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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Two international views of OWS, one from Germany and the other from IPS
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Two international views of OWS, one from Germany and the other from IPS

first, ips... pay particular attention to the quote in the last paragraph...

Occupy Times Square by Christian Papesch from IPS Inter Press Service on Vimeo.

More than a month old, OWS feels like a town of its own, one governed intentionally by institutions and actions based on empathetic, egalitarian principles. As a protest, the occupation tactic is successful because of its constant presence and as a base for organising actions.

But at least as important to participants is the opportunity the occupied space provides to organise a microcosm of the society they want to live in. As the movement continues to grow, it is clear that this new society resonates with many people disaffected with the failures of society at large.

"We're dismantling capitalism and building something better right here," said Sheik.

here's a view from germany's spiegel [emphases added]...
Has America Become an Oligarchy?

Inequality in America is greater than it has been in almost a century. Those fortunate enough to belong to the 1 percent, made up of the super-rich, stand on one side of the divide; the remaining 99 percent on the other. Even for a country that has always accepted opposite extremes as part of its identity, the chasm has simply grown too vast.

Those who succeed in the US are congratulated rather than berated. Resenting other people's wealth is viewed as supporting class struggle, which is something very frowned upon.

Still, statistics indicate that the growing disparity is genuinely overwhelming. In fact, the 400 wealthiest Americans now own more than the "lower" 150 million Americans put together.

Nearly two-thirds of net private assets are concentrated in the hands of 5 percent of Americans. In comparison, the upper 5 percent of Germany hold less than half of net assets. In 2009 alone, at the same time as the US was being convulsed by mass layoffs, the number of millionaires in the country skyrocketed.

Indeed, if you look at the reports it compiles on every country in the world, even the CIA has concluded that wealth disparity is greater in the US than in Tunisia or Egypt.


At least since the beginning of the millennium, it has no longer been a simple matter of two societal extremes drifting further apart. Instead, the development is also accelerating. In the years of economic growth between 2002 and 2007, 65 percent of the income gains went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers. Likewise, although the productivity of the US economy has increased considerably since the beginning of the millennium, most Americans haven't benefited from it, with average annual incomes falling by more than 10 percent, to $49,909 (€35,184).


In 1980, American CEOs earned 42 times more than the average employee. Today, that figure has skyrocketed to more than 300 times. Last year, 25 of the country's highest-paid CEOs earned more than their companies paid in taxes.

By way of comparison, top executives at the 30 blue-chip companies making up Germany's DAX stock market index rarely earn over 100 times the salaries of their low-level employees, and that figure is often around 30 or 40 times.

nothing new here but still interesting to see how what's going on here is perceived from outside the country...

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