Occupy Wall Street has stirred up a rash of feelings toward Wall Street in recent weeks that's spread across the globe. And now, what so many have feared has come true. The movement has turned violent, at least in Oakland, CA.
At least four people were hospitalized in Oakland Wednesday after police in riot gear used tear gas against protesters who had broken into a vacant building and vandalized the downtown area. Dozens of people were arrested and the Port of Oakland— the nation's 5th largest port — was shut down for several hours.
But Oakland is an exception. Most other OWS demonstrations have not ended in such destruction and violence. To date, the biggest criticism of the leaderless movement remains the fact that there is no one spokesperson who can succinctly define its mission.
But for those who say the Wall Street protesters need to offer specific demands, James Hoopes, professor of ethics at Babson College disagrees: "They're wrong. Occupy Wall Street already has a specific demand. It is aimed not at investment banks or government, but at us ordinary citizens. The protestors are demanding that we stop trusting corporate power," he writes.
That's essentially the premise of Hoopes' new book, Corporate Dreams. He joined The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task to explain why Americans need to be just as cautious and skeptical of Corporate America as they have become of Wall Street and government.
"We tend to forget that there are these very powerful institutions, corporations, that are part of this picture and they are charted by the state and so in a sense they are public institutions," he says. "The problem that we have with corporations is that we tend to leave them out of the picture…. When we think about how the country is really run we think about the private sector and government and the question is how big should government be and how much should it regulate the private sector."
Hoopes admits this idea complicates the definition of what it means to be a public or private institution, but that is his goal. The professor wants people to think twice about the big impact corporate America has on ordinary citizens — especially since they are not democratic entities — and also realize that big business is not unbound from social responsibility.
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