The irony of Steve Jobs dying on the same day as the major Occupy Wall Street protest and march in New York City can’t be overstated, even though it has been completely overlooked by both mainstream and alternative media. News stories celebrating Steve Jobs as the creator of a technological revolution trumped even local coverage of thousands of OWS supporters marching in the streets. Of course, Steve Jobs' death and the occupation of Wall Street are unrelated events, yet together they represent the fundamental tension currently at play in American society today: the crisis in our understanding of who we are as individuals and who we are as part of society.
The underlying idea behind the OWS protest is that economic inequality, produced by the belief in the individual as able to function separately from the human collective, is misguided, unethical and unsustainable. The cultural battle being fought at OWS seeks to reprioritize collective needs over individual desires by arguing to end the exploitation of the lower and middle classes by a small elite. It is this exploitation that has produced economic pain in the form of lack of jobs and loss of economic resources for all but the top 1%. It is this “failure” of capitalism to produce happiness and security for the majority, as well as its ability to camouflage the relationship between the 99% and the 1%, that calls attention to irreparable problems with the system, itself.