Home > #OWS, finance, news > Happy Birthday, Occupy Wall Street! #OWS

Happy Birthday, Occupy Wall Street! #OWS

September 17, 2013

Hey, what are you doing for the 2nd anniversary of the occupation of Zuccotti Park?

I know what I’m doing, namely going down to the park and handing out hundreds of copies of my occupy group’s new book – now on scribd!!. Here’s a ridiculous gif of the pile of books that came from the printer yesterday with my kindergartner posing by it (you might need to click on it to see the animation!!):

Someone isn't shy.

Someone isn’t shy.

I’m also planning a small speech at 10:15am, which I’m still writing. I’ll post it here later. here it is:

Thank you for coming
Thank you for occupying
I am here today to announce a birth
The birth of a book
It’s called “Occupy Finance”
We wrote it
we are Alternative Banking

Who are we?
We are a working group of Occupy
we first met almost two years ago
we have been meeting ever since
we meet every Sunday afternoon
at Columbia University
our meetings are totally open
we want you to come

We discuss the financial system
we discuss financial regulation
we discuss how lobbyists destroy regulation
we discuss how Obama destroys regulation
we discuss what we can do to help
how we can make our opinions known
how we can make the system work for us
the 99%

Last year we had a project
The 52 Shades of Greed
we came here to Zuccotti Park
we gave out hundreds of packs of cards
they explained the financial system
they called out the criminals
they called out the toxic ideas
and the toxic instruments
and the toxic institutions
that started this mess

This year we’ve come back
with another present to share
it’s a book we wrote
it’s a book for all of us
it explains how the financial system works
and how it doesn’t work
it explains how the system uses us
how the bankers scam us all
how the regulators fail to do their job
how the politicians have been bought

Why did we write this book?
we wrote it for you
and we wrote it for us
we wrote it for anyone
who wants to know
how to argue against
the side of greed
the side of corruption
the side of entitlement

let me tell you something
some people call us radicals
but listen up
when the top 1%
capture 95% of the income gains
since the so-called end
of the recession,
when more than half the country thinks
that we didn’t do enough
to put bankers in jail,
when the median household income
has gone down 7.3% since 2007,
when the actual employment rate
is 5% below 2007,
when the jobs that do exist are crappy
when we get paid with prepaid debit cards
that nickel and dime us all
then what we demand is not radical
it is only a system that works
we are asking for a just system
we are asking for a fair system
we are asking for an end to too-big-to-fail
we demand banks take less risk
with our money
and we are asking lawmakers
to stop banks
once and for all
from scamming people because they are poor

Please join us
we want you to come
you don’t need to be an expert
we started out as strangers
who wanted to know how things work
we have become friends
we have become allies
we have made something
out of our curiousity
and out of our hard work
and we are here today
to share that with you
and to ask you to join us
please join us
happy birthday to us!
Thank you!!

Categories: #OWS, finance, news
  1. September 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    How long are you guys going to be giving away books in zucotti? I would love to drop by after work, but I couldn’t be there till 5:30!


    • September 17, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      I’m no longer there but I believe events are going on all day. Someone should be there with books.


      • September 17, 2013 at 10:46 pm

        Unfortunately, they had run out by 5:15pm, at least according to the young lady at the pamphlet desk. I can print it out tomorrow, but I was looking forward to a bound copy for the historic gravitas!


  2. DS
    September 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    I got one! Woooo! I asked for it at the table with other pamphlets, and the girl there didn’t think she had any. But as I was leaving, she caught up to me and gave me a copy.


  3. DS
    September 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Question to the author. There is a part, p. 67, about Steve Jobs. It says that in different conditions, he would not look like an amazing genius, but might instead plow farmland somewhere. It is the ripe background conditions that enabled his success. The conclusion drawn is that he was overcompensated for this success, and the rest of the society was undercompensated.

    But the grossly unbalanced compensation (and fame) is part of these background conditions. The society *is* better off that Steve Jobs did what he did, rather than plow farmland. Apple’s innovation happened in *these* conditions, and did not happen in China or Russia, or countries with better income-equality like Denmark or Ukraine. So the opposite conclusion could be drawn.

    In short this argument is logically deeply unconvincing.


    • September 18, 2013 at 9:23 am

      We’re not arguing that Steve Jobs sucks, just that his success depended on his environment.


      • dsagal
        September 18, 2013 at 11:11 am

        That Steve Jobs’s success depended on his environment is a (correct) premise. The conclusion is that his pay overestimates the measure of the net social wealth he generated, i.e. that he was paid too much.

        This claim is not supported. People who organize others to enable large-scale creation of value are valuable to society. That’s not a myth. The created wealth does get distributed to its contributors via salaries, income taxes, sales taxes, money flowing to factories in China, etc.

        But maybe the balance is off? Yes, it is off. Because the compensation of “demigod entrepreneurs” is often taxed as long-term capital gains, and that tax is too low (15% vs 40% for ordinary income). By raising the tax, more of the created value would go back to the society that enables such success.

        I think it’s very important that publications like Occupy Finance recognize that there is balance. Here’s why. It’s important for society that we do have people who want to be entrepreneurs, and who stick to it to do amazing things like Steve Jobs. A less thoughtful reader will be left with the strongest statement of that page (“Those maniacs blew up this shit, after all!” p.67). And fermenting that societal attitude towards entrepreneurs doesn’t help anyone.

        Wrongdoing is bad. Entrepreneurship is good! It should be respected and compensated. It should be taxed fairly. Raising taxes to make them more uniform will likely not impact people’s desire to start a business. But demonizing successful business leaders will.


  4. Emmett
    September 17, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Heard you on my local NPR radio!
    You sounded great!
    Erudite, informed, reasonable and asking for perfectly UNreasonable reforms.
    GO girl!


    • September 18, 2013 at 6:42 am

      Haha thanks!


    • September 19, 2013 at 9:24 am

      You probably know this quotation:
      “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
      George Bernard Shaw.


  5. bertie
    September 18, 2013 at 3:49 am

    A beautiful speech Mathbabe


  6. jameselgringo
    September 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    i’m most of the way through the book and enjoying the hell out of it. sorry to be all suggesty about social media stuff, but i think it would be great if you were on goodreads (i’m mean you kinda already are) with your blog linked up to your author page and stuff… http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6928121.Cathy_O_Neil?from_search=true as far as i can tell, it’s the best social reading site…


    • Josh
      September 24, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      Can you give us some advice as to how to get it up on Goodreads? in case it wasn’t obvious, we are new at this.


  1. September 17, 2013 at 11:18 am
  2. September 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: