Explaining Southern California's economy

Is the Occupy movement this generation's 'Radical Chic?'

Eric Richardson

Demonstrators gather in Downtown Los Angeles for the "Occupy L.A." protest

The Occupy movement has spread its influence so far now that it's inappropriate to limit it to just Occupy Wall Street. Some common cause is also emerging. Occupy Wall Street, which started out on the lawn in front of City Hall, has declared its intent to march on Los Angeles' financial sector this weekend. This is not Burning Man. This is a movement with a mission.

I know, I know — You didn't even know LA had a financial sector, right? It does, but more importantly, the Occupy movement is now focusing on a coherent foe. "We are the 99%" has decided that they're protesting the 1% — and by that they mean the financial elite. Those who control most of the nation's wealth and through their leverage with high finance, have plunged the U.S. and the world (Hello? Greek debt default?) into chaos and misery.

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Public intellectuals adopt 'Occupy Wall Street' and 'Occupy LA'

In this three photo combo, Professor of

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Paul Krugman supports Occupy Wall Street, but he has some ideas about its agenda.

The floodgates have officially opened. New York Times columnist and Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman has thrown his weight behind Occupy Wall Street (and I'm assuming Occupy LA and Occupy Everywhere Else), endorsing the inchoate anger of the 99%.

Krugman doesn't mince words. The enemy is in his sights, he takes aim, and fires: "What can we say about the protests? First things first: The protesters’ indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right."

Krugman is just the latest intellectual personality to lend support to the protesters. Last week, Krugman's fellow Nobel laureate in economics, Joseph Stiglitz, visited Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan. Former Labor secretary Robert Reich also spoke up for the movement at a conference in Washington this week. 

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Does a new econ guy in the White House mean a new hope for jobless California?

We can always hope so. Princeton economist Alan Kreuger was just nominated by President Obama to head the Council of Economic Advisers, the three-person team that provides know-how on the economy to the chief executive. 

This move has been taken as a sign that Obama intends to get serious about unemployment. As the LA Times' Opinion L.A. blog points out, Kreuger is known for his work on labor issues:

Perhaps the research most relevant to his new post…is the recent work he did with Andreas Mueller of Stockholm University examining the efforts by unemployed people to find new jobs. Among their findings: People spend less time looking for work each day the longer they are unemployed, but they don't lower their wage demands significantly over time. This is especially true for younger workers, for whom the long-term cost of a big cut in pay is more severe than for an older worker closer to retirement, the study found.

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