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Water-cooler chatter of the ruling class

“Most people view it as a ragtag group looking for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll,” said one top hedge fund manager.

“Who do you think pays the taxes?” said one longtime money manager. “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs out­sourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just dis­grun­tled people.”

“I don’t think we see ourselves as the target,” said Steve Bartlett, president of the Financial Services Round­table, which rep­re­sents the nation’s biggest banks and insurers in Wash­ing­ton. “I think they’re protest­ing about the economy. What’s lost is that the financial services sector has to be well cap­i­tal­ized and well financed for the economy to recover.”

Without a coherent message, the crowds will ulti­mately thin out, Wall Street types insist — espe­cially when the weather turns colder. They see the pro­test­ers as an enter­tain­ing sideshow, little more than flash mobs of slackers, seeking to lock arms with Kanye West or get a whiff of the anti­estab­lish­ment politics that defined their parents’ generation.

“There is a view that it will be a lot of sound and fury sig­ni­fy­ing nothing,” said one financial industry official.

“When I tell people I went down to research the protests, they’re shocked, they literally laugh,” said Michael Mayo, a veteran bank analyst at Crédit Agricole Secu­ri­ties. “It’s just not a location they frequent.”

And elsewhere, the demi-bourgeois aspiring-wannabe litterati:

It’s not that this is a gen­er­a­tion that doesn’t want to improve the world—been to a college activity fair lately?—but ours is a fractured involve­ment. The Cold War sort of settled which was the superior economic and political system, leaving youthful calls for rev­o­lu­tion to be shouted in the context of gay rights and women’s rights and pro-Palestinian-hummus-in-the-campus-cafeteria demon­stra­tions, which are really about improve­ments to the status quo, not a wholesale overthrow.

Righto. I will take that sentiment back to headquarters.

8 comments to Water-cooler chatter of the ruling class

  • Jeff

    Makes you wonder why doctors never say, “you know, cancer is the one thing in your body that’s doing really, really well right now. We want to encourage it!”

  • The Maries Antoinettes of our gen­er­a­tion are pros­per­ing. But are they wrong? If all you have to offer is brioches, than all the problems of the world look like what to serve with the coffee. But, to shame­lessly mix metaphors, if God hadn’t hardened Pharaoh’s heart, there would have been no story. Let them offer us cakes. If I could repay them with an advice, it would be not to bet their neck on them.

  • We are now reaching global pro­por­tions in the OWS activity. The left is moving off of its gender/race agenda to embrace the all pervasive economic class warfare issue, so they can no longer corral the people into their fold only to re-inject them into the defunct system. All around it looks like awakening is occurring, lets hope this is the “spark.”

    So essen­tially it does not matter what the ruling class say around the water cooler, their views are dis­con­nected, obsolete, and meant to divert the people from the intended systemic target. I cannot wait for them to wake up to the fact that there is no intention of “change” in the works, it should turn this into a forest fire.

  • diane shammas

    I went to an occupy in Irvine and plan to do one in near future in downtown L.A. Rag tag people I didn’t see any at my occuPIE!!!

  • I get the sense from afar that OWS and other occu­pa­tions in places like Boston have a more cos­mopoli­tan veneer thanwhat I encounter here in Sacra­mento. I have visited Occupy Sacra­mento peri­od­i­cally since its inception, and, once the people who come only for the marches and big meetings leave, there is a real edge to it, a feeling of people driven to act through des­per­a­tion, as I have described on my blog here:

    Sometimes, I have the feeling that this is what it must have been like when people started to rebel in Germany in the 1520s, in England in the 1640s, in the Americas, espe­cially the Caribbean in the 1600s and 1700s, possibly even the Taiping Rebellion in China in the 1850s. Of course, that’s an exag­ger­a­tion, but there is an atmos­phere of fear, des­per­a­tion and anger that I have rarely encoun­tered in the past, espe­cially when the pro­gres­sive sup­port­ers of Occupy Sacra­mento have gone home for the day.


  • (con’t)

    But then, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised given the home­less­ness and the number of people that have been fore­closed out of their homes here. Looks like there are more people living on the edge in Sacra­mento than I realize. Beyond the homeless in the downtown, I see it in little ways, a homeless man outside a market on the K Street Mall asking for FOOD not money. A parent of a child on my young son’s soccer team who tells me that he’s just going to take the couple of free pictures of his young daughter provided by the pho­tog­ra­phers taking pictures of the team, because he can’t afford to pay for any (packages start at $11 and $16).

    In these sorts of everyday expe­ri­ences, I begin to under­stand what is moti­vat­ing people to par­tic­i­pate in OWS.

  • It is nonethe­less true that w/o the movement crys­tallis­ing along clear political demands/movements it will even­tu­ally fizzle and become the laughing stock of the water cooler airheads. I hope that won’t happen but from the still rather amorphous mass of pro­test­ers real, competent leaders with integrity have yet to solidify.

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