'The Man' Agrees With Occupy Wall Street Protestors

How a banker's support for the 99 percent in Britain has gone viral

RTR382YQ-615.pngAdrees Latif/Reuters

Colleagues of Andrew Haldane, a Bank of England executive director for financial stability, probably don't think of him as the Occupy type. But while speaking at a London event this week that brought together real Occupy protestors with economists, financiers, and others representing the 1%, Haldane praised protestors for making their voices heard, said new models were needed, and policymakers were listening. In short, he said the protestors were "right," adding:

Occupy have touched a moral nerve in pointing to growing inequities in the allocation of wealth and incomes globally. The 99% certainly agrees. But so, more interestingly, do a high and rising share of the 1%.

Haldane's surprising endorsement of the group went viral in the UK press. The Financial Times ran a big spread plus editorial comment, the Guardian ran a poll (vote here), and the Independent quoted Haldane at length :

Some have suggested ... that Occupy's voice has been loud but vague, long on problems, short on solutions. Others have argued that the fault-lines in the global financial system, which chasmed during the crisis, are essentially unaltered, that reform has failed.

I wish to argue that both are wrong - that Occupy's voice has been both loud and persuasive and that policymakers have listened and are acting in ways which will close those fault-lines. In fact, I want to argue that we are in the early stages of a reformation of finance, a reformation which Occupy has helped stir.

Everyone tweeted about it, including the folks at Occupy.

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Stephanie Gruner Buckley is the Europe editor at Quartz.

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