"The contention from an economist, a politician, a pundit or columnist opining about what Occupy Wall Street must do to succeed is no longer a fully meaningful sentence because the authors of those sentences themselves have failed.
That seems to be a central message of the Occupy movement: the purported experts are precisely the ones who got us in this situation that so many perceive as intolerable – a condition of continuously increasing inequality where, today, "the 400 wealthiest Americans have a greater combined net worth than the bottom 150 million Americans." That, I take it, is the guiding Jacobin spirit of this new form of political disobedience, but without the Jacobin leadership. And it is precisely the leaderlessness that accentuates the new syntactic challenges: those who are trying to "steer" Occupy Wall Street in the "right direction" – whether with good or ill will – have already failed miserably and, as a result, there is no authorial grammar to their statements.
Harcourt's thesis perfectly situates the failed American War on Drugs. The explosive rise in mass incarceration in the United States over the past 25 years (imprisonment increase of 335% as a result of the War on Drugs) occurred when the presidential administrations of Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton and Bush Jr. simultaneously worked tirelessly to deregulate the U.S. capital markets. Free market advocacy and deregulation have been occurring at exactly the same time that prison rates and populations have been skyrocketing. Harcourt describes how this is not just an American anomaly, but is a global historical reality.
The question that this historical reality begs is why?