If you’re in the U.S. and you haven’t seen this “Keep Wall Street Occupied” video yet, you should. It’s entertaining and informative.
I don’t necessarily think the trick will keep banks as occupied as the narrator suggests, but it’s still worth doing at least once or twice. Why? Because it will make you think about your relationship with banks differently.
We as a country–and typically as individuals–have been far too deferential to banks, and it has shown in how banks have treated us. If we’re ever going to change that, the time is now. The banks’ role in carrying out our national monetary policy is meaningless in this economy. We have a groundswell of discontent a year from the next national elections. We can demand change from those politicians who want to be re-elected and replace many of those who won’t budge with energized, passionate people who will. At this point in the cycle, we are not limited to a choice between evils. We can pay attention to and support those unlikely candidates who don’t stand a chance within party machines.
We can also weaken the banks ourselves. In a bad economy, consumer fees become a much larger part of a bank’s earnings. We don’t have to give those fees to the banks that misbehave–or even just lobby for the chance to keep us under their thumbs. There are good credit unions out there, in which the depositors are shareholders and the balance of power is very different than it is in a large bank, and credit unions have become much more convenient in this time of electronic banking. You can ask around and find one that will treat you as a customer rather than a commodity.
But you can’t do any of that if you consider yourself a passive recipient of whatever banks give you. Next time you get one of those envelopes, scrawl “Occupy” or “#OWS” across the back, then lick it and stick it to the bank.