From Occupation to Reclamation

Over the past year, frustrations with inequality and a broken economy have risen to the forefront of the public dialogue (thanks to Occupy Wall Street) and become a prominent concern among Americans. Now is the time to channel this frustration constructively by building support for economic policies that benefit us all. We must connect the dots between the economy we want and the public systems, structures and investments we need.

We need a story that invites proactive government action, that helps people see their role as citizens, the reasons for collective action, and the systems and structures that make a difference and can help achieve our common goals.


On December 16th, 2011 Public Works hosted a webinar on how to tell this new story. This webinar explored how Americans think and reason about the economy, inequality, and government's role in the economy. The resources from this webinar are available on this page, including:


Summary of Recommendations

    1. Take advantage of current public attention on the economy and inequality to highlight how government can and should have an active role in creating more broadly shared economic benefits;
    2. Use these openings to show how our public systems and structures are the foundation of any good economy;
    3. Focus on “purpose” and “intentionality” – what is the purpose of a good economy and how can we intentionally create one that works for all;
    4. Connect the dots between the economy we want and the public systems, structures and investments we need;
    5. Demonstrate how civic engagement and policy change can address economic inequality.

      Recording of 12/16 Webinar and PowerPoint

      This video presentation is a recording of our webinar held on 12/16/2011. It includes:

      • How to take advantage of the current attention to economic conditions and heightened concern over inequality to communicate about the role of government in creating a more equitable economy;
      • How to connect the dots between the economy we want and the public systems, structures and investments we need;
      • How to demonstrate that civic engagement and policy change can address economic inequality. 



      Presenters:


      Patrick Bresette, Public Works: The Demos Center for the Public Sector

      Jonathan Matthew Smucker, Beyond the Choir

      Elaine Mejia, Public Works: The Demos Center for the Public Sector

      For further resources, there is a PowerPoint version of this webinar. Additional powerpoint and narrated presentations can be found in our presentations section.

      Additional Resources

      • Research Reports:
      • Websites:
      • Communication Examples:
        • Nick Hanauer (Venture Capitalist) on the Middle Class As Job Creators:
          • “We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Middle-class consumers do, and when they thrive, U.S. businesses grow and profit. That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit us all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.”
        • President Obama on the Middle Class:
          • "This kind of inequality – a level we haven’t seen since the Great Depression – hurts us all. When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, it drags down the entire economy, from top to bottom. America was built on the idea of broad-based prosperity – that’s why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so that they could buy the cars they made. It’s also why a recent study showed that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run."
        • Elizabeth Warren: Public Structures as Economic Foundation




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