By George González
Placards at this weekend’s forced evacuation of “Occupy Boston,” as elsewhere in the country, defiantly read, “You Can’t Evict an Idea.” This kind of contention is key to understanding the sophisticated politics of the “Occupy Movement.” The seeming contradiction between this notion and the original focus on the physical occupation of space exemplifies the genius of the movement.
In my previous post, “The Market, Warren Buffet and the Occupation of Wall Street,” I discussed how arguments which overstate the rationalist dimensions of economic life, whatever their political persuasion, are dangerous because they contribute to misunderstandings of how economic power actually works in our daily lives. If we misdiagnose the stakes or misread the landscape, our social critique is impaired. I made the point that, in practice, Warren Buffett’s financial empire understands quite well the “emotional content of economics,” as one of my mentors, Bethany Moreton, nicely puts it. Yet, his solutions for improving our economic lot are strangely rationalist given the multifaceted ways in which his company does business. What I mean by this is that his solution is formal, proceduralist and bureaucratic. It makes a policy appeal regarding tax law and commends legislative approaches. Legislative and legal activism that benefits from ten-point plans and specific policy goals are, no doubt, very important pragmatic dimensions of the work that needs to be done. Such work, however, does not begin to exhaust what is meant by the mantra Occupy Everything! nor begin to exhaust the sakes as many “occupiers” understand them. Continue Reading →