It is so simple even a fifth-grade student should understand. Taking something that isn't yours, or that you didn't work for, is wrong. Economics is no different, it is just that "economists" have spent decades attempting to make it a mystery so only they can explain it. Since none of them have gotten it "right" in the past few years maybe listening to a non-economist would be a fine idea.
Thousands are in the streets protesting in the financial districts all across North America. A small group began on Wall Street complaining about what they see is at the root of the problem. They can see it but they just don't understand it and can't put their finger on a solution. They are simply yelling at the "Wall" that is not going to move.
Back in the early 1970's I had an exchange of ideas with my older brother. The two of us used to debate politics and social issues in great depth. I have three other brothers and with one I exchanged heavily in the political thought. We came by it honestly. Our parents provided the perfect breeding ground.
Our dad was a very prominent lawyer such that he ran for the Progressive Conservative Party in Saskatchewan and due to that we enjoyed supper with the former Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker twice at my parent's home in Saskatoon. We entertained virtually every Saskatchewan political figure in our home in the 1960's including the convicted murderer, Colin Thatcher (the Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative Cabinet Minister and Premiers son), and the Judge who jailed him. I remember one party of over 90 of the Provinces most influential men entertaining (drinking) at our seven level home on Saskatchewan Crescent. My four brothers and I were all dressed in black and white with bowties serving them. Dad was of Scottish decent whose ancestors arrived in Ontario in 1800. His father (my grandpa Tom) was a World War One navy man who took up farming in the Peace River area in Alberta after he got out. He took a wife from Nova Scotia and went to break raw soil in the 1920's near Berwyn Hill. A true pioneer who lived off what they grew. Pure hard work.
My mom was a pure blood German who suffered through the Second World War. She arrived in Canada with her parents and younger brother on one of the first refuge boats from Germany after the war ended. She and her brother had been captured by the Russians as they were attempting to escape their advance on Danzig. She was an attractive 17-year-old. Her uncle though, who spent the last years of the war as a German Prisoner in a Russian Concentration Camp, became a frequent speaker at our dinner tables. He was an admired orator and spoke with intense passion about social justice and Christianity.
This was the rather intense background in which my brain would be molded.
I was born in 1958 and my entire life was thrown into the political and economic world. I remember running as a toddler delivering my dad's election flyers into residential mailboxes along Saskatoon city streets. I remember watching my dad's eyes go red and my mom crying when President Kennedy got shot. I participated in every election as a "Pro" Progressive Conservative, right through to shaking hands with Stanfield to holding a Rally for Joe Clark in Vancouver. There was virtually nothing political, from the "Hippies" and Vietnam to the Reganomics with Thatcher and Mulroney, which my family didn't discuss with ferocity. We argued it, debated it, agreed and disagreed. Our dinner table was always interesting.
The most significant determining factor that changed our world was Unions. We were brought up to understand how bad they were. They were the "communists" -- the worst of the worst.
In the mid-70s, one of my brothers got a job operating equipment. He lied to get the job. The guy asked him if he could run a backhoe and he said yes. I can't remember if he had ever even sat in one before that. My brother could be a bit of an arrogant ass at times and, as he got better at the controls, he figured he had it mastered. After he told someone off, "You think you can do better?" the guy jumped in and made the backhoe dance between the front bucket and the backhoe, leaving him standing in awe. It was some time during this job that he was forced to get a Union Card. It was required at a job site his boss' company was to work at and it required them joining the Operating Engineers. My brother was spitting mad. He swore up and down, called it as he was taught -- communistic. This was right in the mid-70s, and I was just completing high school. Suddenly things changed. Our debates shifted and we came to have a better understanding of the western world, politics, economics and unions.
When work ran out, the Union sent him to upgrading courses, fully paid for by the local, to improve his skills. Every year as work went up and down he became trained on more equipment, operating the largest excavators on the largest pipeline projects in BC. He traveled, got paid well and was provided the highest level of education, all courtesy of the Union. Today, more than 35 years later, he continues to pay his membership dues out of respect. It is not that he needs the Union anymore. He is working as an electronics engineer making a salary well into the six-digit range. He has earned everything he has. His career, his wages, his homes, his acreage, his toys, his education, his morals -- everything.
If you asked him about the right wing today, the Progressive Conservatives, Wall Street, Realtors and Anti-Union activists; well you would get a serious education and it wouldn't take long.
He recently related a story to me about the young men he guides and instructs questioning him about his Union affiliation, which he proudly displays. He explains it was the Union that taught him everything he knows. The Union provided the foundation for his success.
He worked hard for everything and despises those who take without producing. His harshest venom is for realtors and bankers, those who take without producing anything and this goes for Wall Street, Insurance Agents, Police who cheat and lie and Politicians too. Those who leave nothing of value, did nothing to advance anything but take money and the fruits of work/labor without contributing, are the lowest of the low.
And this is the reason for the collapse of the economic system of the world, which those who take and produce nothing seem at a loss to explain. Bankers, Realtors, Brokers and more have been skimming off the top, producing nothing of value. They like to claim they are facilitating. Nice word but the only thing truly facilitated is the promotion of ignorance and the collapse of the western world. The bankers have convinced almost everyone that money cannot be produced unless "they" produce it and the governments have to get it from them and pay interest on it. The realtors have convinced everyone they cannot sell their own homes without great risk, and the Wall Street Brokers -- the worst of the worst -- have convinced everyone you can make millions simply by investing in their game; that you don't have to do anything. And it gets worse.
There are hundreds, thousands, millions of men and women walking freely down the streets, allowed to run free, that do not have the slightest idea how to check the oil in their cars, what mixed gas means, how to even properly use a shovel. They don't know how to grow food, use a gun or fix the plumbing in their homes. Many couldn't fight their way out of a cardboard box, yet they take the profits, skim the interest and margins off the sweat and hard labor of working men and women; doing and contributing absolutely nothing.