Occupy Wall Street Is a Failed Revolution
News about the Occupy Wall Street protests and their clones are still in the media and we will continue to hear them, but I think not for too long.
The Occupy Wall Street movement likens itself to the Arab Spring, calls that it represents 99% of all population of the United States. But like it or not, this is a big stretch. I believe that the movement will fail to deliver anything for a few reasons that distinguish it from the Arab Spring.
- Demographics. For some reason, the media does not talk about this much, but I believe this is the primary reason. If you look at the median age of the population where protests took place, you will see that it mainly varies from 18 to 32 years. That is a half of the population is younger than 18-32 years old. As people get older they are getting wiser and tend to play safe.
- Wealth. Obviously, youth does not have much to loose. Especially in poor countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In the United States the median age is above 36 years. Now, take into account the number of baby-boomers in spite of all recessions and financial crises accumulated enough money to be concerned about any calamity that could evaporate all their retirement savings. If you subtract baby-boomers (and children, of course), it is roughly 50% (around 140 million people of age 18 – 50 out of a bit over 300 million people of the entire population). So 99% is an overstatement.
- Goals. Protesters in the Arab Spring countries had a clear goal. The Occupy Wall Street movement does not have a clear goal. Anger is justified, but misdirected. Any meaningful discussions about goals would break up the movement.
- Climate. The winter is around the corner. Obviously, it is colder than to the South and East of the Mediterranean Sea and it will not get warmer for a few more months.
In essence, this is mostly about getting enough support to gain a critical mass.
The situation can change rapidly if retirement savings do evaporate due to a political or economic gridlock.