A new book forgives the protestors their lack of ideasby Stephanie Flanders / May 24, 2012 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2012 issue of Prospect Magazine
Zuccotti Park, September 2011. Photo: David Shankbone
They say accepting you have a problem is the biggest step towards solving it. That might be true for alcoholics. I’m not sure it’s true of entire societies. Ask anyone what they think about “Occupy Wall Street,” they are quite likely to tell you they agree with it. They will then tell you they don’t know exactly what it’s trying to achieve.
Welcome to the world of the 99 per cent. When you say you stand for nearly everybody, I guess you can expect nearly everybody to sympathise. What you can’t expect is a lot of agreement on what to do. The Occupy Handbook (Back Bay, £12.99) is not, strictly, a guide to the pop-up protests that appeared in more than 1,000 cities around the world in the autumn of 2011 (some of which have returned, now, with the sun). I would bet that most of the 50-plus contributors—among them distinguished economists and thinkers like Paul Krugman, Martin Wolf and Paul Volcker—have spent little time at St Paul’s or Zuccotti Park. If any.