Monday, November 19, 2018

Toxic Philanthropy Part 1: Surveillance – Wrench in the Gears

Toxic Philanthropy Part 1: Surveillance – Wrench in the Gears

Toxic Philanthropy Part 1: Surveillance

We are living through desperate times: populations dislocated by climate catastrophe and dispossessed by state violence. Many are attempting, unsuccessfully, to navigate economic systems grounded in low-wage, disposable labor and insurmountable debt. The cost of living continues to rise, especially in cities where wealth is concentrated in the hands of speculative investors.
Stable housing is hard to find; food insecurity is real. Addiction is rampant with limited treatment options, and affordable healthcare is beyond reach. Meanwhile, education is being privatized as children are plugged into devices and told to cultivate a “growth mindset.” Digital tracking of mental health and social-emotional competencies is being normalized. It’s as if the Davos / Fourth Industrial Revolution crowd knows things are about to get much, much worse, and is rapidly locking systems into place to track and manage citizens before they become ungovernable.

As the buying power of the working class withers, capital must find new ways to circulate. Increasingly it will flow into investment markets created by outcomes-based service contracting. Such a model will fuel growth in P3 public-private partnerships and enrich those consulting firms, like Ridge Lane LP, angling to broker agreements. Seed funding to jumpstart this transition was part of the Federal Budget in February, the Social Impact Partnerships Pay for Success Act.

Against such a backdrop, we must critically examine the toxic network of arrangements that have been made between non-profit health and human service organizations (including public education systems), predatory venture philanthropy, and companies that have developed technologies to turn citizens into “impact” commodities that can be tokenized and traded like toxic bundled mortgages in derivatives markets.
Branding poverty-mining as “what works” government makes it easier for finance and technology interests to convince elected officials that wringing profit from the misery of society’s most vulnerable is something that could actually be made palatable enough to sell to the unsuspecting masses. Whether living in abandoned warehouses or tents in Kensington, in rural Indian villages, or refugee encampments, those needing access to services Continue reading: Toxic Philanthropy Part 1: Surveillance – Wrench in the Gears