News : The Origins of Occupy Wall Street

Dec 5, 2011

Published in Exeter Patch and Portsmouth Patch

by Scott Szycher

The Occupy Wall Street movement means many things to many people.  To some, this movement is about the increasing disparity of wealth in this country.  To others, it’s about the extraordinary privileges and bailouts given to major multinational financial institutions which, in large part, caused the “Great Recession”.

But no one can say our society wasn’t forewarned about the financial crisis which came to a head in October 2008.  Prior to the real estate bubble bursting and the sub-sequent financial crisis, economists and responsible investment houses were raising red flags regarding systemic risk posed by mortgage-backed securities backed by derivatives.  In addition they warned that the consolidation of assets into a handful of U.S. banks was rife with conflicts of interests and the potential for financial collapse.

“99% of us should be upset.  Irresponsible risks taken by 'too-big-to-fail' firms had a huge effect on the entire economy,” said Michael Smith, a member of the Progressive Asset Management (PAM) Group, the socially responsible investment division of Financial West Group with an office in Newfields, New Hampshire.  The PAM Group warned of corporate abuses and excessive risks in the run-up to the financial crisis and has since advocated for meaningful reform which would give shareholders of public companies more influence in the behavior of the companies in which they are invested.

To read the full storyin Exeter Patch, click here! To read the full story in Portsmouth Patch, click here!