We have been in a financial crisis for nearly three years. The gap between rich and poor is clearly increasing, and people have now started to demand their rights from their governments. Europe, especially Greece and Spain, and The United States have been going through a bad financial crisis in which Spain has 20% of its population unemployed, Greece is close to default, and The United States has been degraded from AAA(highest score) to AA+ in credit rating. In this kind of world in which many people are unemployed or not earning enough money to make their living, people started to make huge protests in their countries, occupying famous parts of their countries and asking for “justice”. But what was the reason that led to this financial crisis and left many people unemployed?
In the 1970s the financiers decided to decrease the wages of their workers which was barely enough for them to make a living, because they thought they were not making enough profit. However, the employees didn’t want to work in these conditions and therefore many of them quit their jobs. In order to find cheap labor, which would bring more profit to them, the financiers went to countries like China, where labor is very cheap. It is so cheap that even producing a product in China, bringing it to USA and selling it in USA is cheaper than producing that product in USA and selling it in USA. Thus, companies started to move their factories to China, leaving lots of people unemployed in USA. On the other hand, since USA’s economy was based on consuming and since people did not have enough money to consume goods, this was dangerous for USA’s economy. As a solution, they offered credit cards to people, which enabled them to spend their future wages and keep on consuming.
When people started to buy credits from banks, they thought they would be able to pay it back in future. But, they were wrong and they were not able to pay their debts back to banks. Thus, they were dependent on these financiers and they were not able to negotiate the terms, since they were indebted. In other words, they were becoming the “peasants” of the capitalist system. When these people were not able to pay their debts back, the loan lenders were also not getting their money back. Therefore, this bubble got bigger and bigger and exploded in 2008, which caused the financial crisis.
The change that was made in wages induced a financial crisis 40 years later and caused people to make demonstrations in the main streets of their countries. Many people are supporting these protests and believe that they will bring justice and repair the problems of the system. “It might be able to do two things: force short-term restructuring of what government will actually do to minimize the pain that people are obviously feeling acutely; and bring about long-term transformation of how large segments of the American population think about the realities of the structural crisis of capitalism and the major geopolitical transformations that are occurring because we are now living in a multipolar world.”1 Also Stephane Hessel also tells people to be indignant and fight for what they want in his book “Indignez-vous”.
In conclusion, these protests will either bring short-term solutions, which will probably not satisfy the people’s demands or bring long-term solutions that will provide permanent relief. There is one thing for certain which these protests will definitely achieve and that is they will coerce the system to correct its mistakes. Therefore, many people are supporting these protests and in fact they are very successful at the moment. We cannot blame only the financiers because we cannot say who is right or wrong. However, there is an obvious problem that needs to be solved out there and thus, these protests will hopefully be helpful in terms of finding solutions to the problems of the system.