Occupy(insert name of your location here)...  It is hard not to make fun of a mass movement that doesn’t seem to stand for anything.  That would be a mistake, as they seem to have tapped into the mood of the large majority.

 

They know something is wrong.  They know it needs to be fixed.  They’ve got that part right.

 

Is it their fault that they can’t agree on what it is that’s wrong, or how to go about fixing it?  Maybe the real problem is deeper than they imagine.

 

Whatever it is, they seem to agree it’s the fault of the “1%”.  One hears the term “corporate greed” repeated.  That’s comforting.  I’m part of the 99%, so I didn’t cause this problem, and therefore I don’t have to change in order to fix it.  Comforting, but I think, wrong.

 

In a consumer society, which by definition is based on materialism, one should expect “greed” to be a common feature of behaviour.  Everyone wants more – that’s what our economy is based on.  In others, this wanting more is a negative thing called greed – in ourselves, it is just seeking “our fair share”. 

 

And in this day and age, everyone seems to think that it is the government’s job to make sure they get what they perceive to be their fair share.  Whether it is more day care spaces, or food for the homeless, or jobs, or regulations that favour our specific business, or tax breaks that favour whichever group or demographic or business or company we belong to.  We all want to use the power of government to satisfy our greed.  The protesters occupying public spaces to apply political pressure have this in common with the corporate executives using political donations and lobbyists – both are trying to use the power of government to favour their own ends.

 

Yep, something IS wrong, and it NEEDS to be fixed.  And, it looks to me like the source of the problem actually IS greed.  But greed is not limited to just 1% of our society, so fixing it is not going to be easy.  In fact, it isn't going to be possible until people start looking inside.