Tiny Revolutions

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.

Tiny Revolutions
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3 thoughts on “Tiny Revolutions

  1. 1

    When I was at college, I used to do this all the time. My estimate is that I saved at least $25 during the two years I did this. Where did the savings come from? In order for the city to pick up our trash, we had to use special trash bags. The amount of extra trash the junk mail generated would have filled about $25 worth of these special trash bags. (It also seemed to have another beneficial aspect, in that some of the junk mailers stopped sending after a while.)

    Those AOL CD’s work well as a replacement for the “wood shim” option. Though we don’t get them anymore…

  2. 2

    This doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
    At best, the banks will do what he says.
    At worst, they’ll stop using those business reply envelopes, which could mean some people who normally would get a card, wouldn’t.

  3. 3

    I can’t say I’ve done much business with banks lately (“lately” = in the last 20 years) since I’ve been a member of my credit union since I was a kid.

    However …

    I recently found out that USAA isn’t exclusively for ex-servicepeeps and their families (which is how I got in.) Their awesome insurance programs are strictly for members, but their banking and several other financial services are available to anyone.

    No connection other than being a very happy member for about thirty years. So if you can’t find a local credit union that you like and can join …

    YMMV. All that.

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