But what if it “succeeds?”
What would our investing landscape look like and what would we do about it?
I think that’s an interesting question, especially since OWS has gained some traction — even taking on a global appeal. More importantly, however, there are two major reasons why the movement could succeed:
- Our political system is broken and has deteriorated into little more than a fancy debating society.
- The world’s central bankers remain out of control — their bailouts are saving the irresponsible at the expense of the hardworking. Our regulators and Wall Street remain locked in an unholy alliance that has done very little to fix the underlying problems that have resulted from decades of bad fiscal policies, unsound monetary practices and dysfunctional leadership.
You may remember the 1960s and the many protest movements that were very clearly focused on civil rights and the Vietnam War. You may even have been part of a few.
A lot of people thought they would go away too, but Tom Hayden and his collection of Students for a Democratic Society didn’t. Nor did Abbie Hoffman, Bobby Seale and others. Their passion and that of thousands who joined in eventually succeeded in changing the course of social consciousness.
OWS could too.
By shunning the hierarchy that is organized politics and corporate America, protestors have the sort of strength necessary to address the growing disparity and the vanishing opportunities that have become the new economic reality for millions of Americans.
I, for one, am hopeful that OWS will find the leadership needed to clearly delineate its goals and mandate change on the strength of the raw, unvarnished potential that is now driving it.
I am also hopeful that OWS will succeed in raising the social consciousness to the point that living within our means becomes both an economic and political reality.
But that’s just me. You may have entirely different feelings. That we might not agree is irrelevant.
Since OWS began, I’ve been watching carefully and doing a lot of deep thinking about what things might look like if OWS “wins” — in whatever way you would like the term to be defined.
So here’s a look at some of the potential changes that could take place if the movement succeeds.
Fiscal responsibility and fairness will rule
As liberal as the movement is as a whole, many of the individual protestors — I’ve talked them at the OWS camp here in Portland — remain fiscally conservative. They’re not looking to get rich, they are looking for financial fairness. They’re also seeking responsibility and accountability in key areas that matter to all of us — like bank accounts, medical payments and simple survival.
This means OWS-friendly companies like Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Facebook Inc. and other millennial-friendly companies will rise to the top of the investing pyramid. Meanwhile, industries associated with the establishment — like energy or finance — will face an uncertain regulatory environment. They also will have to deal with increasingly hostile public backlash. It will be a new world in which many former stalwarts will find themselves on the defensive.