a note of reality into the nation’s political discourse. The plain truth is that Democrats don’t rule. Republicans don’t rule. Corporations reign. Plutocrats decide. Finance capital rules. Capitalism works for the 1% and against the other 99%, and is therefore fundamentally illegitimate. Discredited are the nonsense phrases about how ‘government has to live within its means’, and ‘the rich are the job-creators’. ‘We are the 99%’ may not be deep analysis of political economy, but it’s a promising start, an open door, an invitation to investigate and explain how inequality and injustice are not bugs in the system, but have always been its basic features. These were utterances which six months ago were deemed outside and beyond sensible political discourse. Now they are admitted as the plain truth by millions. The occupiers are more popular than either of the political parties, driving Republicans to denounce them, and Democrats to walk the fine line of claiming them while also collecting a billion in Wall Street contributions for the 2012 presidential race alone.

But as I’ve learned through direct involvement, Farrow’s critique – that Occupy Wall Street’s offensive rhetoric alienates African Americans and other people of color from the movement – draws far too many conclusions from too little evidence. One hears many such excuses, many distancing memes: it’s too white, those people are so privileged, they don’t speak for me. Even bracketing the illogic of applying ‘privilege’ to militant activists drenched in rain and freezing temperatures, these are flimsy apologetics. Occupy Wall Street has already inserted itself into every conversation in America, and it’s this level of rhetoric – we are the 99% – not the odd poster, that should concern us. If you don’t agree with the messaging, it’s on you to change it. If you feel it’s not diverse enough, add your body to the mix. In this consensus-based process, participation is our most valuable critical faculty. One should also recognize the instability of OWS as observable spectacle. It’s an evolving, self-made, messy space whose signs, statements and local demographics change day to day, hour to hour.


pages: 181 words: 50,196

The Rich and the Rest of Us by Tavis Smiley

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Buckminster Fuller, Corrections Corporation of America, Credit Default Swap, death of newspapers, deindustrialization, ending welfare as we know it, F. W. de Klerk, fixed income, full employment, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, job automation, liberation theology, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, mega-rich, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, traffic fines, trickle-down economics, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor

These regimes were unprepared for uprisings fueled by advancing technologies’ upstart and uncontrollable offspring—social media. It was Facebook postings, Twitter tweets, and other technological tools that engaged the world and legitimized the revolts in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, and elsewhere. In America, the wealthy one percent now find themselves in the grip of a highly contagious social-media campaign ignited by five undeniable and powerful words: “We are the 99 percent!” BREAKING FREE “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we go nowhere.” —Carl Sagan Throughout American history, there have been proud moments of revolution that forced the elite to remove their blinders of greed, tyranny, and domination. A powerful British monarchy was blind to the unfair taxation and denial of basic liberties that bred revolt in the colonies.

But Wall Street and politics are so tightly infused they couldn’t even draw the line at that moment, and that’s why we’ve reached a point where Wall Street abused the public, it abused the trust, it violated the laws, because every one of our big firms, whether it’s Goldman Sachs or Merrill Lynch or JP Morgan, they’re paying fines right now for what they did against the securities laws, and yet they’ve remained in charge.” The Occupy Wall Street key slogan, “We are the 99 percent,” is “rigorously accurate,” Sachs said. While “the rich have never been richer,” the government continues to give them preference while gutting services that poor people need for education, health care, and other vital necessities. Because the top 1 percent walked away with the prize, struggling Americans are fed up. This is why, he reasoned, people are out in the streets protesting across the country: “The 400 richest people in this country, the billionaires on the new Forbes list, have more than $1 trillion of wealth.


pages: 82 words: 21,414

The Myth of Meritocracy: Why Working-Class Kids Still Get Working-Class Jobs (Provocations Series) by James Bloodworth

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Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, cognitive dissonance, Downton Abbey, gender pay gap, glass ceiling, income inequality, light touch regulation, precariat, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, zero-sum game

The unstoppable advance of the so-called 1 per cent has been compounded in the public mind by austerity. Why, after all, should ordinary people suffer when a small minority appear to be doing so well? Originating in a 2006 documentary about the growing gap between a wealthy American elite and the rest of society, the term ‘1 per cent’ has spawned an extensive literature on both sides of the Atlantic. Its corollary – ‘We are the 99 per cent’ – was the slogan adopted by the influential anti-capitalist protest movement Occupy Wall St. Political grumbling about inequality never went away, of course, but the global financial crash of 2008 dragged it firmly back into the mainstream. A cataclysm largely caused by the reckless lending of American banks was – and in fact still is – being paid for by austerity programmes that disproportionately hit the poorest.


pages: 478 words: 126,416

Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, dematerialisation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, market design, millennium bug, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, Yom Kippur War

The ability of the senior employees of large corporations to appropriate significant fractions of corporate revenues for their own purposes mirrors, perhaps, the lavish lifestyle opportunities once exploited by prelates and courtiers. And so the combination of the bonus culture in the financial sector and its associated activities, a new generation of robber baron and the multimillionaire CEO has produced a reversal of the egalitarian trends of most of the twentieth century. ‘We are the 99 per cent’ was the slogan of the ‘Occupy’ protesters, drawing attention to the degree to which a small minority have benefited disproportionately during the era of financialisation. At the end of the First World War ‘the 1 per cent’ – the highest-earning percentile of the income distribution – received between 15 and 20 per cent of gross income. The USA, land of immigration and opportunity, was more equal than the countries of old Europe.

But there is no organisation that collects these voices.6 And I have come to believe that many people inside and outside the industry feel intimidated by what they perceive to be the pervasive (though publicly silent – they rarely engage in open debate) power and influence of global investment banks. That power and that influence ensure that fundamental structural reform of the financial sector is not a realistic short-term prospect. Yet it is intrinsic to oligarchy that oligarchs are a small minority, a point graphically made in the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ slogan of ‘We are the 99 per cent’. But it is easier to identify what the 99 per cent are against than what they are for. When I walked through St Paul’s Churchyard, incongruously placed in the centre of the City of London and the chosen site of Britain’s demonstrators, I located a sign saying ‘Ban High Frequency Trading’, but I could not find the author of the sign, or anyone who would engage in well-informed critique.

.: Hyperion 220 Loomis, Carol 108 lotteries 65, 66, 68, 72 Lucas, Robert 40 Lynch, Dennios 108 Lynch, Peter 108, 109 M M-Pesa 186 Maastricht Treaty (1993) 243, 250 McCardie, Sir Henry 83, 84, 282, 284 McGowan, Harry 45 Machiavelli, Niccolò 224 McKinley, William 44 McKinsey 115, 126 Macy’s department store 46 Madoff, Bernard 29, 118, 131, 132, 177, 232, 293 Madoff Securities 177 Magnus, King of Sweden 196 Manhattan Island, New York: and Native American sellers 59, 63 Manne, Henry 46 manufacturing companies, rise of 45 Marconi 48 marine insurance 62, 63 mark-to-market accounting 126, 128–9, 320n22 mark-to-model approach 128–9, 320n21 Market Abuse Directive (MAD) 226 market economy 4, 281, 302, 308 ‘market for corporate control, the’ 46 market risk 97, 98, 177, 192 market-makers 25, 28, 30, 31 market-making 49, 109, 118, 136 Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MIFID) 226 Markkula, Mike 162, 166, 167 Markopolos, Harry 232 Markowitz, Harry 69 Markowitz model of portfolio allocation 68–9 Martin, Felix 323n5 martingale 130, 131, 136, 139, 190 Marx, Groucho 252 Marx, Karl 144, 145 Capital 143 Mary Poppins (film) 11, 12 MasterCard 186 Masters, Brooke 120 maturity transformation 88, 92 Maxwell, Robert 197, 201 Mayan civilisation 277 Meade, James 263 Means, Gardiner 51 Meeker, Mary 40, 167 Melamed, Leo 19 Mercedes 170 merchant banks 25, 30, 33 Meriwether, John 110, 134 Merkel, Angela 231 Merrill Lynch 135, 199, 293, 300 Merton, Robert 110 Metronet 159 Meyer, André 205 MGM 33 Microsoft 29, 167 middleman, role of the 80–87 agency and trading 82–3 analysts 86 bad intermediaries 81–2 from agency to trading 84–5 identifying goods and services required 80, 81 logistics 80, 81 services from financial intermediaries 80–81 supply chain 80, 81 transparency 84 ‘wisdom of crowds’ 86–7 Midland Bank 24 Milken, Michael 46, 292 ‘millennium bug’ 40 Miller, Bill 108, 109 Minuit, Peter 59, 63 Mises, Ludwig von 225 Mittelstand (medium-size business sector) 52, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172 mobile banking apps 181 mobile phone payment transfers 186–7 Modigliani-Miller theorem 318n9 monetarism 241 monetary economics 5 monetary policy 241, 243, 245, 246 money creation 88 money market fund 120–21 Moneyball phenomenon 165 monopolies 45 Monte Carlo casino 123 Monte dei Paschi Bank of Siena 24 Montgomery Securities 167 Moody’s rating agency 21, 248, 249, 313n6 moral hazard 74, 75, 76, 92, 95, 256, 258 Morgan, J.P. 44, 166, 291 Morgan Stanley 25, 40, 130, 135, 167, 268 Morgenthau, District Attorney Robert 232–3 mortality tables 256 mortgage banks 27 mortgage market fluctuation in mortgage costs 148 mechanised assessment 84–5 mortgage-backed securities 20, 21, 40, 85, 90, 100, 128, 130, 150, 151, 152, 168, 176–7, 284 synthetic 152 Mozilo, Angelo 150, 152, 154, 293 MSCI World Bank Index 135 muckraking 44, 54–5, 79 ‘mugus’ 118, 260 multinational companies, and diversification 96–7 Munger, Charlie 127 Munich, Germany 62 Munich Re 62 Musk, Elon 168 mutual funds 27, 108, 202, 206 mutual societies 30 mutualisation 79 mutuality 124, 213 ‘My Way’ (song) 72 N Napoleon Bonaparte 26 Napster 185 NASA 276 NASDAQ 29, 108, 161 National Economic Council (US) 5, 58 National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) 255 National Institutes of Health 167 National Insurance Fund (UK) 254 National Provincial Bank 24 National Science Foundation 167 National Westminster Bank 24, 34 Nationwide 151 Native Americans 59, 63 Nazis 219, 221 neo-liberal economic policies 39, 301 Netjets 107 Netscape 40 Neue Markt 170 New Deal 225 ‘new economy’ bubble (1999) 23, 34, 40, 42, 98, 132, 167, 199, 232, 280 new issue market 112–13 New Orleans, Louisiana: Hurricane Katrina disaster (2005) 79 New Testament 76 New York Stock Exchange 26–7, 28, 29, 31, 49, 292 New York Times 283 News of the World 292, 295 Newton, Isaac 35, 132, 313n18 Niederhoffer, Victor 109 NINJAs (no income, no job, no assets) 222 Nixon, Richard 36 ‘no arbitrage’ condition 69 non-price competition 112, 219 Norman, Montagu 253 Northern Rock 89, 90–91, 92, 150, 152 Norwegian sovereign wealth fund 161, 253 Nostradamus 274 O Obama, Barack 5, 58, 77, 194, 271, 301 ‘Obamacare’ 77 Occidental Petroleum 63 Occupy movement 52, 54, 312n2 ‘Occupy Wall Street’ slogan 305 off-balance-sheet financing 153, 158, 160, 210, 250 Office of Thrift Supervision 152–3 oil shock (1973–4) 14, 36–7, 89 Old Testament 75–6 oligarchy 269, 302–3, 305 oligopoly 118, 188 Olney, Richard 233, 237, 270 open market operations 244 options 19, 22 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 263 Osborne, George 328n19 ‘out of the money option’ 102, 103 Overend, Gurney & Co. 31 overseas assets and liabilities 179–80, 179 owner-managed businesses 30 ox parable xi-xii Oxford University 12 P Pacific Gas and Electric 246 Pan Am 238 Paris financial centre 26 Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards 295 partnerships 30, 49, 50, 234 limited liability 313n14 Partnoy, Frank 268 passive funds 99, 212 passive management 207, 209, 212 Patek Philippe 195, 196 Paulson, Hank 300 Paulson, John 64, 109, 115, 152, 191, 284 ‘payment in kind’ securities 131 payment protection policies 198 payments system 6, 7, 25, 180, 181–8, 247, 259–60, 281, 297, 306 PayPal 167, 168, 187 Pecora, Ferdinand 25 Pecora hearings (1932–34) 218 peer-to-peer lending 81 pension funds 29, 98, 175, 177, 197, 199, 200, 201, 208, 213, 254, 282, 284 pension provision 78, 253–6 pension rights 53, 178 Perkins, Charles 233 perpetual inventory method 321n4 Perrow, Charles 278, 279 personal financial management 6, 7 personal liability 296 ‘petrodollars’ 14, 37 Pfizer 96 Pierpoint Morgan, J. 165 Piper Alpha oil rig disaster (1987) 63 Ponzi, Charles 131, 132 Ponzi schemes 131, 132, 136, 201 pooled investment funds 197 portfolio insurance 38 Potts, Robin, QC 61, 63, 72, 119, 193 PPI, mis-selling of 296 Prebble, Lucy: ENRON 126 price competition 112, 219 price discovery 226 price mechanism 92 Prince, Chuck 34 private equity 27, 98, 166, 210 managers 210, 289 private insurance 76, 77 private sector 78 privatisation 39, 78, 157, 158, 258, 307 probabilistic thinking 67, 71, 79 Procter & Gamble 69, 108 product innovation 13 property and infrastructure 154–60 protectionism 13 Prudential 200 public companies, conversion to 18, 31–2, 49 public debt 252 public sector 78 Q Quandt, Herbert 170 Quandt Foundation 170 quantitative easing 245, 251 quantitative style 110–11 quants 22, 107, 110 Quattrone, Frank 167, 292–3 queuing 92 Quinn, Sean 156 R railroad regulation 237 railway mania (1840s) 35 Raines, Franklin 152 Rajan, Raghuram 56, 58, 79, 102 Rakoff, Judge Jed 233, 294, 295 Ramsey, Frank 67, 68 Rand, Ayn 79, 240 ‘random walk’ 69 Ranieri, Lew 20, 22, 106–7, 134, 152 rating agencies 21, 41, 84–5, 97, 151, 152, 153, 159, 249–50 rationality 66–7, 68 RBS see Royal Bank of Scotland re-insurance 62–3 Reagan, Ronald 18, 23, 54, 59, 240 real economy 7, 18, 57, 143, 172, 190, 213, 226, 239, 271, 280, 288, 292, 298 redundancy 73, 279 Reed, John 33–4, 48, 49, 50, 51, 242, 293, 314n40 reform 270–96 other people’s money 282–5 personal responsibility 292–6 principles of 270–75 the reform of structure 285–92 robust systems and complex structures 276–81 regulation 215, 217–39 the Basel agreements 220–25 and competition 113 the origins of financial regulation 217–19 ‘principle-based’ 224 the regulation industry 229–33 ‘rule-based’ 224 securities regulation 225–9 what went wrong 233–9 ‘Regulation Q’ (US) 13, 14, 20, 28, 120, 121 regulatory agencies 229, 230, 231, 235, 238, 274, 295, 305 regulatory arbitrage 119–24, 164, 223, 250 regulatory capture 237, 248, 262 Reich, Robert 265, 266 Reinhart, C.M. 251 relationship breakdown 74, 79 Rembrandts, genuine/fake 103, 127 Renaissance Technologies 110, 111, 191 ‘repo 105’ arbitrage 122 repo agreement 121–2 repo market 121 Reserve Bank of India 58 Reserve Primary Fund 121 Resolution Trust Corporation 150 retirement pension 78 return on equity (RoE) 136–7, 191 Revelstoke, first Lord 31 risk 6, 7, 55, 56–79 adverse selection and moral hazard 72–9 analysis by ‘ketchup economists’ 64 chasing the dream 65–72 Geithner on 57–8 investment 256 Jackson Hole symposium 56–7 Kohn on 56 laying bets on the interpretation of incomplete information 61 and Lloyd’s 62–3 the LMX spiral 62–3, 64 longevity 256 market 97, 98 mitigation 297 randomness 76 socialisation of individual risks 61 specific 97–8 risk management 67–8, 72, 79, 137, 191, 229, 233, 234, 256 risk premium 208 risk thermostat 74–5 risk weighting 222, 224 risk-pooling 258 RJR Nabisco 46, 204 ‘robber barons’ 44, 45, 51–2 Robertson, Julian 98, 109, 132 Robertson Stephens 167 Rockefeller, John D. 44, 52, 196 Rocket Internet 170 Rogers, Richard 62 Rogoff, K.S. 251 rogue traders 130, 300 Rohatyn, Felix 205 Rolls-Royce 90 Roman empire 277, 278 Rome, Treaty of (1964) 170 Rooney, Wayne 268 Roosevelt, Franklin D. v, 25, 235 Roosevelt, Theodore 43–4, 235, 323n1 Rothschild family 217 Royal Bank of Scotland 11, 12, 14, 24, 26, 34, 78, 91, 103, 124, 129, 135, 138, 139, 211, 231, 293 Rubin, Robert 57 In an Uncertain World 67 Ruskin, John 60, 63 Unto this Last 56 Russia defaults on debts 39 oligarchies 303 Russian Revolution (1917) 3 S Saes 168 St Paul’s Churchyard, City of London 305 Salomon Bros. 20, 22, 27, 34, 110, 133–4 ‘Salomon North’ 110 Salz Review: An Independent Review of Barclays’ Business Practices 217 Samuelson, Paul 208 Samwer, Oliver 170 Sarkozy, Nicolas 248, 249 Savage, L.J. 67 Scholes, Myron 19, 69, 110 Schrödinger’s cat 129 Scottish Parliament 158 Scottish Widows 26, 27, 30 Scottish Widows Fund 26, 197, 201, 212, 256 search 195, 209, 213 defined 144 and the investment bank 197 Second World War 36, 221 secondary markets 85, 170, 210 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) 20, 64, 126, 152, 197, 225, 226, 228, 230, 232, 247, 292, 293, 294, 313n6 securities regulation 225–9 securitisation 20–21, 54, 100, 151, 153, 164, 169, 171, 222–3 securitisation boom (1980s) 200 securitised loans 98 See’s Candies 107 Segarra, Carmen 232 self-financing companies 45, 179, 195–6 sell-side analysts 199 Sequoia Capital 166 Shad, John S.R. 225, 228–9 shareholder value 4, 45, 46, 50, 211 Sharpe, William 69, 70 Shell 96 Sherman Act (1891) 44 Shiller, Robert 85 Siemens 196 Siemens, Werner von 196 Silicon Valley, California 166, 167, 168, 171, 172 Simon, Hermann 168 Simons, Jim 23, 27, 110, 111–12, 124 Sinatra, Frank 72 Sinclair, Upton 54, 79, 104, 132–3 The Jungle 44 Sing Sing maximum-security gaol, New York 292 Skilling, Jeff 126, 127, 128, 149, 197, 259 Slim, Carlos 52 Sloan, Alfred 45, 49 Sloan Foundation 49 small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), financing 165–72, 291 Smith, Adam 31, 51, 60 The Wealth of Nations v, 56, 106 Smith, Greg 283 Smith Barney 34 social security 52, 79, 255 Social Security Trust Fund (US) 254, 255 socialism 4, 225, 301 Société Générale 130 ‘soft commission’ 29 ‘soft’ commodities 17 Soros, George 23, 27, 98, 109, 111–12, 124, 132 South Sea Bubble (18th century) 35, 132, 292 sovereign wealth funds 161, 253 Soviet empire 36 Soviet Union 225 collapse of 23 lack of confidence in supplies 89–90 Spain: property bubble 42 Sparks, D.L. 114, 283, 284 specific risk 97–8 speculation 93 Spitzer, Eliot 232, 292 spread 28, 94 Spread Networks 2 Square 187 Stamp Duty 274 Standard & Poor’s rating agency 21, 99, 248, 249, 313n6 Standard Life 26, 27, 30 standard of living 77 Standard Oil 44, 196, 323n1 Standard Oil of New Jersey (later Exxon) 323n1 Stanford University 167 Stanhope 158 State Street 200, 207 sterling devaluation (1967) 18 stewardship 144, 163, 195–203, 203, 208, 209, 210, 211, 213 Stewart, Jimmy 12 Stigler, George 237 stock exchanges 17 see also individual stock exchanges stock markets change in organisation of 28 as a means of taking money out of companies 162 rise of 38 stock-picking 108 stockbrokers 16, 25, 30, 197, 198 Stoll, Clifford 227–8 stone fei (in Micronesia) 323n5 Stone, Richard 263 Stora Enso 196 strict liability 295–6 Strine, Chancellor Leo 117 structured investment vehicles (SIVs) 158, 223 sub-prime lending 34–5, 75 sub-prime mortgages 63, 75, 109, 149, 150, 169, 244 Summers, Larry 22, 55, 73, 119, 154, 299 criticism of Rajan’s views 57 ‘ketchup economics’ 5, 57, 69 support for financialisation 57 on transformation of investment banking 15 Sunday Times 143 ‘Rich List’ 156 supermarkets: financial services 27 supply chain 80, 81, 83, 89, 92 Surowiecki, James: The Wisdom of Crowds xi swap markets 21 SWIFT clearing system 184 Swiss Re 62 syndication 62 Syriza 306 T Taibbi, Matt 55 tailgating 102, 103, 104, 128, 129, 130, 136, 138, 140, 152, 155, 190–91, 200 Tainter, Joseph 277 Taleb, Nassim Nicholas 125, 183 Fooled by Randomness 133 Tarbell, Ida 44, 54 TARGET2 system 184, 244 TARP programme 138 tax havens 123 Taylor, Martin 185 Taylor Bean and Whitaker 293 Tea Party 306 technological innovation 13, 185, 187 Tel Aviv, Israel 171 telecommunications network 181, 182 Tesla Motors 168 Tetra 168 TfL 159 Thai exchange rate, collapse of (1997) 39 Thain, John 300 Thatcher, Margaret 18, 23, 54, 59, 148, 151, 157 Thiel, Peter 167 Third World debt problem 37, 131 thrifts 25, 149, 150, 151, 154, 174, 290, 292 ticket touts 94–5 Tobin, James 273 Tobin tax 273–4 Tolstoy, Count Leo 97 Tonnies, Ferdinand 17 ‘too big to fail’ 75, 140, 276, 277 Tourre, Fabrice ‘Fabulous Fab’ 63–4, 115, 118, 232, 293, 294 trader model 82, 83 trader, rise of the 16–24 elements of the new trading culture 21–2 factors contributing to the change 17–18 foreign exchange 18–19 from personal relationships to anonymous markets 17 hedge fund managers 23 independent traders 22–3 information technology 19–20 regulation 20 securitisation 20–21 shift from agency to trading 16 trading as a principal source of revenue and remuneration 17 trader model 82, 83 ‘trading book’ 320n20 transparency 29, 84, 205, 210, 212, 226, 260 Travelers Group 33, 34, 48 ‘treasure islands’ 122–3 Treasuries 75 Treasury (UK) 135, 158 troubled assets relief program 135 Truman, Harry S. 230, 325n13 trust 83–4, 85, 182, 213, 218, 260–61 Tuckett, David 43, 71, 79 tulip mania (1630s) 35 Turner, Adair 303 TWA 238 Twain, Mark: Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar 95–6 Twitter 185 U UBS 33, 134 UK Independence Party 306 unemployment 73, 74, 79 unit trusts 202 United States global dominance of the finance industry 218 house prices 41, 43, 149, 174 stock bubble (1929) 201 universal banks 26–7, 33 University of Chicago 19, 69 ‘unknown unknowns’ 67 UPS delivery system 279–80 US Defense Department 167 US Steel 44 US Supreme Court 228, 229, 304 US Treasury 36, 38, 135 utility networks 181–2 V value discovery 226–7 value horizon 109 Van Agtmael, Antoine 39 Vanderbilt, Cornelius 44 Vanguard 200, 207, 213 venture capital 166 firms 27, 168 venture capitalists 171, 172 Vickers Commission 194 Viniar, David 204–5, 233, 282, 283, 284 VISA 186 volatility 85, 93, 98, 103, 131, 255 Volcker, Paul 150, 181 Volcker Rule 194 voluntary agencies 258 W wagers and credit default swaps 119 defined 61 at Lloyd’s coffee house 71–2 lottery tickets 65 Wall Street, New York 1, 16, 312n2 careers in 15 rivalry with London 13 staffing of 217 Wall Street Crash (1929) 20, 25, 27, 36, 127, 201 Wall Street Journal 294 Wallenberg family 108 Walmart 81, 83 Warburg 134 Warren, Elizabeth 237 Washington consensus 39 Washington Mutual 135, 149 Wasserstein, Bruce 204, 205 Watergate affair 240 ‘We are the 99 per cent’ slogan 52, 305 ‘We are Wall Street’ 16, 55, 267–8, 271, 300, 301 Weber, Max 17 Weill, Sandy 33–4, 35, 48–51, 55, 91, 149, 293, 314n40 Weinstock, Arnold 48 Welch, Jack 45–6, 48, 50, 52, 126, 314n40 WestLB 169 Westminster Bank 24 Whitney, Richard 292 Wilson, Harold 18 windfall payments 14, 32, 127, 153, 290 winner’s curse 103, 104, 156, 318n11 Winslow Jones, Alfred 23 Winton Capital 111 Wolfe, Humbert 7 The Uncelestial City 1 Wolfe, Tom 268 The Bonfire of the Vanities 16, 22 women traders 22 Woodford, Neil 108 Woodward, Bob: Maestro 240 World Bank 14, 220 World.Com bonds 197 Wozniak, Steve 162 Wriston, Walter 37 Y Yellen, Janet 230–31 Yom Kippur War (1973) 36 YouTube 185 Z Zurich, Switzerland 62


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The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It by Timothy Noah

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assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, Branko Milanovic, call centre, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, Erik Brynjolfsson, feminist movement, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, low skilled workers, lump of labour, manufacturing employment, moral hazard, oil shock, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, positional goods, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Powell Memorandum, purchasing power parity, refrigerator car, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, upwardly mobile, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War

A chart showing this found its way into President Obama’s first budget, prompting the Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger to call it “the most politically potent squiggle along an axis since Arthur Laffer drew his famous curve on a napkin in the mid-1970s.” But where Laffer’s squiggle was an argument to lower taxes, Piketty and Saez’s (the conservative Henninger noted with some dismay) was an argument to raise them on the rich.6 It was also what later inspired 2011’s Occupy Wall Street protest slogan, “We are the 99 percent.” • The top 0.1 percent (Really and Stinking; today, everybody making at least $1.7 million) tripled their share of the national income during the Great Divergence, from 3 to 10 percent. • The top 0.01 percent (Stinking; today, everybody making at least $9.1 million) nearly quadrupled their share of the national income during the Great Divergence, from 1.4 to 5 percent.7 Notice a pattern?

Ellen Byron, “As Middle Class Shrinks, P&G Aims High and Low,” Wall Street Journal, Sept. 12, 2001, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904836104576558861943984924.html. Sam Grobart, “Bells and Whistles Descend upon the Throne,” New York Times, Oct. 12, 2011. Don Peck, Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures & What We Can Do About It (New York: Crown, 2011), 100. “We Are the 99 Percent,” Web testimonials, Oct. 13, 2011, accessed Oct. 14, 2011, at http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/page/2. 1. Alan Blinder, “The Level and Distribution of Economic Well-Being,” Working Paper 488 (Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1980), 2. Hereafter the National Bureau of Economic Research will be referred to as NBER. 2. Growing Unequal? Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries (Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2008), 27. 3.


pages: 372 words: 109,536

The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money by Frederik Obermaier

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banking crisis, blood diamonds, credit crunch, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Snowden, family office, high net worth, income inequality, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, mega-rich, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, out of africa, race to the bottom, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks

Part of this industry is represented in our data, involving almost every country and thousands of companies. It’s the family offices, asset management companies, banks, investment advisers, tax experts, and of course Mossack Fonseca itself. All for the 1 per cent. [ ] One per cent. From that figure, an established political term has evolved to denote the richest 1 per cent of a country. In the US, the term was turned on its head to provide the slogan of a political movement: ‘We are the 99%’. This was chanted by supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement; ‘99%’ was scrawled across placards and banners. It was an outcry against the excesses and omnipotence of capitalism, the type of outcry that’s rare today. In his bestseller The Unwinding, US author George Packer describes, precisely and without getting worked up, how the financial elite have dominated the US economy, the absurd repercussions this has for the rest of the country and why citizens who weren’t previously especially politically engaged suddenly got involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement: because they felt betrayed by ‘them up there’.

There you find, for example, a young woman holding up a piece of paper to the camera that reads, ‘I’m 30 years old, married and have a child. Everything was going well for us, but then at the end of 2006, I became pregnant and had to stay in bed for four months due to pre-eclampsia. During this time, I was fired. 2011: We’ve sold all our possessions to give our daughter what she needs. I can’t find another job. Our house has just been sold in a forced auction. I AM SCARED. WE ARE THE 99%.’ Why are we telling you this? Because so far, we haven’t found anyone like this woman in our data. And it wouldn’t be too wild to assume that we won’t be finding people like her in our data in the future. The more complicated and opaque offshore structures are, the more expensive they are. But even so far as standard shell companies are concerned, assets need to be large in order to make them worthwhile.


pages: 121 words: 36,908

Four Futures: Life After Capitalism by Peter Frase

3D printing, Airbnb, basic income, bitcoin, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, fixed income, full employment, future of work, high net worth, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), iterative process, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, litecoin, mass incarceration, means of production, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, pattern recognition, peak oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, postindustrial economy, price mechanism, private military company, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart meter, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, Thomas Malthus, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck

For neither climate change nor automation can be understood as problems (or solutions) in and of themselves. What is so dangerous, rather, is the way they manifest themselves in an economy dedicated to maximizing profits and growth, and in which money and power are held in the hands of a tiny elite. The growing inequality of wealth and income in the world has become an increasing focus of attention from activists, politicians, and pundits. Occupy Wall Street struck a chord with the slogan “we are the 99 percent,” drawing attention to the fact that almost all the gains from economic growth in recent decades have accrued to 1 percent or less of the population. Economist Thomas Piketty scored an improbable best seller with Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a massive treatise about the history of wealth and the prospect of an increasingly unequal world.22 The two crises I’ve described are fundamentally about inequality as well.


pages: 247 words: 43,430

Think Complexity by Allen B. Downey

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Benoit Mandelbrot, cellular automata, Conway's Game of Life, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discrete time, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, Guggenheim Bilbao, mandelbrot fractal, Occupy movement, Paul Erdős, peer-to-peer, Pierre-Simon Laplace, sorting algorithm, stochastic process, strong AI, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing complete, Turing machine, Vilfredo Pareto, We are the 99%

Extreme wealth inequality is generally considered a problem, because it means there are many people barely surviving while others are fabulously rich. The Occupy Movement Wealth inequality has partly fueled a modern social movement known as the Occupy movement. The first significant Occupy protest was on Wall Street in New York City, where thousands of protesters gathered to express their dismay with the distribution of wealth, among other things. The movement’s motto is “We are the 99%,” reminding politicians to serve the majority, not the 1% who control more than a third of the nation’s wealth. A major goal of the movement is to achieve a more equal distribution of income, which protesters hope to accomplish by implementing a more progressive tax policy. One of the effects of taxation is to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor. But opponents of the Occupy movement (and many fiscal conservatives) claim that high tax rates for the rich actually hurt the population as a whole.


pages: 142 words: 45,733

Utopia or Bust: A Guide to the Present Crisis by Benjamin Kunkel

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anti-communist, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, creative destruction, David Graeber, declining real wages, full employment, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, liquidity trap, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Occupy movement, peak oil, price stability, profit motive, savings glut, Slavoj Žižek, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transatlantic slave trade, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

In Greece, Portugal, and Spain, sovereign debt burdens have driven protesters onto the streets in the tens of thousands. They are indignant at being made to repair their governments’ books through higher taxes and reduced salaries and benefits. In Chile, excessive interest rates on student loans figured among the main grievances in demonstrations throughout the southern winter. And the Occupy movement in the US—whose slogan, “We are the 99 percent,” was reportedly first floated by Graeber himself—has condemned not only the maldistribution of wealth but the related vice of massive consumer debt, in the form of mortgages, student loans, and usurious interest rates on credit cards. Generally speaking, the 1 percent lends and the rest borrow. Western politicians meanwhile excuse their policies by alluding to the national debt. Austerity is required, they say, to placate the bond market—that is, buyers of sovereign debt.


pages: 177 words: 50,167

The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics by John B. Judis

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, capital controls, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, first-past-the-post, fixed income, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, invisible hand, laissez-faire capitalism, mass immigration, means of production, neoliberal agenda, obamacare, Occupy movement, open borders, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Post-materialism, post-materialism, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, white flight, Winter of Discontent

It suggested coming up with “a deceptively simple Trojan Horse demand . . . that is impossible for President Obama to ignore.” The organizers failed to come up with a single demand—there seemed to be too many of them, most of which demanded an end to the reign of neoliberalism—but on a new Occupy Wall Street website, they came up with a simple slogan, borrowed from the original AmpedStatus post, “We are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.” That slogan, which framed the protest in populist terms, defined the movement as an attack on growing political and economic inequality. On September 17, somewhere over a thousand demonstrators showed up and about 300 ended up camping out on Zuccotti Park. And over the next month—aided by police overreaction—the occupation and the demonstrations it spawned attracted thousands in New York.


pages: 198 words: 52,089

Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It by Richard V. Reeves

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, assortative mating, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, desegregation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, knowledge economy, land value tax, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Occupy movement, Plutocrats, plutocrats, positional goods, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, working-age population, zero-sum game

It is about time those of us in the favored fifth recognized our privileged position. Some humility and generosity is required. But there is clearly some work to do in terms of raising awareness. Right now, there is something of a culture of entitlement among America’s upper middle class. Partly this is because of a natural tendency to compare ourselves to those even better off than us. This is the “we are the 99 percent” problem. But it is also because we feel entitled to our position since it results from our own merit: our education, brains, and hard work. These problems were illuminated by the 529 furor. Veteran tax scholar Howard Gleckman noted sadly that the demise of Obama’s plan “reflected the lack of serious interest in reform by most lawmakers today.”6 I think it reflected something much worse.


pages: 223 words: 58,732

The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce

3D printing, affirmative action, Airbnb, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, call centre, carried interest, centre right, cognitive dissonance, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, computer age, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, George Santayana, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, illegal immigration, imperial preference, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, liberal capitalism, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, moral panic, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, one-China policy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, precariat, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, TaskRabbit, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, white flight, World Values Survey, Yogi Berra

The chances that Orbán’s opponents could win an election under these conditions are slim to vanishing. Orbán now boasts that Hungary is an ‘illiberal democracy’. In his masterful survey of populism, Jan-Werner Müller takes up cudgels against those who argue populism is democratic. A true populist is not just opposed to the elites, he is also an enemy of pluralism. Without a plural society democracy loses its foundation. The populist never says ‘We are the 99 per cent,’ as Occupy Wall Street did during its Zuccotti Park protests. The populist claims to speak exclusively for the 100 per cent. Only they can know the identity of the true people. The Finnish populists began life as the True Finns. Today they are simply the Finns. The change of name is a measure of their success. ‘The only important thing is the unification of the people – because the other people don’t mean anything,’ said Trump.


pages: 267 words: 71,123

End This Depression Now! by Paul Krugman

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airline deregulation, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, centre right, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, debt deflation, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gordon Gekko, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price stability, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Upton Sinclair, We are the 99%, working poor, Works Progress Administration

For the really big gains have gone not to college-educated workers in general but to a handful of the very well-off. High school teachers generally have both college and postgraduate degrees; they have not, to put it mildly, seen the kinds of income gains that hedge fund managers have experienced. Remember, again, how twenty-five fund managers made three times as much money as the eighty thousand New York City schoolteachers. The Occupy Wall Street movement rallied around a slogan, “We are the 99 percent,” which got much closer to the truth than the usual establishment talk about education and skill differentials. And it’s not just radicals who are saying this. Last fall the painstakingly nonpartisan, ultra-respectable Congressional Budget Office (CBO) put out a report detailing the rise in inequality between 1979 and 2007; it found that Americans in the 80th to 99th percentiles—that is, Bernanke’s top 20 percent, minus OWS’s 1 percent—had seen an income rise of 65 percent over that period.

Exploring Everyday Things with R and Ruby by Sau Sheong Chang

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Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, business process, butterfly effect, cloud computing, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Debian, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Gini coefficient, income inequality, invisible hand, p-value, price stability, Ruby on Rails, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, text mining, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, We are the 99%, web application, wikimedia commons

Analyzing inequality over time library(ineq) data <- read.table("money.csv", header=F, sep=",") points = c(1,5,15,30,50,75,100,125,150,200,300,500) pdf("inequality.pdf") par(mfcol=c(4,3)) for (i in 1:12) { p <- Lc(as.vector(as.matrix(data[points[i],]))) ie <- ineq(data[points[i],]) plot(p, main=paste("t =", points[i], "/ Gini = ", round(ie, 3)), font.main=1) } dev.off() Although we use the same data as before (of course) and the same sample points, instead of generating histograms, this time we generate Lorenz curves and print out the Gini coefficient in the title of the chart as well (Figure 8-4). Figure 8-4. Lorenz curves showing inequality over time As expected, inequality increases over time—that is, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This is a simple simulation, so how does it reflect the real world? One of the major catchphrases in the “Occupy Wall Street” protest movement that started in 2011 is “We are the 99%,” which refers to the unequal distribution of wealth in America. The protesters have also accused Wall Street and corporations of risky lending practices that eventually caused the economic crisis of 2008, and have protested against corporate money in politics. These claims are not without merit. A report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) pointed out that income inequality in America has risen dramatically over the past 20 years.


pages: 279 words: 76,796

The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives by Lisa Servon

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, basic income, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, employer provided health coverage, financial exclusion, financial independence, financial innovation, gender pay gap, George Akerlof, gig economy, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, late fees, Lyft, M-Pesa, medical bankruptcy, microcredit, Occupy movement, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, precariat, Ralph Nader, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, too big to fail, transaction costs, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, We are the 99%, white flight, working poor, Zipcar

Those benefits have been eroded, leaving individuals to cope with the unexpected and unfortunate events that happen to all of us. As Jacob Hacker, author of The Great Risk Shift, argues, “More and more economic risk has been offloaded by government and corporations onto the increasingly fragile balance sheets of workers and their families.” Rising inequality also plays a role. The Occupy movement, with its slogan “We are the 99 percent,” drew attention to this inequality in the wake of the financial crisis. Worldwide, people took to the streets to protest corporate greed and broken social contracts. The New York City incarnation of the movement, Occupy Wall Street, placed the financial sector at the center of the problem. In 2015, there is more income inequality in the United States than in any other “developed” democratic country.


pages: 580 words: 168,476

The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, declining real wages, deskilling, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, framing effect, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invisible hand, jobless men, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, London Interbank Offered Rate, lone genius, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, medical bankruptcy, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, obamacare, offshore financial centre, paper trading, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, very high income, We are the 99%, wealth creators, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

A few in the hedge fund industry have been convicted subsequently of insider trading, but this is a sideshow, almost a distraction. The hedge fund industry did not cause the crisis. It was the banks. And it is the bankers who have gone, almost to a person, free. If no one is accountable, if no individual can be blamed for what has happened, it means that the problem lies in the economic and political system. From social cohesion to class warfare The slogan “we are the 99 percent” may have marked an important turning point in the debate about inequality in the United States. Americans have always shied away from class analysis; America, we liked to believe, is a middle-class country, and that belief helps bind us together. There should be no divisions between the upper and the lower classes, between the bourgeoisie and the workers.8 But if by a class-based society we mean one in which the prospects of those at the bottom to move up are low, America may have become even more class-based than old Europe, and our divisions have now become even greater than those there.9 Those in the 99 percent are continuing with the “we’re all middle class” tradition, with one slight modification: they recognize that we’re actually not all moving up together.

They are an expression of frustration with the political system and even, in those countries where there are elections, with the electoral process. They sound an alarm. In some ways the protesters have already accomplished a great deal: think tanks, government agencies, and the media have confirmed their allegations, the failures not just of the market system but of the high and unjustifiable level of inequality. The expression “we are the 99 percent” has entered into popular consciousness. No one can be sure where the movements will lead. But of this we can be sure: these young protesters have already altered public discourse and the consciousness of ordinary citizens and politicians alike. CONCLUDING COMMENTS In the weeks following the protest movements in Tunisia and Egypt, I wrote (in an early draft of my Vanity Fair article), As we gaze out at the popular fervor in the streets, one question to ask ourselves is this: when will it come to America?


pages: 598 words: 172,137

Who Stole the American Dream? by Hedrick Smith

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbus A320, airline deregulation, anti-communist, asset allocation, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business process, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, family office, full employment, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, index fund, industrial cluster, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, mega-rich, mortgage debt, negative equity, new economy, Occupy movement, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ponzi scheme, Powell Memorandum, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Renaissance Technologies, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Vanguard fund, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, Y2K

Another fresh surge of energy came last fall from Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in New York City and thousands more from Boston to Portland, Oregon, and St. Louis to Los Angeles. They gave voice to a populist protest against concentrated power and wealth in America, and much of the public responded positively to their message. In a few short weeks, the Occupy movement, inchoate as it was, not only changed the public dialogue on economic issues, but implanted in America’s political lexicon a vivid, Twitter-easy slogan—“We are the 99 percent”—opposing the richest 1 percent—a slogan that frames a central issue for election-year politics and policy makers in Washington. But lasting change in America will require a broader movement that is more deeply rooted, better organized, and more politically clear about a short list of policy goals. Still, the first shoots of an American political spring have appeared, and our history teaches that, once mobilized, a peaceful but insistent, broad-based grassroots rebellion can regain the power initiative and expand the American Dream.

Hagerty, “Once Made in China: Jobs Trickle Back to U.S. Plants,” The Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2012. 46 “The American people themselves” Gardner, “American Experiment.” 47 More than half “Tea Party House Members Even Wealthier than Other GOP Lawmakers,” Center for Responsive Politics, January 4, 2012, http://​www.​opensecrets.​org/​news/​2012/​01/​tea-​party-​house-​members-​wealthy-​gop.​html. 48 “We are the 99 percent” Brian Stelter, “Camps Are Cleared but ’99 Percent’ Still Occupies the Lexicon,” The New York Times, November 30, 2011. 49 “Powerful thrust of energy” Gardner, “American Experiment.” PART 1: POWER SHIFT 1 Powell’s personal manner Linda Greenhouse, “Lewis Powell, Crucial Centrist Justice, Dies at 90,” The New York Times, August 26, 1998. CHAPTER 1: THE BUSINESS REBELLION 1 “The danger had suddenly escalated” Thomas Byrne Edsall, The New Politics of Inequality (New York: W.


pages: 662 words: 180,546

Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown by Philip Mirowski

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Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, constrained optimization, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, joint-stock company, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, liquidity trap, loose coupling, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, random walk, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, sealed-bid auction, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, working poor

When not openly appealing to a lost world, like the “Take Back the American Dream” motif, they would propose “reforms” dating back to the 1980s, such as the Tobin tax on financial transactions, or a “fairness doctrine” for political ads, or an ineffectual public financing scheme for election campaigns. Mostly in the heat of Occupy, disputations over the crisis and financial sector were dominated by backward-looking ambitions and nostalgia for a happier and more prosperous time. Slogans like “We are the 99%” seemed to be calculated so as to be overly inclusive, confusing expansiveness with democracy, and therefore ineffectual. But even those wistful recollections were selective. The Occupiers were disdainful of close ties to trade unions, only to witness their own dreams of a General Strike fizzle in May 2012. Obsessed with dangers of being hijacked by existing organized political entities that might be sympathetic to their energy and fervor, they eventually found themselves utterly abandoned instead.

Likewise, since no one will ever staunch the roiling financialization of the modern economy, we might as well concoct even more new “financial instruments” and baroque trading procedures to make people feel a bit more that the market is really on their side. Some wet blankets such as Nouriel Roubini, Simon Johnson, and Richard Bookstaber may denounce certain aspects of securitization; but they just don’t understand: The Occupy Wall Street and Occupy London people say “We are the 99%.” There’s an increasing concern with unequal distribution of wealth, and finance is perceived as the villain in all of this. But I’m thinking it can’t be the villain; finance is a technology that can, if it’s properly applied, help reduce inequality if it’s applied to everyone. So I think that people who are in finance today have a moral obligation to help advance the trend toward democratisation of finance.48 So how will more financial engineering help us out of the hole left by the global crisis?


pages: 364 words: 99,613

Servant Economy: Where America's Elite Is Sending the Middle Class by Jeff Faux

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back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, centre right, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, McMansion, medical malpractice, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, new economy, oil shock, old-boy network, Paul Samuelson, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, private military company, Ralph Nader, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, South China Sea, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, working poor, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

Within a year the wistful political paralysis of the Jon Stewart rally gave way to the angry confrontations of Occupy Wall Street (OWS). In mid-September 2011, a loose network of largely young activists—inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East and the large protests against austerity in Europe—took over Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan in the geographic heart of the financial plutocracy. Their slogan, “We are the 99 percent,” referred to the doubling of the share of income going to the richest 1 percent of Americans since 1979. From the encampment emerged daily demonstrations, teach-ins, and efforts to engage employees going to work at the banks and investment houses. The movement quickly spread to hundreds of other cities. The punditry had asked, Where was the outrage? Here it was. For some, OWS was an answer to the Tea Party.


pages: 317 words: 101,475

Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones

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Asperger Syndrome, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, credit crunch, deindustrialization, Etonian, facts on the ground, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mass immigration, Neil Kinnock, Occupy movement, pension reform, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, race to the bottom, Right to Buy, rising living standards, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working-age population

They were, in part, inspired by the Spanish indignados (outraged) who had occupied Madrid's main square the previous May in protest at the Spanish government's response to the banking crisis; they, in tum, had followed the example of Egyptian revolutionaries who had taken Cairo's Tahrir Square. The New York protests spawned a global 'Occupy' movement, as similar camps were set up in hundreds of cities across the globe-including London, where tents were erected outside St Paul's Cathedral. The key slogan of the Occupy movement, 'We are the 99 per cent', reflected that the interests of the overwhelming majority of people conflicted with those of the elite 1 per cent at the top. It may not have been an accurate figure, but that wasn't the point: the slogan tapped into a deep sense of injustice that had taken root since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Above all, it served as a reminder of who had caused the economic crisis and who was actually being made to pay for it.And itresonated.


pages: 357 words: 99,684

Why It's Still Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions by Paul Mason

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back-to-the-land, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, capital controls, centre right, citizen journalism, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, illegal immigration, informal economy, land tenure, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, Network effects, New Journalism, Occupy movement, price stability, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rising living standards, short selling, Slavoj Žižek, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, union organizing, We are the 99%, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, young professional

Meanwhile, among the young, poor and disenfranchised demographic who formed the core of rioters, research by the Guardian'/LSE confirmed—as everyone understood at the time—that the secure Blackberry BBM service was the key conduit of riot agitation, not Facebook. RIM, the maker of Blackberry, quickly pledged to do what it could to unsecure the data. However, in response to increased surveillance and repression, activists have evolved new uses for social media. Tumblr emerged as the platform of choice of the Occupy movement in America after it hosted the viral ‘We are the 99%’ blog. The blog, and the ‘99%’ meme it created, form a case study in the mass dissemination of ideas possible with social media. The slogan itself originated at a general assembly in New York’s Zuccotti Park in August: a blogger posted an appeal for posed photographs with one-line summaries of their subject’s economic problems. The first, showing a young woman, read: ‘Single mom, grad student, unemployed and I paid more tax last year than GE.


pages: 385 words: 101,761

Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire by Bruce Nussbaum

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3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, declining real wages, demographic dividend, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, follow your passion, game design, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, invisible hand, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Gruber, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, race to the bottom, reshoring, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tesla Model S, The Chicago School, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The Myth of the Rational Market, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, tulip mania, We are the 99%, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

Only when both the manufacturing sector and the service sector began to bleed jobs did blue- and white-collar interests find common cause. As Americans began to feel the effects of the Great Recession, it became clear that the economic benefits of the New Economy disproportionately went to a tiny elite, while the vast middle class saw immiseration and downward mobility. We witnessed an inequality gap that hadn’t been as wide since the 1920s and the Great Depression. The Occupy Wall Street movement, with its rallying cry “We are the 99 percent,” crystallized the sense that something needed to change. You knew something fundamental was about to change when both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street found a common enemy, publicly blaming “Crony Capitalism” for destroying the American Dream. Even while the New Economy was at its peak, alternative ways of thinking and doing had begun springing up around the nation. Alice Waters’s groundbreaking organic restaurant Chez Panisse served as inspiration for a local food movement, which, four decades later, has gone truly global.


pages: 355 words: 92,571

Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets by John Plender

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, diversification, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, God and Mammon, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, money market fund, moral hazard, moveable type in China, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit motive, quantitative easing, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, too big to fail, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Veblen good, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck, zero-sum game

Indeed, a recent paper from the IMF – not generally regarded as a left-wing body – refers to the tentative consensus in the literature that inequality can undermine progress in health and education, cause investment-reducing political and economic instability, and undercut the social consensus required to adjust in the face of shocks, and thus that it tends to reduce the pace and durability of growth.215 And it has undoubtedly contributed to anti-business sentiment. Poll evidence suggests that an erosion of trust in business reflects ordinary people’s inability to see any moral connection between effort and reward at the top end of industry and commerce.216 That concern was evident in the Occupy Wall Street movement, with its slogan ‘we are the 99 per cent’, together with other, similar protest movements around the world. The debate on how to share the spoils of the system also gives rise to questions at the level of the company. In the Anglosphere, the shareholder-capitalist is seen as the key stakeholder in the system, enjoying the residual right to corporate profits after the claims of labour and all other creditors have been met.


pages: 357 words: 95,986

Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, air freight, algorithmic trading, anti-work, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, basic income, battle of ideas, blockchain, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, late capitalism, liberation theology, Live Aid, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, patent troll, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, post scarcity, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, surplus humans, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wages for housework, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

The horizontalist nature of Occupy gave people a means to express themselves in the face of societies that barely registered their voices.23 Particularly in America, the structure of electoral democracy around two large parties has meant the window of political discourse has become incredibly narrow. The assortment of slogans and causes associated with Occupy testifies to an explosion of suppressed anger and a proliferation of political demands that otherwise went unheard. Even among those who did not directly participate in the occupations, Occupy provided a platform for the excluded in websites such as the ‘We are the 99 Percent’ Tumblr, with a chorus of voices protesting against economic immiseration and social exclusion.24 Beyond any direct political result, the opportunity for the frustrations of the excluded to be publicly aired was inspiring and empowering for many. Occupy also worked to disrupt the ordinary lives of both participants and observers, and allowed people to participate together in a shared political project.


pages: 440 words: 108,137

The Meritocracy Myth by Stephen J. McNamee

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, collective bargaining, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, equal pay for equal work, estate planning, failed state, fixed income, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, job automation, joint-stock company, labor-force participation, low-wage service sector, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, occupational segregation, old-boy network, pink-collar, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, prediction markets, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, school choice, Scientific racism, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, white flight, young professional

As with the Great Depression, the Great Recession reached deeply into the middle class, and class issues began to surface. This was most evident with the rise of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. Starting in September 2011, protesters convened in Zuccotti Park located in the Wall Street financial district, drawing attention to economic inequality and specifically banks and investors that had triggered the recession. The OWS slogan, “We are the 99 percent,” referred to the top 1 percent of the population in which wealth is highly concentrated compared to everyone else. OWS groups sprung up in many other cities in the United States and around the world. The initial occupation of Zuccotti Park ended in December 2011 when the New York City Police forced occupiers to leave the park, presumably because of health and sanitation concerns. The movement itself has been intentionally nonhierarchal, depriving the movement of formal leadership and hindering its long-term effectiveness.


pages: 285 words: 86,174

Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy by Chris Hayes

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, carried interest, circulation of elites, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, Gunnar Myrdal, hiring and firing, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kenneth Arrow, Mark Zuckerberg, mass affluent, mass incarceration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, peak oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, University of East Anglia, Vilfredo Pareto, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

We have accepted that there will be some class of people that will make the decisions for us, and if we just manage to find the right ones, then all will go smoothly. To recover from the damage inflicted by the Crisis of Authority, we will be forced to reconstruct and reinvent our politics, a process that has, in a sense, already begun. Andrew Smith, an organizer with Occupy Wall Street, told me one fall evening in 2011 that the movement is not “Left or right, but up or down.” Amid drums and whoops and chants of “We! Are! The 99 percent!” he leaned in and said, “I realize that’s scary for some people.” Beyond left and right isn’t just a motto. Those most devoted to the deepest kinds of structural reform of the system are insistent that they do not fall along the traditional left-right axis. Just as elite failure claims a seemingly unrelated number of victims—the Palm Beach retiree bankrupted by Bernie Madoff and the child left homeless after his mother’s home was foreclosed—so, too, will you find that among those clued in to elite failure, left/right distinctions are less salient than those between what I call insurrectionists and institutionalists.


pages: 327 words: 90,542

The Age of Stagnation by Satyajit Das

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9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

There are personal grievances: lost jobs, lack of unemployment benefits, pension cuts, mortgage foreclosures, homelessness, college fees, or student loans. But there are also wider issues: the widening economic and social gap, the financialization of the economy, allocation of the responsibility and burden of the GFC, disenfranchisement of voters, and inequality. The Guy Fawkes mask and the “We are the 99 percent” chant, first heard in New York's Zuccotti Park, are emblems of a moral protest. The 1 percent saw it as violent revolution. An Occupy poster retorted: “They don't call it class warfare until we fight back.” The 1 percent argue that their wealth is the result of hard work. People are not of equal ability, they claim. One financier referred to those working for the minimum wage as mentally retarded.


pages: 363 words: 92,422

A Fine Mess by T. R. Reid

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Sanders, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, centre right, clean water, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, game design, Gini coefficient, High speed trading, Home mortgage interest deduction, Honoré de Balzac, income inequality, industrial robot, land value tax, loss aversion, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Tesla Model S, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, Tobin tax, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks

Census data showed that median income for the average American family actually fell by 8.6% in the first fourteen years of the twenty-first century, while a lucky few at the very top were taking in staggering amounts of money.1 Economists had been tracking the imbalance of wealth in the United States and other advanced democracies for several years; indeed, Thomas Piketty was one of the pioneers of this line of research. Inequality as a political issue caught the public’s attention in the summer of 2011, when a ragtag group of protesters in New York City set up tents in a small park not far from the financial district and declared themselves the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. “We Are the 99%,” their banner read; the protesters loudly declared that 99% of Americans were getting the shaft because of the economic and political clout of the richest 1%. Almost overnight, similar encampments with similar banners sprang up in city parks around the country and overseas; by mid-October, the Washington Post tallied more than nine hundred Occupy gatherings in eighty different nations. The protesters generally agreed on what they were complaining about: big business got large government bailouts after the global recession, while ordinary citizens lost their jobs, their homes, and their savings.


pages: 478 words: 149,810

We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency by Parmy Olson

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4chan, Asperger Syndrome, bitcoin, call centre, Chelsea Manning, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Firefox, hive mind, Julian Assange, Minecraft, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer, pirate software, side project, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day

The FBI said that they were “chopping off the head of LulzSec,” but by March of 2012, after LulzSec had been disbanded for more than nine months, other hacker cells were taking up the Antisec cause; in February of 2012 alone, supporters of Anonymous had taken credit for attacking the websites of the CIA, Interpol, Citigroup, and a string of banks in Brazil, among other targets. Then there was the growing international movement called “Occupy,” which emerged in September 2011 and saw tens of thousands take to the streets in major capitals to protest social and economic inequality, often using the slogan “We are the 99%.” Activist-style supporters of Anonymous largely showed their support for Occupy, promoting it on Twitter and blogs and wearing the V for Vendetta masks at protests. Police had arrested more than 6,800 people in connection with the Occupy movement as of April 2012, by which time it had gone into hiatus. But as observers marveled at how this apparently leaderless global crowd could organize itself so extensively online and in physical demonstrations, they only had to look at Anonymous to see it had already been done before.


pages: 401 words: 112,784

Hard Times: The Divisive Toll of the Economic Slump by Tom Clark, Anthony Heath

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, British Empire, Carmen Reinhart, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Etonian, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, full employment, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, income inequality, interest rate swap, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, obamacare, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, quantitative easing, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unconventional monetary instruments, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor

After so much talk of scroungers, even to ask them for their thoughts on social security put them on the defensive. Disabled ‘Stephanie’ in Luton said: ‘We just feel like we are beggars, sitting there with our hands out.’ Few human beings in that frame of mind will have the confidence to round on their accusers; instead the instinct is to acquit oneself by finding someone else to point the finger at. ♦♦♦ ‘We are the 99%’ is the great slogan of the Occupy protesters. It is a slogan justified by reference to the income distribution statistics, and one that sounds as if it ought to be able to rally a crushing electoral majority. But the numerical prevalence of the squeezed majority is, in fact, a weakness as well as a strength – identities within any ‘group’ that claims to cover anything like 99% of people are likely to be more defined by divisions than anything else.49 Yes, ‘the 1%’ has grabbed the lion's share of growth over many years – and everyone else has a legitimate grievance about that.


pages: 433 words: 125,031

Brazillionaires: The Godfathers of Modern Brazil by Alex Cuadros

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affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, big-box store, BRICs, cognitive dissonance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, family office, high net worth, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, NetJets, offshore financial centre, profit motive, rent-seeking, risk/return, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, We are the 99%, William Langewiesche

In 2006 Forbes had named some eight hundred billionaires across the world. Five years later there were twelve hundred. When Bloomberg started putting together a team of journalists to cover the ultra-rich, the timing was apt, if unintentionally so. It was the fall of 2011, and protesters had just set up tents in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, calling their movement Occupy Wall Street. They had a lot of messages, but the one that resonated was the simplest: We are the 99 percent. The movement divided America into the ninety-nine percent of people who took the brunt of the financial crash and the richest one percent—the bankers involved in the crash, especially—who seemed to suffer no consequences. The one percent, though, covered a lot of people. Most were professionals and managers who lacked much power on their own. Bloomberg’s new “billionaires team” would focus only on the top 0.0001 percent, a thin slice of humanity whose combined wealth, at four and a half trillion dollars, could pay off the entire public debt of Germany and the UK combined.


pages: 437 words: 113,173

Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin, Chris Kutarna

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, clean water, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dava Sobel, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental economics, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, full employment, Galaxy Zoo, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, Snapchat, special economic zone, spice trade, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uranium enrichment, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, zero day

A big chunk of the US labor force lost their jobs (and still haven’t found work). Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015). “Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey: Employment-Population Ratio.” United States Department of Labor. Retrieved from data.bls.gov. Disillusioned by the “recovery” that wasn’t (see Figure 8-1), in September 2011, several hundred people came together under the slogan “We are the 99%” and occupied New York City’s Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street, in protest. What in another time and place might have remained an obscure act of civil disobedience instead found a discouraged global public willing to join in. Within a month, the Occupy movement had spread to over 950 cities in 82 countries across five continents. Protest across the democratic world The Occupy movement became a global brand, but it was itself inspired by popular uprisings in Europe and the Arab world.


pages: 461 words: 125,845

This Machine Kills Secrets: Julian Assange, the Cypherpunks, and Their Fight to Empower Whistleblowers by Andy Greenberg

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Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, computerized markets, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, domain-specific language, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, hive mind, Jacob Appelbaum, Julian Assange, Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammed Bouazizi, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Richard Stallman, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social graph, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Vernor Vinge, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, X Prize, Zimmermann PGP

CONCLUSION THE MACHINE In New York’s Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of a global anticapitalist and anticorruption movement that began in the fall of 2011 under the name Occupy Wall Street, protesters adopt the same tactics of angry, confrontational nonviolence that Birgitta Jónsdóttir used in the Icelandic Revolution of 2009, that Daniel Ellsberg and Phil Zimmermann used in their Cold War protests for nuclear disarmament, that John Young used in the Columbia University Occupation of 1968. They chant slogans, acquiesce to arrest without resistance, and carry signs: “We are the 99%,” “Robin Hood Was Right,” “Free Assange,” and “Free Bradley Manning.” And they also carry cell phones, almost all of which contain a video camera. Video clips that have emerged from the protests on websites like YouTube and LiveLeak include one of police pushing into crowds of demonstrators on the Brooklyn Bridge, grabbing protesters seemingly at random, and dragging them out to be arrested as the crowd chants, “The whole world is watching.”


pages: 559 words: 169,094

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, big-box store, citizen journalism, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, diversified portfolio, East Village, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Neil Kinnock, new economy, New Journalism, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shock, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, Richard Florida, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, smart grid, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, too big to fail, union organizing, urban planning, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, white flight, white picket fence, zero-sum game

Once, on a trip to London, Kevin saw some Occupy types storming what they thought was an investment house, but they had the wrong building—it was just a regular bank branch, and the snowballs were hitting back office workers. Kevin knew about the sins of Wall Street, but the level of the protesters’ vitriol surprised him. If they wanted change, they’d have to appeal to the better angels of a banker’s nature. From lower Manhattan, the protean flame spread around the country and the world. Within weeks there were twenty-five, fifty, a hundred occupations. The movement’s slogan, “We are the 99 percent,” was simple and capacious enough to cover a multitude of discontents and desires. It became the name of a blog on Tumblr that collected a gallery of hundreds of faces in snapshots sent by readers, some obscured or half hidden by the anonymous autobiographical statement that each person wrote down on a piece of paper and held up for the camera. A face in darkness: I did everything they told me to, in order to be successful.


pages: 641 words: 182,927

In Pursuit of Privilege: A History of New York City's Upper Class and the Making of a Metropolis by Clifton Hood

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affirmative action, British Empire, David Brooks, death of newspapers, deindustrialization, family office, Golden Gate Park, Google Earth, jitney, mass immigration, new economy, New Urbanism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ray Oldenburg, ride hailing / ride sharing, Scientific racism, selection bias, Steven Levy, The Great Good Place, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, urban planning, We are the 99%, white flight

However, after forty years, pleas like his had lost their sting, and the responses to Hudson were negative and rehearsed compared with those that had been made a generation ago. Cultural values and social practices that had been new and fluid in the early 1970s had hardened, forming a cultural system that was becoming as inflexible as Victorianism had once been. The corporate elite was hardly immune to attack. In 2011, the Occupy Wall Street movement arose in New York and in other cities in the United States and abroad, and its slogan “We Are the 99%” galvanized fears and anger that had been building since the 2008 financial crisis over the inequities of corporate capitalism and the mounting concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few in New York City and elsewhere. Two years later, Bill De Blasio won election as mayor of New York City in a landslide that represented a backlash against the administration of incumbent Mayor Michael R.


pages: 935 words: 267,358

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, banks create money, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, central bank independence, centre right, circulation of elites, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, high net worth, Honoré de Balzac, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, index card, inflation targeting, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, market bubble, means of production, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, open economy, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, refrigerator car, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, We are the 99%, zero-sum game

To return for a moment to the Occupy Wall Street movement, what it shows is that the use of a common terminology, and in particular the concept of the “top centile,” though it may at first glance seem somewhat abstract, can be helpful in revealing the spectacular growth of inequality and may therefore serve as a useful tool for social interpretation and criticism. Even mass social movements can avail themselves of such a tool to develop unusual mobilizing themes, such as “We are the 99 percent!” This might seem surprising at first sight, until we remember that the title of the famous pamphlet that Abbé Sieyès published in January 1789 was “What Is the Third Estate?”8 I should also make it clear that the hierarchies (and therefore centiles and deciles) of income are not the same as those of wealth. The top 10 percent or bottom 50 percent of the labor income distribution are not the same people who constitute the top 10 percent or bottom 50 percent of the wealth distribution.