Angie BrandtHeidi V. ButtersworthMatt CloydStephanie FailEthan HarrisonKip LyallElisa Mai Julie Orlemanski Joshua Sageress SchefanDan Schneider
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Over the past two months, the Occupy movement has grown rom a ew thousandprotesters in New York’s Zucotti Park (a.k.a.Liberty Plaza) into a worldwide phenomenon.It has reocused the national conversation on avariety o issues including job creation, corporatepersonhood, social benets, and environmentalresponsibility. Yet media coverage o the Occupy movementhas yet to ully investigate the movement.Some publications blatantly lie, smearing theprotestors as disorganized hippies plagued by public health hazards who need to get out andnd a job. Other publications give measured,sympathetic support, but without giving thelevel o journalistic due diligence appropriate ora movement o this magnitude.Tere has either been a ailure to report honestly,or a ailure to report thoroughly.In response, a group rom Occupy Boston has ounded Te Boston Occupieras an independent news source to oster the political and economic discourseinitiated by the Occupy movement. Staed entirely by volunteers, TeOccupier publishes a website, a broadsheet, and a daily update distributedsolely at Dewey Square.In addition to covering the occupations in Boston, the U.S., and aroundthe world, Te Occupier will report on unemployment, campaign nance,corporate personhood, social justice, transparency, accountability, and otherissues raised by the movement. We seek to acilitate respectul debate. Following the cue o other publica-tions, the opinions selected or publication will usually oer a perspectivedierent rom those o the editorial section. All are welcome to thoughtully participate in the conversation.Te Occupier’s closer vantage point does not prevent us rom holdingour reporting to high journalistic standards. I Occupy Boston becomesthe last vestige o participatory democracy, we’ll be the rst to say so. I Occupy Boston becomes a haven or ractious, sel-interested, drug dealingtrust-und babies, we’ll still be the rst to say so.I the encampment at Dewey Square comes to an end, this publication will be one way or the discourse o the Occupy movement to persist.Independent o the group’s physical presence in the heart o the nancialdistrict, Te Boston Occupier will provide a space or respectul, insightuldialogue on the political and economic issues o our day.
Opinion: Playing at the Cliff’s Edge
by Mark Price
Imagine a group o children playing nearthe edge o a tall cli. One isn’t cautiousenough to watch where he’s running, anddarts toward the edge. Te supervisingadult can a) rescue the child, assuring himthat he will always be sae, or b) let thechild all to his death as a warning to theothers. Rescue the child, and none o thechildren will learn caution. Let the childall, and the adult is responsible or a tragicdeath.Fortunately, there is a middle ground:save the child, but instill a ear o the cli.It might seem a strange metaphor, butit applies airly well to a simple view o macroeconomic crisis recovery.wo main schools o thought addresscrisis recovery.Te rst approach, developed by JohnMaynard Keynes, suggests that in timeso economic crisis, the government shouldsave the day. Te logic is: i steps can betaken to avoid a nancial disaster, they should be taken. Te government shouldspend so as to increase GDP, and encourageothers to spend as well (interestingly, thiscan be nancially savvy or governmentssince, when a crisis hits, the biggest loss tothe government is not stimulus spending,but rather lost tax revenue. In the shortterm, at least, it can make sense or acountry to spend its way out o a crisis).Te second approach, developed by F.A. Hayek, encourages natural selection:i banks that took excessive risk wereallowed to ail, soon we would see a morerisk-averse and thus more stable bankingindustry. Te logic is that one bad bust will prevent (or limit) the next one. Tisapproach is elegant in its eciency, but isanalogous to letting the child all o thecli.In the 2008 nancial crisis, the US took a Keynesian approach, bailing out banksand other critical corporations.Not every rm that received governmentloans was responsible or the nancialcollapse. Some simply needed cash toride out thestorm, sinceeven healthy institutions cantake hits duringa panic. Stablerms such asGoldman Sachsactually aided market condence andrecovery by taking loans that they didn’tneed: when people saw the stable institu-tions receiving the same loans as the lessstable ones, they were less inclined topanic than i only a ew companies hadbeen singled out.Tere’s a wealth o evidence to suggestthat these loans worked. It’s always dicultto answer with condence when dealingin counteractuals, but according to many economic indicators, the decisive actionby the Fed and reasury Department keptthe recession rom becoming a depression. Yet according to Hayek, preventing adepression wasn’t entirely a good thing. With the costs o risk-taking nation-alized, banks had no need to learn theconsequences o risk. In Hayek’s view,the bailout places the government in therole o Holden Cauleld, turning childrenaway rom the cli’s edge without inter-rupting their death-deying play. AIG illustrates perectly how the bailoutde-incentivized learning the costs o risk. AIG insured a huge number o mortgagebacked securities at a very cheap rate. Tey thought that these securities were sae, andthat insuring them would be easy money.So they insured asmany as they could.In act, they insured well beyond theirability to actually pay out in the event thathousing prices would cease to climb (andthe ensuing decline in prices made theirposition even worse).Te consequences o the allout rom AIG’s recklessness and incompetencespread to other rms. Yet ew impositions were placed on AIG ater the US inter-vened. For example, reasury Secretary Paulson allowed AIG to give out retentionbonuses soon ater receiving their capitalinjection.It seems backwards: these people shouldn’thave needed money to keep them at their jobs. Instead, other rms should have beenaraid to hire the people being induced toremain, and i management was araidthat many would retire en masse, a bonusisn’t a long-term solution. Paulson wantedas many rms as possible to enter into hisbailout plan so as to stabilize the economy quickly, but AIG wasn’t in a position tonegotiate limits on compensation.In airness, both Paulson and Bernanke were working under incredibly high-paced and stressul conditions. Tey achieved unprecedented action in recordtime, somehow orcing cooperation romCongress and rom two opposing presi-dential candidates as they did so.Unortunately, the long-term resultso their actions cannot be ignored. Tey orced ar too little punishment on those whose incredible lack o due diligencebrought about the recession. Steps towardthe middle ground - saving, but not without consequences - could and shouldhave been taken. Save the child, but instilla ear o the cli.On the lighter end, this could have meantharsher limits on compensation. A heavierapproach could have included acilitating AIG’s orderly dissolution.For a ree market to work, companiesmust be ree to all, or at least to stumble.Te decisive action taken by the Fed andreasury department might have avoidedone depression, but those same actionsmake the next one seem unavoidable.
“With the costs of risk-taking nationalized, bankshad no need to learn theconsequences of risk.”
Crime Increase Attributedto OB Remains Unverifed
by Heidi V. Buttersworth and Matt Cloyd
Claims o an increase in crime caused by the Occupy Boston encampment are unsupported by available data,contrary to assertions reported in a November 2 article inthe Boston Globe.In an article entitled “Occupy Boston Protester Charged With Selling Xanax to Undercover Police Ocers”,the Boston Globe reported that the Boston PoliceDepartment “had seen an increase in illegal drug activity in the downtown area, which they attributed to the arrivalo the Occupy Boston encampment.” Yet available records suggest that the claim that Occupy Boston caused an increase in drug activity was based onone arrest report, geographically dispersed and unverieddata, and no transparent, sound analysis o available data.Upon request, the Boston Globe provided the documentcited as evidence or this attribution -- an individual arrestrecord. Te Boston Globe said that there were “morearrests” to back the claim but was unable to produce thearrest reports.Comparative annual statistics published on November7 by the Boston Police do not include drug arrests, anda ootnote explains that “January 1 - November 6, 2011data are preliminary and thereore have not been veriedby the Boston Police Department”.Maxeld & Babbie’s 2009 textbook Basic ResearchMethods or Criminal Justice and Criminology quotesormer Boston Police Commissioner William Bratton asstating that causation cannot be determined without thepresence o “three necessary conditions”. According to Bratton, “one variable must precedethe other in time.” Bratton continues, “an empirically measured relationship must be demonstrated betweenthe variables” - something that cannot be done withunveried data - “and the relationship must not be betterexplained by any third intervening variable.”In the case o Occupy Boston, the third interveningvariable could be observation bias, such as an increase inpolice presence in the downtown area, or, given the popu-lation o Occupy Boston, a disproportionate numbero undercover ocers. Furthermore, the November 7report containing the unveried data does not distin-guish between “downtown area” arrests that took placein Dewey Square, Downtown Crossing, Chinatown,the North End, or Charlestown. Te “third interveningvariable” could simply be that the arrests occurred some- where else in the “downtown area.”Te next drug arrest was reported on November8th, concerning the sale o blood pressure medication(“Occupy Boston protester arrested on drug dealingcharge”, Boston Globe). Tere have been no drug arrestsreported in the area since that date.
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