Note — May 31, 2020

The Insecurity Machine

Great piece by Astra Taylor on how “Capitalism generates security for the few and insecurity for the many. Digital technologies are making it worse.” For me, it reads a bit too much like capitalism is a conspiracy acting as one, where it’s more of a series of decisions, copying, and building upon each other’s precedents (although there is conspiring and lobbying). Aside from my nitpicking, lots of good points on the enclosure and securitization of the commons from the early days of capitalism, digital redlining, automating tools bypassing laws and disenfranchising minorities, encoding biases, and then how all of that also translates to the workplace,

“Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones.” The beneficiaries of this arrangement dubbed it “creative destruction” before rebranding it as “disruption.” […]

During the long and varied period called the enclosure movement, beginning in the twelfth century, wealthy landlords uprooted the peasantry in order to privatize once communal fields and forests, denying them their customary rights to the commons. […]

Automated decision-making enshrines socioeconomic disparities in an invisible, technical process, locking certain populations out or including them on predatory terms. […]

The time has come to decouple security and employment, while also rethinking what security means in an age of ecological crisis and technological possibility. […]

[W]e inhabit a paradox: a new digital arsenal is being developed to ensure we remain insecure despite the abundance in our midst.