Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Occupy personal responsibility

Business Mirror

THE current protests around the world under the banner of “Occupy” shows that a large number of people have descended into the depths of psychosis. Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality, usually including false beliefs about what is taking place.

That may be strong language but how else do you explain this. Americans protest against US companies setting up factories (or call centers) in countries like the Philippines and people in those same countries protest “foreign economic plunder” by US corporations. How can they both be right?

Doesn’t the gross hypocrisy of protesting at an event set up on Facebook, talking on an iPhone while wearing Nike shoes and using a McDonald’s toilet sink in even a little bit?

One conspiracy theory is that the global economic crisis has been created by the banks and governments to move the world into a “New World Order” of a single global government and a single economic system.

Or maybe personal greed and a lack of personal responsibility is the cause of these problems.

I find it difficult to hold any sympathy for an American that complains about being $100,000 in debt for a student loan to pay for tuition. America used to have one of the greatest higher-level educational systems in the world. Two-year community colleges were almost free. A part-time job at a fast-food restaurant would provide all the funding a student needed while living at home. I know. I did it.

How could anyone in his right mind (not being psychotic) believe it made sense to borrow, at 18 years old, enough money to buy a house to finance an education? It was the government. The US Higher Education Act of 1965 created a system including low-interest loans, grants to schools, and scholarships that, in effect, took personal responsibility to pay for an education away from students.

Governments created the US and European housing bubble by taking away the hard choices that responsible people ought to have to make. No longer did people have to ask, “Can I afford it?” Governments made the choice for them through incentive programs that made it seem stupid not to borrow. “Afford” was not part of the decision- making process anymore.

The wave of government control of economies and lives took a great leap forward in the 1960s. The people were told that government was better able to make the difficult decisions. Like sheep to the slaughter, the people marched to the governments’ drum beat.

No one truly knows who wrote the following but this summarizes the road to the current disaster. “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury.”

Everyone got on board; financial institutions, corporations and individuals. Laws were passed so that every one of these entities was able to profit.

While some of the protests are directed toward governments such as in Greece and Italy, it is not anger at what the governments have done to create the problem; it is anger that the governments cannot continue to be their “sugar daddy.”

The one basic theme of the “Occupiers,” both here and abroad, is that they want the government to do something about the problems. Why is it that these people look to the government for solutions?

What successful solutions has the “government” ever provided? I wish they could name just one.

The “Occupy Wall Street” crowd did offer a great benefit to the Philippines. One demand was that all international debt be forgiven. Both the Philippine government and the Freedom From Debt Coalition could get behind that idea. The house of cards would fall wonderfully. The US banks holding Philippine “debt would fail.” “Wall Street” would not be able to be one of the largest campaign donors to Obama and the other politicians. The Philippine activists would not have worry about “foreign investors that foster sweatshops” in the outsourcing industry.

The bottom line, though, comes down to the people allowing their governments to take over their lives, which is where the disconnect with reality sets in.

California just passed a law that forbids children under 18 from visiting a tanning salon even with parent’s consent. Yet, a girl under 18 years can have an abortion without informing her parents.

The people have let the governments take control. The global economic disaster is one result of giving up personal responsibility.

On a personal note; “Outside the Box” columns are archived at mangunonmarkets.com.

E-mail to mangun@gmail.com and Twitter @mangunonmarkets. PSE stock-market information and technical analysis tools provided by CitisecOnline.com Inc.

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