This is a movement within the United States that has been staging several protests within the country. The movement began in September, 2011. The movement has been working closely with local community groups, labor unions and independent organizations. The movement is perceived to fight with what is seen as vice within the society. Although the movement does not have clearly outlined specific goals, it is seen to promote a socialist economy. The United States’ economy has its wealth concentrated among the rich and wealthy in the society. This group forms the minority of the citizens. According to the Occupy Wall Street movement, the wealthy constitute 1% of the United States’ population. This paper seeks to analyze the implications of Occupy Wall Street Movement in relation to various theories.
The movement endeavors to reduce income disparity within the state. The issue has been raised due to the fact that the wealth is concentrated among the few wealthy people within the society who happen to be the minority. The protests staged in most parts of the United States seeking to devolve the power that is held by prominent businesses. This will play a vital role to enhance equity in the income distribution within the state. Devolving of power and resources will ensure there is equity in income distribution. The virtues promoted by the movement are to have resources and factors of production controlled by mankind for their own benefits. This will see people living together in harmony as there is no divide created by disparity in wealth and income distribution. Devolving of power means that people have control and influence in the ruling of the country and can easily air their views to the authority. The movement is thus seen to promote aspects of socialism.
The movement also advances the fight against economic injustices, which includes corruption propagated by the financial system. The issues addressed under this also include the way the United States’ government handles the global financial crisis. The movement blames the large corporations for causing financial crisis within the country. They have been blamed of paying exorbitant wages to their executives as a result of accepting bailouts. Students hold a lot of money to the government and corporations in terms of loans. The movement is fronting the idea that the government should settle the financial obligations of these students. The movement supports that the government should help the student to settle their student loan debt. The effect of the government assistance may result to overdependence by the students on the government. The actions of the large enterprises to pay high prices for the minority in the United States have caused displeasure among the ambassadors of Occupy Wall Street Movement. The poor performance of the economy is attributed to these actions by concentrating the wealth among the few. This leaves the majority of the citizens in a poor state. The performance of the economy is also jeopardized.
The movement serves among its values moral and economic aspects of the country and its subjects. The movement is concerned by actions of the large corporations due to the adverse effect in the economy. This results to the economic injustices. The wealth disparity increases the gap between the rich and the poor. This serves to increase the poverty amongst the citizens with the poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer. The movement proposes an economy where there are devolved resources and people have equal participation in the economy. The values promoted by the movement will be compared against various theories.
The utilitarian theory promotes a belief that judgment in regard to the rightness of an action can be made by taking into consideration the presumed consequences. The ethical theory of utilitarianism emerged in the United Kingdom. The theory is founded on the fact that human beings are rational beings and thus have a judgment regarding the wrong and the right actions. This is judged from the consequences of certain behaviors. Human experience forms the base of the rightness and goodness in view of utilitarian theory. The action that produces contentment, pleasure and happiness qualifies to be described as good. That which maximizes these aspects is regarded as right, and it occurs through the principle of utility. The theory does not place its value on the individual interests but on the interests of others. The theory thus serves to separate and eliminate pain with pleasures.
Occupy Wall Street movement has values that directly concur with those promoted by Utilitarian theory. The movement serves to address disparity in the income distribution between the wealthy and the poor. According to the movement, the rich form 1% of the population. The interest of the movement is, therefore, centered on the majority. The movement also aims to reduce the pain suffered by the poor by advocating a system that balances the rich and the poor. The movement is also advocating that the government should assist the college and university students to settle their loan debts.
The theory is based on the ethical virtues of human beings in the quest of eliminating pain and suffering. Kant distinguishes between the choice of action and the requirement of an action. According to Kant, doing what one wants to do results to an immediate satisfaction but may be of no value in the long run. Kant advocates doing what one is supposed to do. This may fail to bring an immediate gratification since happiness is not the objective of morality, but happiness eventually emerges in the long run. Doing the right thing is the purpose of morality. Individuals under this theory determine their own behavior, as opposed to someone else dictating what you should do.
Kant theory does not base its foundation on the consequences, unlike the utilitarian theory. The theory advocates for doing the right things regardless of the outcomes. Even if actions will bring dissatisfaction, it is prudent that the action should be undertaken. Reasoning is the main basis of determining whether an action is right or wrong. Occupy Wall Street movement is seen to majorly focus on the consequences, and their main aim is to attain satisfaction. The values promoted by the movement are guided by aspect of achieving pleasure. The movement may be advocating for the right things like ensuring equity in the income distribution and eradication of poverty among the majority. However, the approach taken by the movement is different from what Kantian theory stands for.
Unlike other theories that focus on the action, virtue ethics focuses on good morals and characters. The theory is, therefore, not concerned with the consequences and actions but the character of an individual. Development of the proper character traits eventually enables a person to make right decisions. The theory emphasizes on the need of individuals to put aside bad habits like greed and anger. Virtue ethics theory focuses on the character of a person to bring the desired outcome. People should strive to ensure that virtues of good morals are enhanced. This will help to achieve the desirable results in the future.
The actions of the Occupy Wall Street movement discourage greed and corruption within the society. This is seen in the manner by which the movement condemns the payment of exorbitant wages on a few executives of large corporations. However, the movement does not address the issue in regard to the character of the individuals. The approach is different from what virtue ethics advocates for (Jones, 2011).
In conclusion, the theory that best applies to the movement is the utilitarian theory. This is because the movement focuses on the outcomes of the actions. They want to ensure a society free of corruption and it is the one where citizens are held in equal proportions regardless of their status. The slogan of the movement indicates that 99% of a society is poor, and their efforts serve to eliminate this disparity. The movement aims to create a society full of pleasure, a policy advocated by utilitarian theory.
Economic disparity in U.S
The United States is experiencing a widening gap between the poor and the rich in the society in terms of income distribution. Very few citizens of the United States fall within the bracket of the wealthy. They constitute the minority of 1% according to the Occupy Wall Street movement. This trend has persisted for a long time thus causing uproar by the movement for its continued existence. The disparity in income distribution has been caused by wealthy people. They exhibit greed and corruption in their dealing. The powerful people in the society have also contributed to the increased disparity in income distribution. The Occupy Wall Street movement condemns the payment of exorbitant bonuses to the executive of large corporations. This is one of the factors that promote and widen the gap in the income distribution. Emmanuel Saez carried out an analysis on the tax data of Internal Revenue Service in year 2010. The analysis showed that the wealthy 1% had income gains of 52% from 1993 to 2008. This is the clear indication that disparity in the United States has persisted for a long time (Gjalt & Job, 2008).
Outcomes of the Movement
Certain equitable outcomes are expected from actions of the movement. The supporters of this movement highly advocate for eradication of the vices that exist in the society. The vices that include corruption and greed contribute to the income disparity between the citizens. The protests by the group have become enormous, and attention has been given to their claims. The president of the state has been engaged to solve the claims by the majority in addressing the issue of poverty and corruption. The actions by the movement can bear benefits and can produce fruits in ensuring equity in the income distribution. This will serve to address the vices in the capitalist society where riches and power are on the hands of the few. Eradicating greed and corruption will result to a just society that does not discriminate against any of its citizen (Van, 2011).
The future of the Occupy Street Wall movement is unclear, and it may fade away with time. This assertion is made by the fact that the movement lacks specific issues that it addresses. The protesters have been chased away from the Zuccotti Park. This has negatively affected the physical existence of the group. Majority of the citizens understands the values promoted by the group and they totally agree with the general aim of the group. However, the existence of Kent society is a blow to the movement. Majority of the citizens indulges criticality and undertakes to act with the objective of achieving the results. The illusion of achieving good things immediately is not held by the majority. People will offer a solution and act to achieve results rather than focus on the consequences.
The values promoted by Occupy Street Wall movement ensure a just and an equitable society. Every citizen in the society should act to ensure the vices in the society are eliminated. The approach used should be analyzed and identified whether it can deliver results. Without the support of the government, the values advocated by the movement cannot be achieved.