A sympathetic reader of these books will end up with the slightly exasperated feeling that Occupy wasted its chance as a political movement. It had friends with great influence on policy making – economists Joseph Stiglitz and Andrew Haldane, to mention just two. Occupy could have put its “people power” behind a few clear, concrete, policy proposals such as student or mortgage debt restructuring, higher bank capital ratios or specific tax reforms – more progressive direct tax rates, for example, or the elimination of such outrageous loopholes as the tax discount on carried interest. The success of Tobin tax campaigners in Europe shows that politicians are responsive to anti-finance sentiment. Granted, campaigns such as Strike Debt have grown out of OWS but they no longer have the numbers in the street to make themselves heard. A greater willingness to engage could have secured the movement a more permanent voice – a voice that would carry weight when decisions are made, rather than a voice merely talking to itself. Those of us who think that the system is ours to reform will see this as a missed opportunity to fix the problems that brought people to Zuccotti Park in the first place.
more from Martin Sandbu at the FT here.