The massive protests going on around the country and now the world are a sign that people have well and truly had enough of the deeply corrupt monetary system that benefits an extremely small minority of the population.
The protesters refer to themselves as ‘The 99%‘ – an accurate reflection of their demographic that now encompasses virtually every class in society bar the mega rich. Those extraordinarily wealthy individuals own a disproportionate amount of the country’s resources (the top 1% own roughly 40% of the country’s wealth), and the gap is widening year after year.
The exploitative system works because the political system doesn’t. Politicians can only get into office by raising money in order to run campaigns, so those who pay for them expect kick backs. The credit card industry will back a candidate and expect favorable legislation in return, and those serious about getting into power will ensure they craft their platforms in collaboration with the wealthy institutions even before they get going.
The result is a system geared towards protecting the interests of the wealthy, and not the public.
There are many things the government can do to alleviate poverty and economic inequality – bolstering welfare, putting more into schools and healthcare etc, but at the end of the day, only moderate reform is possible if the rich get to craft legislation.
How do we go about creating a system that works in the interests of the public? One simple answer: Get money out of the political system. Then maybe we could build a government that functions for 99% of the population rather than the 1%.
The protests have the power to do this – enough people on the streets for a long enough period of time has the potential to seriously affect policy. While the protesters do not seem to have a unified message as yet, the issue of campaign finance reform seems to be gaining more and more attention.
That one simple demand could literally change the world – a cause definitely worth fighting for.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.