They are directing their anger at the people at the top of the monetary food chain: senior executives and the super-rich.
That is a worthy ideal. Individual greed certainly doesn't help matters, and when the majority of people are struggling, it's galling to see others sitting pretty and visibly not caring.
The way I see it, though, these efforts are unlikely to achieve anything lasting unless they understand and act on one significant fact:
These people are no longer in control.
In fact, they probably never were.
What? These are the decision-makers aren't they? Surely all they have to do is choose to act differently and all will be well?
Firstly: fat chance of them acting differently. Human nature is deeply ingrained. And even if you get rid of them, every revolution in history has simply swapped one corrupt and self-serving oligarchy for another. To put it simply: shit floats.
Secondly: I don't believe these people are truly in charge, or in a position to effect real change. As individuals, they are as powerless as the rest of us.
Human society has grown into a complex ecosystem of super organisms - governments, corporations, NGOs, religions, protest groups. I use the word "organism" deliberately, because I think this is the most useful way of looking at modern institutions - as a new form of life.
I think the analogy is apt. Living cells metabolise. They take in a food sources and nutrients, and process them chemically to release electrons in a way in which they can be put to work. Along the way, they produce waste which has to be disposed of.
I don't think modern organisations are any different. Their "metabolisms" are mainly directed at producing money which can be put to work to ensure the organisation survives. They take in raw materials, knowledge, labour, and free up cash by processing these into goods and services.
The latter are, in effect, nothing more than waste products of this metabolism. The fact that these products are mostly useful, even essential, to our well-being has become only a secondary concern.
This used to be the main purpose of agriculture and industry - produce things that people need in order to survive and live well. But I think the whole setup has been flipped on its head. The wheels of commerce have taken on a life of their own, and our role as consumers has become little more than waste removal.
Does that paint a pretty picture?
Now, here's the rub. The fate and wellbeing of individuals is not the primary concern of any of these institutions. No more than your body cares about the survival of any one cell.
In other words...
People are no longer the beneficiaries of society.
Let's be clear now. I'm not saying that many individuals within these organisations don't care for the welfare of others. I'm saying that the collective, the organisation as a whole, has taken on a life of its own that does not have our interests at heart. This is an example of an emergent phenomenon, where seemingly simple rules acting en-masse can have surprising and unpredictable outcomes at larger scales.
I believe that the only way to achieve real change is to focus efforts not at the obvious individual targets, but on understanding this new ecosystem.
I think the efforts to change the behaviour of individuals is misguided. We need to change the behaviour of these new animals that we have built around us, that we are part of.
We need to understand how big institutions behave. What motivates them to behave the way they do? And, ultimately, how can we alter this intangible ecosystem to bring about behaviours that benefit ordinary individuals once more?
We need to find ways to reward organisations and governments not by how much revenue they can create for themselves or shareholders, but by how much they enhance the wellbeing of ordinary people.
In short, we need to give our global institutions a new diet, a new metabolism.