Where once we took pride in turning out engineers, architects, doctors, accountants and lawyers who built bridges, buildings and companies and helped better and even save lives, now we venerate those whose single pursuit is great wealth. It's hard to see what purpose Wall Street quants and click-driven Web virologists serve except to further the notion that all that matters is money.
The upcoming Winnipeg General Strike centenary should serve as a rallying point for further action. It's time that economically disenfranchised youth join with unionized workers and underemployed workers in a general strike action. So long as the plutocrats can dictate the economic fundamentals of our nation, the unfairness will remain.
David McCullough Jr. recently gave a commencement address, in which he told the students the cold, hard reality that "none of you is special." Who is to blame for this? Maybe those very same parents and teachers who are so quick to accuse us of it. The baby boomers, with the best intentions, have made us into what we are today: a generation of spoiled individuals. Why are they surprised?
Clearly, Greg Smith is the very product of the environment he is so quick to criticize. Under the guise of a now viral op-ed piece in the New York Times, Smith -- once a Goldman Sachs executive -- has successfully guaranteed that every employer, every corporation, every Jack, and Jill around the world, including the Hill, will be aware of his accomplishments.
Why does our economic system place a higher value on disposable and often unnecessary goods than on the things like clean air and productive soil? Sure, there's some contradiction in protesters carrying iPhones while railing against the consumer system. But this is not just about making personal sacrifices
The window of opportunity to ensure a corporate responsibility system in Canada is open now. So, as many commentators have pointed out, while the planned demonstrations don't have specific proposals for change, demonstrators can easily join with the coalitions in supporting the push for these key changes.
"Indignados" (the indignants) occupy city squares in Spain on a permanent basis, and now the Wall Street protests have taken root and will only grow in size and intensity. These protests, while poorly organized and rag-tag, will become the migraine of politics, not fatal but nagging and potentially dangerous.
With Occupy Toronto approaching, I wrote a letter to Toronto Police and asked others to sign on. The letter listed many of the abuses of the G20 and asked the police not to repeat their mistakes. It asked them to behave calmly, rationally and professionally. My goal was 2,500 and I'd managed to push past 200 signatures.
Amid the attention given to the entertainment celebrities operating as outsiders, there is a need also to see how a different type of celebrity from the world of business -- Bill Gates -- is acting as an insider in the campaign of change with respect to financial institutions at the hub of global governance.
From sex-abuse scandals within churches to the stupefying fiascoes on Wall Street and in the Gulf of Mexico, a general malaise has replaced our optimism. For academics concerned by the crisis of credibility in our political, economic, and social institutions, it is time to take a good look in the mirror.