Why is it so easy to complete the goals of the corporation when on using Facebook? How do Governments and corporations incorporate their economic targets into our choices and indulgences? How does governmentally exercise control through freedom and choice? How Government control is engineered through freedom of choice in a neo liberal democratic society.
Faucoult became particularly interested with the shift in the late 17th century when the state made it their concern to protect and look after the citizen. Wars, for example, create an unspoken agreement between citizen and state. This contract reads something like ' you offer your life for the state(or sovereign) we will take care of you". Facoult animates this agreement with the phrase 'go get slaughter and we promise you a long and pleasant life' - a life insurance agreed upon a death command. It is around this time the state formed the police - a body to protect citizens, this move highlights the states concern with citizens wellbeing becoming their business. The state has two contradictory parallel concerns in regard to the citizen , after the subject is defined the state must look after the individual. These two tasks discord each other because as soon as the individual is defined they seek to develop their identity and individuality autonomously from the state and through their own subjective choices. The state then has to find ways to look after the citizen through non direct means , to ensure the subject makes correct choices that allow the state to guide them whilst the subject produces his or her own individuality autonomously from the state. The basic logic of neo-liberalism is that every subject has the right to buy, sell, trade and the freedom to express and define themselves through their choices. Whilst the state creates these freedoms it must also ensure that the subjects choices maintain and regulate a healthy, happy and productive individual. This is where the Homo-economicus subject is defined, a liberated self - serving individual not dependable on the welfare state but able to regulate the states agenda through their understanding of themselves as a unit of capital production. The homo economics is an entrepreneur, and entrepreneur of themselves - whilst the basic characteristics of an individual are defined at birth (eye color, hair colour etc) its up to the self to invest in themselves to compete in the free-market to produce capital. The heart of Foucoults governmentally is the idea that everyone from the manager to the cleaner has an understanding of themselves as an economic unit and their ability to produce their own freedom through self investment. It is through this understanding of the self (as an economic unit) that the state is exerises control of the individual. The subjects choice's now reflect their best interests in relation to their value as an economic unit, this logic allows governmentally through the subjects freedom of choice and expression. When the subject believes that their freedom is produced through their own efficiency and self investment, the state can govern from a distance, guiding the subjects choices in the context of their own understanding of themselves as an economic unit that produces their own freedom.
But how do we gain knowledge on self management? how does an individual get better at making the right choices?
Reality TV shows are platforms for the neo liberal subject to cross examine and improve themselves(sometimes for a cash prize). Values of the self managing subject are central to the show. Non scripted ficto- reality tv shows create a normalised judgement as characters are measured by their choices, we goven ourselves not by taking orders of following demands, but by taking up challenges and choices. It is within this understanding of the self that the production of freedom and the modulation of control are unified in the happiness of the subject. This is the genius of control socieites, it is the same mechanism that encourages us to willingly mine our own data on behalf of multinational companies whilst simultaneously expressing ourselves and producing our freedoms.
How control can be modulated through a subjects choices We are now surrounded by an architecture of choice, the freedom of the western world produces an excessive amount of choice and whilst you understand yourself as an economic unit - every choice you make will be the right one. Control through choice and freedom can be modulated in varying way - one of them is 'libertarian paternalism'. It is liberating in that it champions the right of the individual to choose and is simultanesouly paternalistic in that it lets you be the judge of your decision. When your assessing the success of a selection based upon your understanding of yourself as a capital producing efficient subject then the responsability is all yours, because you 'choose life'. 'Nudge' understands that we are surrounded by an architecture of choice and therefore can engineer control to suit the hierarchy of power. for example Default mode - with the excess of choice many people will often just say 'yeah whatever' or go for whatever is easiest, this can be engineered to work in favour in the example of opt in, if you make a beneficiary reward for people who have to opt in , 9 times out of 10- a lot of people wont (think dutch benefits).
The U.K Government has invested in engineering nudge mechanisms through their 'behavioural insight team' whose aim is to 'find intelligent ways to encourage people to make better choices for themselves'. Key to neo liberalisms ethical rebooting is the book 'nudge:improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness' by Richard Thaler who has since worked on Tony Blair and Obamas 'nudge' team. nudge in its most basic analogy is the ability for government to control through the citizens subjective independent choices. The logic suits the current UK governments views on 'Big Society' where the individual can self manage without being dependable on the welfare state - expressed moor poignantly by Steve Hilton, the Conservative party's director of strategy - " The aim is nothing less than to wean this country off its apparently unbreakable dependency upon the state centralism, welfare and rule from whitehall, these are the corrosive habits of half a century.' The narrative between the role of the citizen and the malleability of the masses is currently being re-written, in this new ideal, the efficient citizen supports themselves and regulates their society effectively by judging each other by economic efficiency and their happiness.
Reasearch writing methodologies
SMart Cities -
listening to bbc radio 4 'digital human series' where they explore mad dar in Abu Dhabi, the leading city built as an entirely 'smart city'. Smart cities are built on technologies that are responsive and reactive to human behaviour, enhancing efficiency and saving energy costs. one of the designers says that 'a smart city is a smart person' The term 'smart' in this context has a direct link with education, an institutional space that faculty would define as a place to train the disciplined individual. Smart cities can sense behaviour at a fine level whilst affecting human behaviour. For example some of the flats have a lighthouse L.e.d. tower displaying each flats light consumption, this broadcasting encourages a social governance and motivates the self to become a more efficient individual. What struck me about smart cities is their focus on 'sustainability and growth' , how cities are now being designed to maxamise human efficiency , climate change being the reasoning for new levels of social technical control. When really this collective efficiency supports the capitalist growth , companies can save money if they encourage human beings to turn the lights off. Cities are built around flow. All the data that enable smart cities bring order to chaos. The general view that "The more you measure the more knowledge you have" this is not true. Its a step up from the society of control and governmentally can exercise more efficiently.
Governmentality - healthy , happy and productive. production has always been a condition of the state taking care of you. in return for welfare will be a productive citizen and contribute to the economy.
"Discourse produces your object"