Don't 'Occupy Wall Street,' Start a Small Business While some block sidewalks on Wall Street and elsewhere, other unemployed citizens are going in a more productive direction: They're starting businesses.
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It's America's faux-revolutionary movement: Occupy Wall Street. I've been looking at interviews with Occupy participants lately, and it struck me that most of those involved are unemployed -- which makes sense, as they've got the time to come out for protests. Complaints run the gamut from bad mortgage-lending policies to high CEO salaries to risky hedge-fund bets.
Meanwhile, some of the unemployed are going in a more productive direction -- one that might actually help America get back on its feet.
They're starting businesses.
Unlike the "Arab Spring" protests in Egypt and elsewhere by which our home-grown protest movement was inspired, Occupy Wall Street doesn't seek to overthrow the government or oust our president. The leaderless movement has yet to stake out a single clearly defined goal. There's a vague interest in "regaining control" of our economic and political system, but no game plan for how.
So far, Occupy Wall Street has mostly managed to negatively impact the economy by blocking sidewalks and scaring off customers for local small businesses. This isn't really helpful.
• Facebook Poll: As a business owner, do you support Occupy Wall Street?
Protesters could make better use of their time by joining the nearly 9 percent of the laid-off who've taken matters into their own hands and started their own business. More small businesses distributes a smaller share of power into more hands, instead of letting it concentrate in the hands of fewer large businesses.
If you really want to do something radical, help start a new community bank. The number of banks has shrunk over the past few years.
Create more funding institutions to help decentralize financial power. If you don't have the expertise, see who you could bring together in your community to create a new lender.
Here's one step everyone can take: If you really hate the current socio-political structure, patronize more small businesses.
I'd love to take a poll and find out how many Occupy Wall Street protesters bank at Bank of America or shop at Wal-Mart. If all the protesters walked their talk, the small-business sector would be invigorated, small-business hiring could finally start growing again, and the protestors would help achieve their goal of fighting the powers that be.
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