“Why does the West prioritise feeling over being secure? The answer is down to the very essence of capitalism, which is the growth of wealth atop symbols which help to inflate the perception of value, so that bets on the future can fuel the economy of today.”
Can’t cut loose without that juice, Can’t cut loose without that juice, If we keep on like we doing things for sure, Will not be cool – It’s a fact We just ain’t got sufficient fuel.
— Tower of Power, 1975
‘Capital’ has two meanings, both of which have something to say about the value of money in Western civilisation. The first meaning of capital is used in the more general sense, which is, the absolute or ultimate. Hence, ‘capital punishment’ is the ultimate punishment, i.e. death. The second meaning of ‘capital’ is used to signify assets, or the net worth of a given individual or entity. Taking from the latter definition, this paper defines ‘capital security’ as the guarding of assets by an individual or entity with sovereign claim over and free access to the movement of these assets. This paper also defines capital as the ultimate political value of Western culture; as such, the a priori protection of capital moves states to establish risk management regimes concerning investment in not only public institutions, where sovereignty is most easily exercised, but also in the world economy, where anarchy exposes capital to the additional risks associated with a system of multi-governors presiding over multi-sovereign spaces. More to the point, this paper argues that policies associated with upholding perception of capital security paradoxically undermine material capital security, thereby creating a vicious circle of fear and violence, as expected results, those upon which governments hedge their bets for the future, fail to be achieved.
Capital is the root word of ‘capitalism’, a system of economics in which private individuals exchange goods and services largely unfettered by government interference, i.e. laissez-faire. Capitalism depends upon one principle: self-interest. As such, self-interested owners of capital seek security above all else; according to rational-choice economics altruism is at most an anomaly, and at worst an illusion conjured up by the state to exert greater social control. By this logic, social welfare exists not out of compassion; housing, feeding and educating the citizenry, regardless of class status, is an insurance policy taken out by property owners and redistributed through taxes in order to alleviate the extreme desperation (borne of that necessary evil, poverty) of would-be criminals who justify their anti-social behaviour by virtue of having nothing, that is, having no capital, to lose. In simple terms, capital and happiness are inextricably linked in Western (European and American) civilisation so that the former is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition of the latter.
As capital security is an ideal which can never be achieved absolutely, states seek to mitigate insecurity. Reducing insecurity might sacrifice short-term for long-term gains on the principle that the prizes gained will generate dividends or grow in equity in the future. However, this paper argues that states can never achieve material capital security so long as their policies are unethical. In other words, even if the sacrifice of ethics is necessary to purchase the means of happiness so that one day ethics can be practised in an ideal, liberal society, there is a more ‘rational’ argument against the policies of capital security: policies used to strengthen perception of capital security have the paradoxical effect of reducing material security, thereby putting a population which compromises freedom for safety at greater risk of losing in the free market, despite government intervention intended to reduce the extremes of the economic feast and famine of capitalism.
The next section of this paper will posit a more nuanced definition of capital security. In short, capital security is constructed by domestic policies and international policies, both of which address perceived security threats. Following that, this paper will consider specific issue areas of domestic politics, particularly immigration and policing. First, immigration policies that seek to reduce illegal immigration by denying public services, e.g. health care, only leads to greater desperation from asylum-seekers fleeing persecution. Second, policing policies which prioritise high-visibility merely ‘reassure’ a population; the majority of policing resources are spent either on high-profile cases or popular political issues as opposed to cracking down on violent offences. In both cases, the end result is greater material insecurity.
The principle explained above holds true when applied to the international sphere. The specific issue areas of international relations under discussion are fossil fuels, rogue ideologies and the environment. More specifically, in the name of capital security, wars are fought to suspend disbelief that fossil fuels are finite and the market is thus volatile; ideologies are named as corporeal enemies to be defeated; and environmental problems are put on hold until sustainable technologies reach short-term profitability. The result is the irrational result of greater fossil fuel instability, a futile battle against ideas and the possibility of a point of no return for the environment, e.g. runaway green house effect, which is time, as opposed to profit, dependent.
Defining Capital Security
Capital security is the protection of accumulated worth from the possibility of unsolicited changes to ownership, e.g. repossession, or loss of value. The raison d’être of capital security is thus not only the extent to which capital generates more capital, but also the distance of the capital from would-be criminals who might commit theft or vandalism.  There is an inevitable problem, however, as the greater utility placed on an asset in a capitalist market, the greater potential risk from not only market forces, but also would-be thieves and vandals. In other words, the exchange of capital puts organised criminals at risk from cops and armoured car drivers at risk from robbers; the transportation of capital, whether in cash or electronic form, puts capital at risk. For example, never have identities been more publicised via email and social networking sites, yet never have criminal networks had greater access to the identity of an individual. One brings the other. This paper does not examine this process, per se, but rather shows how prioritisation of capital security above all else leads to the paradoxical upholding of perceived security at the expense of material security.
Capital security is a kinetic force, as unrealised capital – assets which are neither sold nor rented – only exists in theory. This means that whilst a tangible asset, e.g. a diamond collection, might physically exist behind the doors of a bank vault, absolute capital security of these diamonds would mean no one, not even the owner, has access. However, when an asset is used as part of an economic transaction, there are crucial moments when the asset is most exposed to anarchical forces. Capital security seeks to mitigate the threat of anarchical forces. There are many examples of this phenomena, two of which have already been mentioned, that is, the bank robber and the armoured car driver. Each make a living out of being in the vicinity of large capital exchanges. In order to mitigate this risk, each takes active measures designed to counter the other. These measures include intelligence gathering, armour, arms, etc.
The same is true of capitalist states, in terms of both domestic and international relations. Capital security manages civic life, but also backs the security of private transactions, as taxes rely primarily on profits earned from private ventures. Moreover, capital security is a kinetic force, as explained in the previous paragraph, and this means that there are specific measures which themselves are seen as incrementally reducing, but not eliminating entirely, risk. These measures take the form of government policy. In the domestic realm, the policies under consideration in this paper are immigration and policing, two separate, but linked issue areas the management of which is core to all Westphalian states.  This paper will go on to discuss immigration and policing, as well as hypothesise the implications of specific policies which are seen as mitigating risk.
Policies of Domestic Capital Security
The two domestic policies of capital security considered in this section are immigration and policing. Each of these issues directly and substantially affect a domestic population and are therefore of central interest to any democratic government. In short, Western governments have no choice but to make immigration and policing a priority in terms of capital security. In all civil services, this security takes on the form of the quality of the delivery of the public service itself in relation to the monetary cost (capital) assigned to the taxpayers. Ideally, the public seeks efficiency of public institutions as crucial to maintaining the delicate balance of what a population allows to be taken from their pay checks before taking to the streets.
Immigration is perceived as problematic throughout the West due in part to the war on terrorism, but also due to the assumption that if free movement of people were allowed universally, states which have generated more relative wealth than other states would suffer a rush of free-riders seeking to profit off of others’ work. In other words, the capital to protect is the labour of citizens and the taxes paid to fund a society with solid material and intellectual foundations. Immigration security perceives the threat to this capital as thieves and vandals from other countries who would leech off the system.
The knee-jerk reaction to the perceived fear of the destruction of Western civilisation by virtue of illegal immigrants free riding-off the system is to deny public services to those who cannot prove their legal status. So, if greater economic desperation is responsible for greater crime, and if those who are denied public services are indeed legitimate asylum seekers, even if not recognised as such, then the public will be made less secure in reality due to the violating of the social welfare ethos, which is to provide a minimum standard to all residents, regardless of class, nationality, or residency status in order to protect private capital from those who would supplement their poor quality of life with criminal profits.
‘While they are letting in too many people who shouldn’t be here, they slam the door on those we should be helping’.  The category of ‘those we should be helping’ falls into two groups: asylum seekers and ‘highly-skilled’ (tier one) migrants. The hope in the U.K., for example, is that Polish or Portuguese Doctors are brought in, whilst Chinese ‘Cockle Pickers’ are never allowed in the country in the first place.  The loss to the economy is evident for those who would rely on foreign workers.
Since 9/11, terrorism is not only a perceived threat; terrorism existed before 9/11, but awareness of terrorism was highlighted with the overwhelming and unexpected ‘success’ of the 9/11 attacks. The threat of terrorism, however, does not compare with the threat of being assaulted on a city street by a fellow citizen. So, why should a citizen be more afraid of the terrorist than of the local street thug? The answer is that terrorism is perceived by the public as something which can destroy everything and with this destruction goes the honest city-dweller and the violent criminal alike. Nevertheless, police are expected to mitigate the threat of both terrorism and street thugs, generally keeping local streets safe enough that the public will not stay home from work for fear of crime. From a purely materialist view, more resources should therefore be devoted to reducing local crime; the resultant social cohesion should theoretically mitigate terrorism, as there would be fewer social sewers in which to conduct clandestine plotting.
In policing, the capital to protect is the city commons. Most police work is conducted behind closed doors, as it were, in the planning and executing of individual operations designed to take a proverbial ‘bite out of crime’. Modern police work involves the cataloguing of citizen details, especially those of suspects and convicts who would seek to gain access to crime. For example, a sex offenders list might be available to the community in which a suspect or ‘time-served’ convict lives; such transparency provides intelligence to the community for the reassurance that the added risk of an ex-convict is mitigated by virtue of community awareness.
The city commons are essential for the movement of human and product capital, as individuals and businesses must take safety for granted in order to be productive. If, for example, the material reality of crime was high enough to sufficiently disturb society, raising the perception of security would at the very least keep business as usual going until crime rates could be reduced to sustainable levels. As it is impossible to stamp out all crime, the policy of feeling secure over being secure leads police to conduct high-visibility patrols, i.e. community officers, as well as crack down on specific types of crimes which will meet general targets ranging from number of cars caught speeding per hour to kilograms of drugs recovered each annual quarter.
Despite violent crime being the greatest actual threat to civilians, the policy of capital security leads to such irrational policies as personal security assessment exercises to determine if the police are safe enough to intervene in a crime. If, for example, a house is subject to a burglary, this does not mean a squad car should be pulled from its visibility policing duties. When a gun might be involved, police will be pulled from lower priority work, as the gun represents a threat to the city commons, as opposed to a private individual, who might only be subject to violent crime if confronting a criminal over the threat to personal property. In short, capital security means the upholding of city over individual security interests. It is not the mandate of the police to maintain security over each individual, but rather maintain security over the commons so that the public feels safe enough to conduct its business. In this way, one might say curfews in Baghdad, which create food and energy scarcity, are demonstrations of failed capital security. 
This paper shows how immigration and policing in the West paradoxically uphold perceived security whilst undermining material security. In terms of the immigration system, perceived capital security takes the form of saving tax dollars by withholding benefits from would be free-riders, i.e. illegal immigrants. However, denying residents civil services will decrease the economic security of local communities who must absorb the costs of immigrants who are Neither in Employment, Education, or Training (N.E.E.T.). It is the under-20 N.E.E.T. population which is most associated with violence against property. 
In terms of the policing system, perceived capital security also takes precedence over actual security, as high-profile and popular policing, such as visibility patrols and crack downs on non-violent, i.e. social, crime, diverts resources from solving specific crimes. This short-term loss acceptance works from the premise that eliminating fear is eliminating one more tool in the arsenal of the would-be violent criminal, but police work focuses more on the pursuit of non-violent than violent criminals, as there are more of the former, their arrest presents less risk to the police and the crimes they commit are only indirectly linked to violent outcomes. In states, such as the Netherlands and Germany, which have decriminalised social crimes, emphasis is on regulation and rehabilitation, as opposed to prohibition and prison.  Such a move leads to comparatively low rates of violent crime by virtue of the added resources which the police have to divert from non-violent to violent crime. In sum, actual capital security in a community decreases when visibility policing is prioritised over actual crime fighting.
Threats to Domestic Capital Security
The threats to domestic capital security considered in this section are non-inclusive, but do represent two core areas of state interest: immigration and policing. Immigration and policing have one greatest enemy against whom a war is fought. This section will show how the war against the primary enemies of immigration and policing – terrorism and organised crime respectively – might bring greater perceived security, but result in less actual security, thereby casting doubt at once on the necessity and efficacy of regulatory state institutions.
The perception of terrorism as the most problematic aspect of immigration explains the increases in security at airports and the continued media spotlight on the issue of immigration in all Western society; regardless of continental variations in policy, control on immigration is perhaps the greatest area of universal Western, i.e. Westphalian, cooperation. Due in part to the threat of terrorism, passport databases and other lists of transactions allow officials across the West to carry out sweep searches when danger is perceived as immanent. For example, a recent passport sweep did not exclude the three U.S. presidential front-runners.  In short, managed immigration is favoured by all Western society, as terrorism relies on the free movement of agents across borders. As Professor Richard Ashley remarked, appropriating the heavyweight boxer Mohammed Ali, to have any success, terrorism must ‘dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee.’ 
Whilst there are countless ways that Western governments seek to stop terrorism, this paper considers immigration policy as the first line of defence against an ideology associated with the Middle East and disseminated to Western culture by virtue of diaspora. In other words, there is the unstated assumption that citizens of a home country are less-likely to have the motives or the means to carry out sophisticated attacks on social infrastructure.  Whether or not the prior statement is true, however, has little to do with the efficacy of government policy and the 20/20 hindsight judgement of whether specific policies on immigration, enacted to combat terrorism, have a net positive effect on capital security. In short, greater restrictions and management of immigration may not prevent terrorist attacks any better than conventional policing, which would seek to detect any group of people planning an organised attack on local infrastructure. Applied to 9/11, pragmatism leads to such intermediate technology as reinforced cockpit doors, or improved scanners of luggage and people. This suggestion is not new, but in hindsight, to prevent another 9/11, one need theorise of the smallest differences which would have had the biggest results. Indeed, stronger-than-average cockpit doors and air marshals that travel on every flight were and still are a feature of Israel’s airline industry before 9/11.  Security measures are in and of themselves apolitical; they are either effective or ineffective.
Police: Organised Crime
Since the Treaties of Westphalia, the biggest enemy of the police is organised crime, as another core area of Westphalian cooperation is the universal outlawing of organised challenges to capital security.  Whilst organised crime and terrorism are linked by politicians and academics alike, the two are mutually exclusive entities. For example, globalsecuritymatrix.org formulates a typology of security threats in which crime and terrorism are seen as both ‘illicit activities perpetrated largely by non-state actors across or beyond the political borders of a single state’.  ‘Illicit’ is the operative word in the above sentence, though its meaning, something which is either illegal or unethical, also applies to the actions of government institutions and corporations. In this way, organised crime is just as much an enemy of terrorism, as illicit activities require the capital security of the commons. First, whilst terrorism seeks to disrupt the social fabric of the citizenry, organised crime supports a stable order for the safety of their agents and clients alike.  Next, whilst terrorism conducts mass killings for the sake of political motives, organised crime conducts ‘capital punishment’ for the sake of upholding the survival of the organisation or punishment for ‘laws’ broken by those engaged in business with the organisation, e.g. cooperating with the police.
Nevertheless, the primary enemy of the police is organised crime, as criminal networks are seen as the employers of petty criminals. But organised crime also represents a challenge to the universal law of state authority. Like terrorism, organised crime disrupts the public’s ‘faith’ in sovereignty.  This explains why the police, which is an institution formed to protect state interests, would seek to attack organised crime over the activities of more individually motivated criminals: eliminating challenges to sovereignty makes the citizenry feel more secure and thus reassures citizens not only that their savings are safe in the bank, but also that they will not be mugged on the way to work in the morning. The reduction of fear is thus a rational pursuit, though when perception of safety trumps actual safety, policing becomes at best irrational and at worst illusory.
Policies of International Capital Security
Globalisation does not necessarily mean relations that span the entire earth’s circumference, but rather relations which occur outside the sovereign borders of a state. ‘Global’ is a synonym of ‘universal’, which indicates that some thing is shared in the public domain among a known and accessible universe of participants. As such, the international policies of capital security are made possible through prior existing international relations which reduce the calculation of risk in the decision to expose national capital to global market forces. Put simply, a long history of deep relations exerts a positive effect on the perception of security of all populations involved.
For the purposes of this paper, the variables ‘depth of relations’ and ‘time without violent conflict’ are considered in relative low/high and short/long respectively. In Figure 1 below, one can see the likely outcomes in each quadrant. Positing this model, rather than demonstrating any specific empirical outcomes, shows that capital security will take on a different form depending on which of the four matrices to which a given region is prone.
Figure 1. Correlation of Depth of Relations and Time since Last Violent Conflict 
First, capital security in a Realpolitik environment will take the form of violent conflict, paradoxically leading to greater regional instability in the region in which a significant capital interest is located. In short, more war is more war and there is no guarantee that the practice of politics by violent means will bring relations between states or societies any closer to peace as a rule. The Israel and Palestine conflict is a case in point here, as tit-for-tat violence takes place on a daily basis. Second, capital security in an intra-regional or civil war environment will mean the deployment of private security, as there is no centralised state authority which can guarantee any one law, or protection of private assets, e.g. oil pipelines, which, despite their ownership by a third party, might fall victim to a local populace in whose interest it is to create chaos for occupying forces. The Iraq War is emblematic of this phenomenon in terms of the rise of Muqtada al-Sadr, an Islamicist whose ‘army’ was the greatest challenge to British and U.S. troops by virtue of a dual campaign of destroying American and British imposed social and political order and providing civil services, e.g. clean water, to the local population.  Third, between neutral states, or when bilateral relations involve at least one neutral party, capital security takes the form of rejecting expeditionary warfare, whilst embracing defensive wars, though this can be problematic in practice, as illustrated by the history of Belgian neutrality.  And finally, interdependence requires capital security to look inward at shared institutions, which buffers short-term economic blight in one region through the redistribution of resources from more prosperous regions, e.g. shared currency.
Threats to International Capital Security
There are three international threats to capital security. They are: finite fossil fuels, ‘rogue’ ideologies and the environment. All of the above issues have one thing in common: they are represented greatest in non-Western society, but these threats are also inextricably linked with the society and economics of the West which seeks capital security, as the act of moving capital attracts the attention of thieves and vandals motivated by such factors as social, political, religious, economic, or cultural change. This section will show how fossil fuels, rogue ideologies and the environment all present challenges to capital security by virtue of the nature of international policies of capital security.
The fossil fuel market is volatile not only because it is a finite market, but also because the majority of the world’s oil is in the ground over which non-Western nations have sovereignty. This means that ex-colonies in Africa, the Middle East and South America contain capital assets, e.g. oil and gas, which is vital to the survival of the greatest consumers of energy, that is, Western societies, of which the U.S. is still the greatest. Perhaps this is a curse, as has been suggested before, as having a valuable resource on one’s property attracts not only legitimate business seeking mutually beneficial contracts, but also thieves who will do everything from stealing the fuel to supporting a coup to change ownership of the land. In the most extreme cases, a country might, in response to foreign exploitation, have a communist revolution whereby the population seizes citizen ownership of the factories which extract the fossil fuels, thereby assuring that the host country receive the true value of its assets. In other words, a communist revolution is simply a stratagem for greater capital security. Regardless of the intentions of the leaders of a political uprising, e.g. pro or anti government coup, the fact is that fossil fuels are responsible for creating instability by virtue of the inherent value of having not only ownership of, but also the capability to extract, fossil fuels.
Capital security in the West means creating stability of access to the fossil fuels owned and controlled by non-Western nations. This is an inherently capricious enterprise, as the production and consumption of natural resources requires large institutions capable of negotiating, monitoring, managing and policing all aspects of trade between Western and non-Western civilization (OPEC is emblematic of this point). As a result, the greatest, most important globalised trade – energy – is the most volatile.  The response to critics who say the two American led wars in Iraq had nothing to do with oil security is the following counterfactual: what if Iraq had no oil? Would the need for war have been the same? In other words, Iraq is a strong case that fossil fuels, and the corresponding necessity of capital security, are sufficient to create conflict which can escalate through a variety of channels and mechanisms to instigate a full-scale American invasion. In short, the capital security of fossil fuels usually involves violent conflict at some stage as organised and ‘legitimate’ entities on many fronts do what groups of human have always done: fight over land and resources.
Rogue ideologies are rogue because they do not correspond with the current mainstream ideology which determines roughly the direction of policy of a Western government, regardless of which party is in office. In short, rogue ideologies are any ideologies which are not based on capitalism. The Cold War was an exercise in two competing ideologies, that is, capitalism and communism. The distinction between capitalism and communism can be made on the basis of capital security. Both of these ideologies embrace the necessity of capital, but disagree as to the methods of regulation, distribution, redistribution and constitution of capital. On the one hand, within capitalism, market forces regulate, firms distribute, taxes redistribute, and society is constituted by class distinctions, e.g. poverty, lower-middle, middle and upper-middle class, upper-class and dynasty, e.g. Bill Gates. On the other hand, in communism, government regulates, government distributes (which makes redistribution redundant) and there are no class distinctions, at least in principle. Both capitalism and communism can be democratic, as these ideologies are economic in nature; hence, their common pursuit of capital security.
Communism is not the only enemy (rogue ideology) of capitalism; terrorism in the twenty-first century has justified great expenditure toward capital security. The 9/11 attacks were aimed at the Twin Towers, the financial capital of the Western world. And so, in the name of capital security, two states were subsequently attacked by the U.S. on the basis of their support of the rogue ideology of terrorism, i.e. support for Al Qaeda. The U.S. clearly took a moral high-ground position in waging the vengeance of the Afghan and pre-emption of the Iraq wars. Whether or not it is true that the Taliban orchestrated 9/11 or that Saddam had links with Al Qaeda – these are moot points – the ideology of terrorism, i.e. the policy of political goals through small-scale tactical strikes on the civilian population, is a threat to the capital security of the West, primarily due to undermining the confidence of people to do everything from taking the London Underground, to buying stock in Coca Cola for fear of a sudden stock market fall.
Whilst communism never exercised its nuclear capabilities against the West by exploding a nuclear warhead over a U.S. city, the ideology of terrorism has succeeded in creating enough fear to justify the expenditure of over $500 billion dollars, and 4,000 military deaths, by the U.S. toward winning the Iraq war. Regardless of whether or not the Iraq war is just; for now it is enough to say that international capital security, that is, the protection of present and future investments exposed to the global market, has brought with it large-scale, asymmetric warfare against the ideologies of communism, e.g. Vietnam and terrorism, e.g. Iraq;  it is no surprise, then, that these two wars are compared on the basis of the perceived insecurity before the war and the actualised insecurity brought upon by protracted warfare without clear and realistic goals set out from the outset.
A Marxist interpretation of the tragedy of the commons in the twenty first century would be the following: the rich sacrifice the resources of the earth and the poor sacrifice the resources of their bodies. Whilst this statement might be a simplification of the relationship of capital security to the environment, the phrase captures the reason why humans have filled the only known natural biosphere with pollution. Whilst the environment poses a more general security risk to the West via projected erratic weather, melted glaciers, flooded cities, polluted air, loss of food stocks, etc., the policy of capital security involving the environment takes on a paradoxical nature. On the one hand, exploitation of the environment is responsible for the wealth of Western society. On the other hand, turning against technology which pollutes the environment creates a prisoner’s dilemma. If the U.S., for example, temporarily cripples its economy by virtue of deep cuts in emissions, which means smaller profits for U.S. companies, then other countries without such environmental controls, such as China, will only exploit the environment further and surpass the wealth of the U.S., and therefore position its culture, the government of which is Communist, to spread as the dominant world hegemony. One might ask what is wrong with this scenario. The problem is that a dominant power is more likely to initiate war when its capital security relative to others is at risk. 
The point here is that the environment is a broad issue, but also ‘environmental security’ boils down to the great profits which are still made by devastating the environment to extract resources and then processing these resources and destroying more environment in the process through the release of carbon into the atmosphere.  It is a simple tragedy of the commons. Capital security still does not mean any great investment in assuring that the environment, which is clearly a greater actual threat to the human species than terrorism, is looked after. Otherwise, the U.S. would have mounted a war against China, which is at once the fastest growing economy in the world and the projected biggest world polluter by 2010.  In other words, if perception were in line with reality, then long-sightedness would have seen it in the best interest of the U.S. to bomb India and China, or at least threaten to do so, if these countries do not slow down their consumption of fossil fuels which has the added cost of raising oil prices in the West.
This section argues that fossil fuels, rogue ideologies and the environment are all global issues in which capital security is conducted. Whilst these are all inter-related, the policy of capital security seems to (1) ignore the inherent insecurity of the fossil fuel market due to the fight over the ownership and means of production, (2) spend enormous amounts of capital on wars against perceived, as opposed to real, threats and (3) invest in alternative fuels only when capital security cannot be maintained through further exploitation of the earth, all of which leads to various environmental pandemics. These tenets are all inter-related insofar as each is pursued in the name of capital security, whilst forming the conditions of long-term capital insecurity. This paradox is apparent in the foreign policies of governments which uphold short-term interests. This is not a universal policy, but rather an ethical decision by a government to guard existing capital whilst at the same time exposing this guarded capital to international markets and then acting to limit the risk through hostile foreign policy. The end result is ends-based policies promising that in the long run short-term sacrifices, e.g. war and pollution, will bring universal prosperity; that is, war will eventually win the war on terror and humans will eventually develop a profitable industry of renewable energy. These assumptions, however, fail to account for John Maynard Keynes’ critique of economic neoliberalism, that is, in the long run, we are all dead.
Why does the West prioritise feeling over being secure? The answer is down to the very essence of capitalism, which is the growth of wealth atop symbols which help to inflate the perception of value, so that bets on the future can fuel the economy of today. This bet was lost in the case of the recent housing crises. There are four issue areas discussed in this paper in terms of the paradoxical loss of security in the pursuit of feeling secure.
First, in terms of immigration: the state deprives illegal (and sometimes legal) immigrants social rights which belong to naturalised citizens. As a result, border controls rely on the system of disallowing free-riders; however, faced with a real possibility of persecution in the home country, strong and weak cases alike will go into hiding and perhaps turn to crime when lack of job opportunities and social rights spurs reliance on criminality. Second, in terms of policing: The state upholds public relations, both in terms of manpower and the prioritisation of policing non-violent over violent crime. Both of these policies are aimed at increasing capital security, but through the process of detecting fewer violent crimes and filling prisons with non-violent offenders, violent offenders are given ‘early-releases’ which would have otherwise been unnecessary. Third, in terms of fossil fuels: though alternative fuel could be developed at a faster rate, costly wars which secure the capital of control over fossil fuels not only creates greater instability in the oil markets and preserves reliance on fossil fuels; if necessity is the mother of all invention, then more war to secure oil is also going to protract the development of technology that would increase dependence on cheap and renewable energy. And finally, in terms of the environment: the environment suffers from the tragedy of the commons, but also the capitalist idea that the land of the earth can be privatised and exploited with little to no government intervention.
The result is the private destruction of earth’s natural resources and animal diversity. Eventually, the Earth will reach a point of no return when the runaway greenhouse effect, i.e. the atmosphere absorbs more energy than is released, assures that the surface temperature of the earth will only rise. The pursuit of capital security means that until technology is profitable in the capital economy, humans will not be able to deploy the technology in time. Thus, in the domestic and international sphere alike, the pursuit of perceived, as opposed to material security creates greater material insecurity, the result of which will be no less than social degeneration, world war, famine and total and complete loss of human habitat. In the end, nuclear bombs and terrorism will be moot points as humans will have failed to accurately assess and adapt to material security threats.
1. Distance from capital consists not only of empirical distance, but also of accessibility.
2. Westphalian states are those which are based on the model of sovereignty, that is, absolute and final authority over a fixed geographical space, and all inhabitants residing on this space.
3. David Davies, ‘It is Time to Start Mending our Broken Society’, Speech, 2 October 2007.
4. BBC News, ‘Tide Kills 18 Cockle Pickers’, 6 February 2004.
5. Adam Brookes, ‘Curfew Bites in Baghdad’, BBC News, 30 March 2008.
6. Studies show that property crime of adults and institutions increases as much as 14% when children are not in school, particularly on teacher in-service days; however, violent crime within the population of children increases when brought together at school. Brian A Jacob and Lars Lefgren, ‘Are Idle Hand the Devil’s Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentration and Juvenile Crime’, The American Economic Review, 5, 1, 2003, 1560-1577.
7. Judith Kilvington, Sophie Day, Helen Ward, ‘Prostitution Policy in Europe: A Time of Change?’, Feminist Review, 67, 2001, 78-93.
8. Newsday, ‘Government probes prying of candidate passport files’, 21 March 2008.
9. Richard K Ashley, Department of Political Science, Arizona State University, International Relations Post-Graduate Seminar, September 2001.
10. There are numerous exceptions to the assumption that home-grown terrorism is less likely than foreign-grown terrorism, including Timothy McVeigh, a decorated U.S. army soldier held responsible, and subjected to capital punishment, over the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing which killed 168 people and damaged 300 buildings.
11. Barbara Plett, ‘Israeli Airline Maximum Security’, BBC.co.uk, 5 October 2001.
12. Steven Slaughter, ‘An International Society – If You Can Keep It…’, Refereed paper presented to the Second Oceanic Conference on International Studies University of Melbourne, 2006, 1-17.
14. Prohibition of alcohol in the United States (1919-1933), though linked to organised crime, was also linked to economic prosperity by contemporaries. Feldman, Herman, Prohibition: Its Industrial and Economic Aspects (Appleton Books, 1927).
15. Carl Schmitt, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty, trans. George D. Schwab (University of Chicago Press; University of Chicago edition, 1922/2004).
16. All values of what constitute short or long time without violent conflict, as well as depths of relations, are arbitrary and anecdotal.
17. Time Since Last Violent Conflict only reflects wars between states.
18. Patrick Cockburn, Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Fall of Iraq (Faber and Faber, 2008).
19. David O Kieft, Belgium’s Return to Neutrality (London: Oxford University Press, 1972).
20. As early as 1956, there was recognition that America was pursuing and would pursue in future an ‘aggressive’ oil policy toward ‘the world’s promising oil fields.’ John A DeNovo, ‘The Movement for an Aggressive American Oil Policy Abroad, 1918-1920′, The American Historical Review, 61, 4, 1956, 854.
21. The Senate Report of Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq concluded that whilst Saddam Hussain had a ‘strategic’ relationship with Al Qaeda, terrorism was not associated with the Baath Party in the same way as with the Taleban, that is, rooted in the state institution or allowed to conduct activities unfettered.
22. Oran R Young, ‘Regime Dynamics: The Rise and Fall of International Regimes’, International Organization, 36, 2, Spring, 1982, 277-297.
23. M Tennberg, ‘Risky Business: Defining the Concept of Environmental Security’, Cooperation and Conflict, 30, 3, 1995, 239-258; Simon Dalby, ‘Ecopolitical Discourse: Environmental Security and Political Geography’, Progress in Human Geography, 16, 4, 1992, 503-22.
24. International Energy Agency, ‘Coal in the Energy Supply of China’.
With scholarly interests in international private security, policing, education and the politics of science, Dr. Chapman is currently using a research grant toward field work in England. This field work seeks to further demonstrate the political similarities of volunteer organisations qualified by high stakes up to and including death, e.g. skydiving, martial arts, mushroom hunting (Fine et al. 1996), etc., and public citizenship. Dr. Chapman can be contacted at: email@example.com.