© 2021 KOSU
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

What Is Occupy Wall Street?

<p>They've spoken at great length.</p>
Emmanuel Dunand
AFP/Getty Images

They've spoken at great length.

We went downtown this week to talk to the protesters at Occupy Wall Street.

We asked people why they were there. We heard lots of different answers.

We went to the big nightly meeting, which lasts for hours. Everybody has something to say. Along the lines of:

Should we buy some sleeping bags? Why does that guy get to run the meeting? What if we just buy fabric and make our own sleeping bags?

This kind of back and forth, people told us, is the whole point of Occupy Wall Street. It's not a movement; it's a venue. Standing around, talking about what everybody wants — this is a model of how the protesters want society to be.

This being Planet Money, we immediately wondered: Can an entire economy run on group participation? How could that work? It turns out, there's an economist named Robin Hahnel who's been working on this problem for 40 years. And he has a proposal that he thinks would be perfect.

He calls it participatory economics.

Subscribe to the podcast. Music: Bombay Bicycle Club's "Rinse Me Down." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/Spotify

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Hey! Did you enjoy this story? We can’t do it without you. We are member-supported, so your donation is critical to KOSU's news reporting and music programming. Help support the reporters, DJs and staff of the station you love.

Here's how: