Monday, March 12, 2012

Occupy Movement

2011 may be remembered for many things, one of the turning events of last year was the use of social media to organize large-scale protests to overturn governments.  This was done with calculation, careful planning and I believe (but don't know the full situation), out of necessity in countries such as Egypt and Libya.

Back here in North America, a continent (later, global) protest was organized and dubbed the "Occupy Movement".  I don't claim to be an expert, I haven't followed too much of the situation and frankly, I'm just annoyed by it all.  I'm sure that amongst the millions of people protesting, there were good-natured, well-intentioned and properly-motivated individuals.  However, most (it seemed) were like this:

Yes, this guy is cynical - however I think he has a good point.

I recently read a great article in BIZ Hamilton + Halton magazine that was about the Occupy Movement.  I loved the author's comments, he looked at the CEOs that were being ripped apart by media and explained how they were in fact contributing to society by providing jobs and that those employees get benefits, profit-sharing and stock ownership options - many CEOs are in fact sharing the wealth.  Then, this is one of my favourite parts of the article, he writes about athletes who are earning way more, and yet contributing little more than entertainment.

From the article:  "Real Madrid soccer club, meanwhile, is paying Cristiano Ronaldo $170 million over 10 years, or roughly $400,000 a game.  Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals will make $116,322.70 per-regular-season game through the year 2021.  Ferrari paid F1 driver Michael Schumacher $1,907,692.30 per race last season.  And the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez is in the midst of a guaranteed 10-year salary of $275 million US, raking in $27,500,000 every year."

Those numbers stagger my mind, I just can't fathom that amount of money.  And we're getting upset at CEOs who work hard?  Don't misunderstand, there are absolutely those in power who abuse their position and trample the little men.  I'm no more business-oriented than the Occupy protester, but I'm also not going to pretend I'm someone I'm not.

I would encourage those of you that truly want to make a difference to consider your buying habits, your consumerism and your attitude towards those outside of your bubble.  Do you volunteer your time?  Have you bothered to get to know your neighbours, the parents of the kids in your child's classroom?  Do you buy what is necessary to live, or do you consume extravagant amounts of food, media, technology, clothing and the like?  Do you look past the surface of a situation to find out the root cause, or do you allow yourself to be fired up because social media tells you you should?

I would love to go into some Occupy camps and hand out police checks to those camped there and offer them a list of places to volunteer; or ask them to name five people on their street; or inquire as to whether they talk about matters deeper than the weather with those they love?

And then I would go home and ask myself the same questions.

No comments:

Post a Comment