Friday, May 23, 2014

A way to make big money on the movement against big money?

The fervor against the 1% (and by proxy, “tax avoiding” corporations) will continue to amass. In the 2016 election, “income equality” will be the new “war on women.”
This fervor has legs because unlike the Occupy movement, which was unfocused and blemished with easily mocked supporters, folks protesting for an increased minimum wage are sympathetic. Their message is also specific, easily understood, which keeps it from becoming a wad of social justice spam that goes straight to the mental junk folder. Companies like McDonald's are currently under fire for their allegedly anti-99% policies, and my guess is they will likely have to throw some (soy-based) red meat to those picketing them. Starbucks has already succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome (I think Starbucks could have brushed off the barbs pretty easily).
Actual members of the 1% aren't going to be hurt by this fervor of course. "Outsider" Obama golfs with oil execs and Wall Street heavyweights without incurring any long term criticism. Generic Republican targets will take some hits for mirroring Obama's lambada with the 1%, but my hunch is the rage at the upper-upper crust will primarily be expressed through campaigns against companies like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart. Piketty’s book will be the new Earth is Flat for a while.
I'm not betting against the stock of any of the aforementioned companies, but one wonders what kind of volatility they might suffer if their profits and (already execrable) reputations start slipping. Tiffany’s will probably continue to be fine, even though those raging against their customers will be under the tragic impression they've made a difference. Come to think of it, maybe the way to capitalize is to start a protest sign company (whomever created the Che shirts certainly made a killing). I always knew I could be a job creator!

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