Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Capitalism's Shadow

I found this interesting little quote appended to the end of a BBC article about the Conficker worm, which so far has failed to generate the kinds of cyber-chaos predicted:

"Verisign, one of the guardians of the networked world, believe these bugs exist because the general level of security is just not high enough."

Apparently, a level of security sufficient to stop these hackers in their tracks would make it harder for consumers to do what we do: buy more stuff. And that would make it harder for businesses to do what they do: sell more stuff. 

It makes a kind of sense. You can't lock everything down. Imagine if every time you wanted to buy groceries you had to be buzzed into the store. And what if they kept all the food in those little boxes that lock? 

Of course, we're not talking about criminals who steal stuff, like food or computers or jewels. We're talking about criminals who have the PiN to everyone's bank account and the key to the safe deposit box. 

Uh oh. It almost sounds like I'm talking about the banks themselves. I don't mean to. But still, at the back of my mind, I can't help seeing criminals behind every legitimate  business transaction. In Jungian terms, the criminals are our shadows, the part of ourselves that we can't tolerate knowing about. Following those shadows leads to the conclusion that there is something innately corrupt about our financial transactions, about capitalism itself. 

Oh, go ahead. Put your fingers in your ears. Or better yet, point your fingers and drown those words out by chanting "communist" over and over, loudly. It won't change a thing. And that's the really big question, isn't it. Do we want a better world or do we want to go shopping?

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