Gustavo Ballvé on October 27th, 2011
Food for thought, Home, Mental models, Signal or Noise

We can’t get enough of the subject: how can the world become more transparent and how will governance systems that seem so passé change over time? Wikileaks, and the like seem to be part of the equation, and Occupy Wall Street is trying to become part of it as well. About this last one: it’s so anarchic as to be impossible to name a “father”, “mentor”, or group behind it – although that’s not stopping some people from trying to claim some measure of influence over it. Ultimately, in investments or revolutions, it’s all about the key people, as Julian Assange makes it oh-so-clear in the way he’s handled Wikileaks – it’s vital to understand their real motivations, aspirations, personalities and incentive/moral systems. Not what they say it is, what it really is. And that’s why it’s so hard to define “OWS” (let alone accept their only target, while other groups have probably failed us even more miserably). While we don’t attempt to do it here, we highlight three articles about it that may shed some light in a few spots. It’s not enough to solve the puzzle – which, in this and many other cases, is probably more dynamic than we think it is – but it’s a start. Also, we explain the title of this post in a fourth article.

BusinessWeek profiles anthropologist David Graeber, who they call “the Anti-Leader of Occupy Wall Street“. Despite coming from a business magazine now owned by the Bloomberg family of companies, it’s pretty sympathetic. That said, his ideas on debt and government systems don’t seem feasible at all.

Elizabeth Warren doesn’t seem to mind such “manners” and says she’s created “much of the intellectual foundation for what they [OWS] do“. That she’s seeking the Democrat nomination to run for a Senate seat in Massachusetts should be no surprise.

Finally, the Rolling Stones’ Matt Taibbi explains what the OWS movement “is all about”, but more importantly what is it not about. This is an enjoyable read at first, a rant that, again, appears “right” yet it’s dreadfully wrong – especially when it implies that all of the success in Wall Street is due to cheating.

Bonus (and finally explaining the title Occupy the Classroom): It’s an article by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, begging for such a movement for revolutionizing Education – beginning at the earliest possible stages. In fact, his latest article also tries to explain what OWS really is about, not necessarily because their “creators” thought and think of it this way, but because that’s how it can be useful: as a reminder that capitalism is built on the foundations of accountability. That’s an interesting way to frame it, one we can relate to.

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