economics | November 23, 2011

Joseph Heath: Why Some Occupy Movements Miss the Mark

In a recent Uptown interview, Joseph Heath—the Rebel Sell co-author and fearless economics speaker—muses on everything from consumerism to the various Occupy movements, proving why he can lucidly explain economics to pretty much anyone. Talking about the Occupy movement, Heath argues that the Canadian versions are not as powerful as their American counterparts because they are protesting the wrong things. Here’s Heath:

What’s going on in the United States is incredibly important and useful — and it’s late in coming. It’s too bad they’re doing it now as opposed to January, 2009, because January, 2009, was when the Dodd-Frank Bill on financial regulation got introduced in Congress...The American protests are incredibly useful — and overdue — but the Canadian protests don’t have any particular motivation. There’s no particular changes that need to be made to the regulation of financial institutions in Canada, as witnessed by the fact that we didn’t have a financial crisis. The situation with income inequality in Canada is not great, but it’s a completely different story from in the United States.

Heath suggests that Canada’s Occupy movement should address  pressing Canadian concerns, like the "Conservative crime bill" and the "environmental catastrophe unfolding in Alberta." While the Occupy movement champions some universal issues—income inequality and the influence of big business on government—its core message tends toward distinctly American problems. Whether in his bestselling books, including Filthy Lucre: Economics for People Who Hate Capitalism or at the podium, Heath's message has always been a simple one: that understanding economic realities empowers us to think clearly about our world, and to make better decisions.

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