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'Business to Blame for Occupy Wall St': McKeon

2 November 2011 at 11:05 am
Staff Reporter
Simon McKeon – Australian of the Year and executive chairman in Victoria of Macquarie Group - has critiqued the Occupy movement in an article in today’s Age.

Staff Reporter | 2 November 2011 at 11:05 am


'Business to Blame for Occupy Wall St': McKeon
2 November 2011 at 11:05 am
Above: Occupy Melbourne in its third week AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by MyBarina  

Simon McKeon – Australian of the Year and executive chairman in Victoria of Macquarie Group has critiqued the Occupy movement in an article in today’s Age.

He says business has “only itself to blame for the disdain in which it is now being so publicly held.”

”As I said many, many times this year – and [Harvard Business School Professor] Michael Porter, the world’s foremost business academic, makes the point much more profoundly – business has been on the nose for a long time. Survey after survey after survey asks all sorts of different questions but the results are essentially the same. The community as a whole is not convinced that business operates in the way that it ought.”

He said, ”My message has been a very broad one. It is simply that business itself, particularly larger businesses, are massive institutions with all sorts of resources.”

”There are many, many opportunities that are also fundamentally in the company’s interests, not as starkly obvious as giving away 1 per cent of net profit after tax, but using the resources of the company to be directly connected to community need, whether it’s employee volunteering, whether it is putting some departments to work in the times of the year when they are not operating at peak level, whether it’s actually just a bit of public generosity from time to time from these very well-paid CEOs.”

Today the police moved to evict protesters from Occupy Brisbane. Meanwhile in London, the Corporation of London and the St Paul’s Cathedral has halted moves to evict protesters that are occupying the land around the Cathedral in central London.

When announcing the decision St Paul’s made reference to the group’s social justice aims and said those aims aligned with that of the Church.

A spokesman for St Paul’s said the governing chapter had decided to cease legal action and instead engage with activists within the camp of 200 or so tents, which was set up on the western edge of the cathedral 18 days ago.

“The alarm bells are ringing all over the world. St Paul’s has now heard that call,” said the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres.

According to a report in the Guardian, the statement also announced plans for a new group, headed by Ken Costa, a former top investment banker, with the aim of “reconnecting the financial with the ethical”.

Simon McKeon believes that while the protesters have widespread public support – they are on “borrowed times” when it comes to occupying public space.

McKeon will be answering questions on this issue on Fairfax sites from midday today for an hour.

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