astra on security
Now up, a long-brewing essay about why we need to put insecurity at the center of our economic/technological analyses.
Security is an ancient concept. Insecurity, in contrast, is a uniquely modern concept that emerged w the rise of industrial capitalism.
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/astradisastra/status/1263572240953729025
the insecurity machine
Engineered in order to facilitate exploitation and undermine solidarity, the production of insecurity is a daily phenomenon, its operations so commonplace as to appear banal. t
for market opportunities to become market imperatives—mass insecurity must be imposed and maintained..t
one of capitalism’s central dynamics: the fact that security for some is predicated on the insecurity of others.. t
In 1843, a young Marx described security—what he called “the concept of police”—as the “supreme concept” of bourgeois society. Fearful of those they have dispossessed, ruling elites have long utilized state violence to safeguard private assets, criminalizing both poverty and protest in the process.
Today, market logic so suffuses the concept of security that the term literally means property, like the security deposit you make before signing a lease or the “securities” owned by the affluent.. With a few strokes of a keyboard, modern bankers caused dispossession on a scale that put the landowners of the original enclosure movement to shame..t
people had to be made insecure, literally severed from their land and livelihoods, for capitalist working conditions to be foisted upon them..t
Before the wage-earner could emerge as our society’s paradigmatic subject, the persona that we must all embody to survive, the condition of what historian Michael Denning calls “wagelessness” had to be imposed via the process of enclosure, after which peasants could no longer provide for themselves. “Capitalism begins not with the offer of work, but with the imperative to earn a living,” Denning writes. Contrary to the myth of liberal laissez-faire, employment relations are anything but natural, spontaneous, or freely chosen..t
earn a living ness
The powerful have never wanted the masses to be secure, and the current crop of Silicon Valley overlords are hardly innovative in this respect.. Today, tech billionaires are busy devising new sophisticated tools to spread insecurity so that they might become tomorrow’s trillionaires.
It’s not a coincidence that homelessness tends to spike wherever the tech industry flourishes. The Bay Area’s tent cities are symbolic of a digital economy that thrives on new forms of enclosure and dispossession.
Looking at capitalism through the lens of insecurity, as opposed to focusing solely on inequality, reminds us that people need more than higher pay; we need peace of mind and an ability to plan ahead. Strong regulations and robust public services are essential in this regard.
rather.. gershenfeld something else law.. sans regs
The time has come to decouple security and employment, while also rethinking what security means in an age of ecological crisis and technological possibility.
In contrast to the New Deal’s individualistic and firm-centered conception of security, we need to devise a truly socialized security system, one predicated on universality and sustainability and geared toward redistributing not just wealth but risk..t
Human beings will, of course, never be totally secure. The Stoic philosophers who first pondered the concept understood security as a psychological state, a kind of mental serenity that vulnerable, mortal, meaning-seeking creatures rarely feel. Two thousand years later, we live in a world where, though security on an existential level continues to elude us, economic security, or the fulfillment of everyone’s basic needs, is feasible.
as long as we focus first on deeper needs than what we keep calling basic needs
ie: maté basic needs
otherwise we’ll keep not knowing what enough is
And yet we inhabit a paradox: a new digital arsenal is being developed to ensure we remain insecure despite the abundance in our midst. Denied the basic resources we need to live, we are forced to seek security through market means—investing in our brands, paying our insurance premiums, and praying that our retirement funds appreciate—while lining the pockets of those most responsible for making us insecure in the first place. Building a more secure world for everyone will be a challenge. But it’s a risk we can’t afford not to take
n ‘s democracy not.. but miss
security, understood as equal access to the means to meet one’s needs, would be a basis for social freedom, not something we have to sacrifice liberties in order to achieve..
safety addiction et al
perhaps the best security… is giving 100% of us something else to do.