"Did a corporation end slavery, or did the government end slavery?!?!"
That's the sort of question investment guru and radio show host Peter Schiff fielded as he debated Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters last week in New York's Zuccotti Park.
Schiff is no ordinary observer. As the prinicipal of the financial firm Euro Pacific Capital, he's a full-fledged and unapologetic member of "the 1 Percent." As an outspoken radio show host (listen online here) and commentator, he not only predicted the housing crash and financial crisis, he railed bank and auto-sector bailouts as they were happening. Schiff believes that capitalism offers is the only hope for young, frustrated people to have a vibrant and prosperous future (get information on his latest book, How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes, here). So he went to Occupy Wall Street to engage and debate the protesters.
Touring the Occupy Wall Street scene in New York with a sign that read "I Am the 1%, Let's Talk," Schiff spent more than three hours on the scene, explaining the difference between cronyism and capitalism, bailouts and balance sheets, and more.
"The regulation we want is the market," said Schiff. "That's what works."
Schiff describes himself as "sympathetic" to the plight of the OWS protesters, but thinks their anger is misdirected at legitimate business interests and should be better at the White House, Congress, the Federal Reserve, and the crony capitalists they've bailed out.
If you dig this exchange, make sure to watch the full 20-minute-long video in which Schiff spars with an eclectic mix of protesters and gets at least some of them to reassess where the blame for financial crisis really lies. Click below to watch:
Produced by Anthony L. Fisher. Camera by Nathan Chaffetz.
For Reason's coverage of the Occupy movement in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and elsewhere, go here.
Here's a playlist of Reason.tv's always expanding video coverage of the Occupy movement.