The Protester’s Voice: Social Democracy
by Joe Wade
One face in the crowd at the protest in Wall Street is Michael Rodriguez, Vice President of Light Source, which is a corporation that raises money for small business start-ups. In return, the successful small business pay money back to Light Source, so more companies can be started. He, like many protesters here, has to go to work tomorrow.
Rodriguez says he thinks capitalism does not need to be done away with, but changed. He said, “We need to regulate the monetary system and regulate capitalism…the system just needs to be perfected.”
Part of what Rodriguez believes will fix the system is social democracy—a concept where people vote on issues to come to a common conclusion instead of electing officials to do so.
One of the examples of Wall Street corruption Rodriguez discusses is an alleged scheme by American Insurance Group and Bank of America (BOA). He said that the two corporations set up what is essentially a dummy corporation called the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation located at 55 Water Street in Manhattan.
According to Rodriguez, people who bought shares there were buying illusionary ones, and that AIG and BOA are being brought up on charges, but he could not say by who.
Another scheme on Wall Street that he mentioned was derivatives which is like taking a bet out on the potential of a stock. He also said that that some brokers take out derivatives of derivatives, thus making the gamble more risky.
One of the key factors Rodriguez complained about was the deregulation of the Glass Steagal act, which was implemented after the depression to stop banks from investing in themselves. The act was repealed in the early ‘90’s.