What financial execs think of Occupy Wall Street protestors


Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup, says the trust between Wall Street and Main Street has been severed. He has offered to meet with the protestors.

That's certainly the politically correct thing to say right now, though there is no reason to doubt his sincerity. Do other execs share his conciliatory views?

The New York Times notes that some view the protesters "with disdain, and a degree of caution, as hundreds marched through the financial district on Friday. Others say they feel their pain, but are befuddled about what they are supposed to do to ease it. A few even feel personally attacked, and say the Occupy Wall Street protesters who have been in Zuccotti Park for weeks are just bitter about their own economic fate and looking for an easy target. If anything, they say, people should show some gratitude." One executive called them "just disgruntled people."

There's a lot of naiveté on both sides of this debate. The protestors for the most part are picketing Wall Street because Wall Street is a grand symbol of an economic system that ostensibly has stopped working for many. Heck, many of them wouldn't know a stock from a bond. And that doesn't delegitimize them. The protests are an expression of great anger about much more than the financial services industry.

So on Wall Street, people really ought to understand that this is not about them personally. No one begrudges them a good paycheck. It's only when those paychecks seems like the product of chicanery and an unfair system that the masses go ballistic. The public anger right now is palpable. That said, we can only hope that cooler heads prevail on the part of protestors and police. Violence at this point would be counterproductive for all.

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