While I am sympathetic for the protestors rallying behind the ‘occupy’ banner in the UK and elsewhere and agree that both the economy is in a real mess and that much needs to change, where I fundamentally disagree is with their insistence that people should abdicate yet more of their personal freedom and responsibility to the state. Grotesquely enlarged governments and the corporate institutions they sponsor (yes, that includes the banks) are what caused the West’s current predicament and a thorough rationalisation and reduction in size of these organisations is what is going to generate economic growth again.
The bunch of people you currently see hanging around St Pauls in London is not a good advert for whatever the ‘occupy’ movement is. They are mostly homeless people, drug addicts, unemployed and activist types on some sort of ego trip with nothing better to do. All of whom seem to be demanding that the government (i.e. other people) do more for them, rather than protesting for conditions that would allow them more self-determination and ability to build their own businesses and wealth and consequently to look after both themselves and those close to them.
What the US, UK and Europe all need to do is to smash up their respective states and the state backed corporates which have all grown far too large, inefficient and resistant to responsibility, competition and innovation. Public spending on failed and worthless projects needs to end, legitimate public enterprises need to be privatised, unconditional welfare spending should dry up, insolvent organisations need to go bust and their assets re-distributed to responsible and viable owners and tax rates (especially for small businesses) need to reduce in order to let capital remain with wealth creators and not be appropriated by the state and redistributed to those who will waste it.
In short, the West needs to return to more genuine free market and responsible democratic systems, especially given the ever increasing rise in competition from the developing world that our populations face.