In Caleb Eick’s essay, “The Occupy Movement: Economic Injustice and Civil Protest” he writes about the Occupy Wall Street movement: how it originated, how the movement is tied to Albany, and the various groups of people who have joined to protest other injustices.
Eick’s argument is best summarized in the last paragraph of his essay. “The wealth of the middle class is, like in the times of the Great Depression, vanishing, as the wealth of the nation is increasingly concentrated in the hands of the few. The Occupy Movement is the voice of the people rising up. They look to change the policy of the government and place regulations on the government to stop elimination of the middle class, just as in the previous two crisis” (59). (Eick was referring to the 1930s and 1970s.)
Eick presents this argument by introducing the topic, providing background on the topic and previous financial crises, the Great Depression of the 1930s and the “radical financial deregulation process that began in the 1970s” (54). Eick explains that one of the main reasons people are participating in the Occupy Movement is stop the economic cycle of financial booms which unfortunately end in crises that lead to bailouts which lead to even bigger financial booms which end in even larger crises. People want to not just delay this cycle but end it permanently, and they are protesting the governments’ lack of enforcing regulation at corporations.
Eick goes on to explain the difference of a crisis and a bad economy. “A crisis is a large fall in the nations currency and a loss of faith in the economy. A bad economy is a short period where the economy sags but can recover. Today there is a financial crisis because our economy is not recovering as rapidly as needed and many still lack faith in the economy” (54). This leads into Eick’s examination of our capital economy and our American spending habits, which are clearly not helping with the current economy. “The continual spending does not fix the crisis especially when spent using credit and when the funds are not being re-dispersed but hoarded and concentrated in corporate CEO salaries. . . The current crisis as described by Kotz is a long-term recession that will require not only time but also a lot of reconstruction of the current system in order to fix the problem. These types of crises are caused by a high amount of wealth being concentrated in a small percentage of people and increased economic production with low demand” (55).
Overall, Eick uses examples of college students that have created their own occupations, proving that they can actually join in something they just read about or hear on the news, they are being proactive and becoming a part of history. Eick even goes so far to include a portion about on of his teachers at the College of Saint Rose that participated in a local Occupy group in Lafayette park in downtown Albany, to protest nonviolently about the Major enforcing a curfew on the park that was never actually written.
Eick uses real-life, personal, relevant examples throughout his essay to enforce the fact that the middle class is shirking, the wealth that manages to exist in the current economy is unfairly distributed among CEOs, that the government isn’t doing as nearly much as it should to enforce regulation on corporations, and that the current economic cycle of booms and crises is not healthy, effective, or a good solution, and therefore it must be restructured for the future.