December 13, 2011

TODD HENDERSON: Occupy Wall Street and the Myth of the 99%. “The ‘Occupy’ movement will never succeed against its ‘one percent’ adversaries until it begins to understand that there is not a single one percent, but rather many. An entire field of economics, known as ‘public choice,’ studies how small, concentrated groups with similar interests generally prevail politically against larger groups of diffused interests. And, in our society, these concentrated interests – like unions, defense contractors, religious groups, farmers , etc. – are not necessarily part of the ‘one percent’ Occupy talks about, and several have even joined or co-opted the Movement. But they are part of the broader one-percent problem. . . . Although it may seem far-fetched at first glance, if Occupy found common ground with the Tea Party or the sentiments behind it, much could be done politically. After all, there are many 99 percents. But so far, Occupy has absorbed or been co-opted by various one percents. For example, in education policy, teachers are the one percent, while students and parents are the 99 percent. But it is generally the power of the concentrated teachers’ unions that drives decisions about education spending and policy. The fact that teachers unions support Occupy undermines its power. A true movement of the 99 percents would be on the side of students, not teachers.”

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