Saturday 12 March 2011


Once basic human needs (for shelter, food, clothing) have been satisfied with little human effort, the people of RISKWORLD find that they don't really have to do anything. Unfortunately, doing nothing is a sure route to madness. So what do they do?

They spend their time worrying. Worrying about their children, their future, their homes, climate change, car insurance, the pet cat and cancer. The world they see is full of RISK. Worry affects them directly and biologically. Their blood pressure rises, they don't sleep, they get into arguments, they get sick.

Many say that this worry within RISKWORLD people is a madness within each individual. But people worry together... and most interestingly, they start to trade their worries. Because they have found that the thing that the worry does to their biology can be allieviated with things that give them new possibilities.

Money is the thing they reach for first. It gives them all sorts of possibilities, but it also requires them to choose how to realise those possibilities. They worry about making the right choice. They tend to think that the more money they have and spend, the more likely the successful alleviation of their anxiety. Many spend their money on 'palliatives': drinking, dining, dancing, having a good time. Those who provide such palliatives (who are subject to the same forces of anxiety) are happy with this exchange! They know that the effects of a palliative won't last, and the customers will be back for more.

Some will spend their money on technologies: often as a means to provide easier (and to-hand) access to palliatives in the form of home entertainment and education.

For many, money will become an objective. They see how money can make money if they realise its possibilities in a certain way (through investments, property). They understand that money makes money by creating new RISK. Because if new RISK is created, new anxiety is created, and if new anxiety is created, there is increased demand for palliatives and other services which are used to manage anxiety. Those who control the manufacture of RISK chase money in a game that is played with those who are subject to worry in their exposure to risk. Those who control the manufacture of RISK also have a technique for creating new RISK: they take things that were seen as risk-free and create risk around them. They call this 'servitisation'.

Ironically, those that control the game of RISK rarely escape the anxiety that they believe money can help them escape.

Some will spend their money on education. They know that if education really 'works', they can escape their anxiety, and they can help those around them. But it's a big 'if': they know that education depends on them and on their teachers. But they might just succeed. Education sits in an environment of risk manufacture. RISK is manufactured in the form of blocks to employability without education. RISK is manufactured in the form of assessment and accreditation regimes. RISK is manufactured in the form of the removal of other aspects of possibility (particularly money, but also degrees of freedom whilst studying). The effect of some of these RISK-manufacture processes can be to increase and not decrease anxiety. Because of its tight-rope nature, education carries a particularly high price tag.

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