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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wall Street’s 1 Percent Meets 2 Billion Seeking Answers

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) — It’s all about location, location, location, as they say in real estate. Protests, too.

There were more obvious places for Tokyo’s Occupy Wall Street protest to converge on Saturday than the nightlife district of Roppongi. It could have begun in Nihonbashi, home to the Tokyo Stock Exchange; Nagatacho, Japan’s Capitol Hill; or Ueno, where droves of Tokyo’s homeless congregate.

Instead, activists chose the city’s hedonistic melting pot of hipsters, strippers, gangsters, expatriates and bankers. Not just any bankers — Goldman Sachs ones who work in the swanky Roppongi Hills complex. Amid the hundreds of activists, I saw signs saying “No Greed,” “Taxiderm the Rich” and my favorite, held by a 20-something woman: “Stop Vampire Squids.”

It was a reference to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which was labeled a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity” in a 2009 article in Rolling Stone magazine. For better or worse, Asians see Goldman Sachs both as the gold standard of investment banks and a byword for how incestuous ties between banks and government concentrate wealth in the hands of a few.

When this sentiment reaches egalitarian Japan, you know it has legs. Like-minded protests are popping up in Australia, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan (one planned in Singapore was pre-empted by police).

Those who dismiss this groundswell of anger thousands of miles from New York do so at their own peril. And those seeking clarity on Occupy Wall Street’s focus and goals can find it in Asia: The widening gap between rich and poor is threatening the very tenets of capitalism and democracy.

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Copyright 2011 The National Memo
  • jarhead gene

    All you hear out of the GOP and all their cheerleaders…Rush Limbaugh, Bill O.,Hannity and others is….”LET THEM EAT CAKE !”

  • araxoscemetery

    The growing disparity which started widding over thirty years ago did not cause any protests as the majority of people in the U.S. were moving forward although not at the pace of the upper one percent. It is when the majority start loosing ground as they have been in the last 10 years(due to the housing crash, war in Afganistan & Iraq, bailouts of Wall street and car companies raising defiect ect)and that more and more people are affected that we get these protests. Greed that lets a few indivudals close a factory and ship the jobs to China or any other country so they can increase their bottom line will only increase the problem. Until we have an equitable way for workers to produce goods and plant owners haveing the ability to compete with other countries and states we will continue to have bussiness shuting down, displacing workers and moving to othert countries or state to state in search or lower wages to pay and les restrictions on how they run their company. It is not the 99 percent that will cause the problems it is when the 80 percent that make up what was in the 1950 the middle class.

  • tjmnewknee

    Wealthy persons have had their way since Biblical times. The worm has turned. Let’s not ruin this opportunity for absolute equality.