via Occupy London
On the first anniversary of the Occupy London Stock Exchange camp just by St Paul’s Cathedral, Occupy London is pleased to announce the publication of its first book, which aims to demystify the financial world and provide possible solutions. Entitled ‘The Little Book of Ideas’, the free pocket sized book – written by the Economics Working Group of Occupy London – is now available for download and is also available in print, with a first run of 1,500 copies. [Editor's note: Though written in the context of the U.K., the concepts also apply in the U.S. and many other countries, as the systems described and words used are almost entirely the same here!]
The book was launched one year to the day when thousands of people came together to highlight social and economic injustice in the UK and beyond, as part of a global movement for real democracy. Yesterday’s announcement also follows Sunday’s successful action inside St Paul’s Cathedral, which saw four female protesters chain themselves to the pulpit to put pressure on the leadership of the Cathedral ‘to stop sitting on the fence and join the fight against rising inequality in the UK and beyond’.
Demystifying the jargon – the things they don’t want us to understand!
The language politicians use to discuss the financial crisis is often deliberately complex and misleading, making it impossible for people to understand what is going on. This in turn makes people feel that their view is not valid, or that they don’t have the language to complain about the injustices that they experience. The Little Book of Ideas aims to break down these barriers to participation by clarifying and explaining the jargon in natural language so that people can better understand what is happening and how the ‘economic crisis’ and responses to it are affecting their lives.
“A conversation started at the St Paul’s camp last year bringing Londoners from a multitude of backgrounds together, to talk about our economic system and better ways of doing things,” commented Tom Moriarty, a former City worker and Occupy London supporter. “Over time, it became clear that much economic policy is unfamiliar, and even more so is the language and jargon used – which in turn makes it difficult for people, even those working in the financial sectors, to understand how the financial system came crashing down and how it has negatively affected our lives.”
“This book is the next evolution of that conversation, aiming to bring that discussion out of the Occupy camps into homes around the UK and beyond. Maybe George Osborne should have a read – it seems like he could do with a better understanding of what is really going on.”
The book focuses on terms associated with the economic sector, terms which commonly used yet little-understood by most. Explanations include the meaning, activities and implications of quantitative easing, commodities speculation, derivatives, regressive taxation, tax avoidance, Libor and the financial transaction tax.
“Ordinary people are aware that something is badly wrong with our economic system, but they often feel that economics is too complex and confusing for them to get to grips with exactly what the problems are,” said Occupy London supporter Peter Dombi.
“The reality is that many of the problems are very simple, as are the solutions, but it suits those in charge to maintain this aura of complexity in order to keep people uninvolved and so maintain the status quo for their own benefit. This book intends to demystify some of the terms, the policies currently in existence, and the possible ideas and alternatives, so that people can understand what is going on. Then we together can apply pressure for change, to bring about a more equitable and fairer society.”