Technically the insurers paid it, but, if we wanted to resolve this in a very simple straightforward technocratic way would be to mandate that individual police officers themselves have to be policy holders in the same way doctors have to buy malpractice insurance
This sounds like a very small silly thing, but some cops would become instantly uninsurable, and if they’re deemed to have been ‘liable’—a judgment insurance companies are more likely to make than juries—they’d force them to pay out themselves
it might seem like small pittance after a pig just murdered someone but seeing them go bankrupt for a $10 million settlement would at least be something
I mean insurance is under analyzed as a form of primitive accumulation, commodification, quantification & forms of countervailing falling profits, but it’s also interesting as a kind of moral thing
What we insure and consider insurable depends heavily on moral questions—Viviana Zelizer has a great book on it called ‘Pricing the Priceless Child’ and other works on insurance as intersections of markets & morals
But we mandate auto insurance, builders insurance, health insurance, corporate insurance, (in certain areas) flood insurance, etc—doctors have to pay STEEP malpractice insurance, and it serves as a massive gatekeeper to small practices, public clinics & provision in poorer areas
In nearly every other area where a principal actor—even if they’re acting as an agent of another body—potentially poses a risk to themselves, but more importantly, to *other people*, they are required to take out insurance.
There’s a logic here—it means that if there’s a situation where someone gets fucked over, the person who fucked them over’s lack of resources isn’t an obstacle to compensating the victim—but there’s actually another reason too
Insurance has become the preferred mode where direct regulation used to be the main form—why?—because direct regulation is costly, decontexrualized, hard to enforce, & often reduces harms less than it increases costs—plus ofc private insurance earns corporations profits lol—BUT
Insurance works better than regulation because the people enforcing it profit off of it—unlike a state regulator, who does not—& therefore the insurer is of a mind to accurately assess risks, AND the riskier an activity & actor, the more they have to pay.
One technocratic proposal modeled off experiments done I think either in Spain or Australia—I forget which lol—is just to replace the entire current criminal justice system with a system of torts, and then mandate everyone take out community ‘crime insurance’
The point is, you cause a harm, you must compensate—& those harmed are never stiffed for their owed recompense—but the other point is that one’s rates would go up if one reoffends, therefore literally insuring (pun intended) that crime doesn’t pay
It could end up being an incredibly intrusive thing, and if it didn’t fully replace the carceral state, rather than just supplement it, it would be a horrendously oppressive thing, but AS a full scale replacement to the carceral system, as far as technocratic liberal capitalist
reforms go, its actually not a bad idea. Basically replace all carceral law, & regulation with mandatory insurance for everything, & a tort system—unifying civil & criminal procedure, cheapening the costs of regulation & creating direct incentives & systems of restitution
If tomorrow a Genie came to me and said I could make a wish to reform the current system, BUT i can’t make a revolutionary change, & have to still operate within liberal capitalism (the Genie is a stickler & Clinton Democrat, being a wealthy immigrant, after all)
then I’d replace the entire current regulatory, civil, & related systems with a system of mass mandatory insurance, taxes, adjudication mechanisms, & tort. And I’d replace the carceral system, tout court, with insurance, restorative justice & flogging. (This is a half joke)
It stems from a great book, ‘In Defense of Flogging’, which I used as a basis for the second of half of a thread I did on carceralism
Basically the point is that if one believes punishment, deterrence, retribution, criminal sanction & justice are important, wants to be humane, but isn’t a prison abolitionist, the most Just & effective system would be one of Flogging + recompense
It would serve all the purposes of justice, be quick, direct, efficient, effective & cheap. It would be better than the literal torture of prison. It doesn’t waste years of life or create further crime, & falsely punished people can be restituted.
The implicit argument is that if all the arguments people make in defense of prisons are correct, but they’re also serious about their justice & efficiency concerns, Flogging beats prisons on all counts. Yet Flogging disgusts us morally
The point being that if something that disgusts us morally is a *better* alternative to the prison system, then the prison system should disgust us morally proportionately more.
Interestingly the insurance & taxation argument is from ‘Markets in Virtue, Markets in Vice’, by Braithewaite, who also wrote ‘Crime, Shame & Reintegration’—a foundational text in restorative justice. I also believe I read it in an RJ Handbook & in some Neoclassical Econ’s work
But I also unironically believe that if there were an option—in the absence of a revolutionary & abolitionist possibility— to replace the current carceral system with a mix of insurance, restorative justice, rehabilitation & Flogging, here & globally, i would take it lol
The reason is twofold:
1. Liberal state capitalism couldn’t really tolerate full abolition, so therefore it doesn’t work as a reformist demand, it would just be undercut BUT ALSO
2. Unlike total abolition, the *public* would be more okay with it
i.e. it would satisfy the people who have safety concerns & who say ‘what do we do with the criminals?’??’—Probably a third of the population—& it would satisfy the 3rd of the pop that are bloodthirsty retributivists
It would also satisfy a portion of the final third that are more progressive, as it is a Pareto Improving scenario, but only if they’re not moralistic about it, & don’t let the perfect be the enemy of improvement.
In order to work, the insurance system would have to be mandatory & public—but capitalists would still be satisfied bc they’d prefer insurance, taxes & tort to direct regulation, because it means the bad & inefficient actors bear the cost instead of all of them doing so.
Anyway, my broader point is this—to the extent that you are a reformist & technocrat, you need to find proposals that would appease the populace, not directly conflict with the immanent logic of the system, improve welfare & satisfy elite vested interests.
So, if you want to be really smart, you need to figure out policy proposals that do all the above WHILE laying the groundwork for further dismantling on the system, & covertly eviscerating the carceral & regulatory state while seemingly doing the opposite is such a proposal.
At the end of the day though, this is why I prefer to think in terms of *demands* not policies, *critiques* not programs, *processes* not products, *dynamics* not statics, and *revolution* not reform.
The problems with:
1. Liberal, &/or progressive &/or social democratic &/or democratic socialist reforms &
2. The types of reforms ML, social anarchists & socialist sometimes dream up, when occasionally they try to think of possible reforms
Is that they’re self contradictory lol
Think about all of MB’s proposals, like have algorithms hire & fire workers—a proposal he intends to balance the game for workers, but in order for that to work, workers would have to have the bargaining power sufficient to propose it, impose it & guarantee its balanced nature
Yet, if workers are already in the position powerful enough to do all of those things, then there’s no need for such a fair algorithm in the first place, as a reform.
A lot of sex work abolitionist proposals also take on this character—their proponents swear they aren’t arguing for criminalization or reinforcing the carceral system, prison-nonprofit-financial-industrial complex, but when you ask how in the current context, they have no answer
As in, when you say—sure in a revolutionary situation where wage labor, the need of money/job to survive, & patriarchy are abolished, surely it would dissipitate but in the current system, what options are there other than criminalization & the nonprofit-financial-prison nexus
And they usually don’t have an answer, revealing that subtly, they probably more or less want criminalization by other means & may not even realize consciously for themselves.
But that’s the thing—EITHER propose revolutionary demands & sidestep policy altogether, OR propose reforms that could actually improve welfare & could actually be implemented bc they aren’t contradictory OR propose the latter meant to assist the former.
But the thing is that many liberals, social democrats, socialists, progressives, MLs, Anarchists, etc are, for various reasons, *opposed to exactly those reforms which could actually be implemented, improve welfare AND lay the grounds for further revolutionary demands*
A lot of this is moralistic in nature—despite the fact that every left wing critique of rent funded, proportional, counrercyclical UGBI applies equally or MORE to their preferred SocDem reforms, they oppose it, bc it involves money directly & thus *feels* more capitalist than M4A
But the thing is that M4A still operates through the market relations that UGBI does, but merely obfuscates them behind the regulatory state, offers fewer degrees of freedom, & adds inefficiency & encumbrance to the provision of needs.
Leftists oppose dynamic carbon taxes & ending free parking on the grounds that they’re regressive—Which is false—& capitalistic—but then propose direct command & control regulations which are equally capitalistic, just obfuscated, but less effective & efficient
This leads me to suspect their opposition stems from aesthetics—the involvement of money & technocracy, personalism—they dislike who proposed/originated them, & moralism—these *feel* less moral bc they involve money & the market.
My pt isn’t advocacy of any of these reforms, it’s that *IF* 1 proposes reforms & think reforms work, *THEN* 1 needs to symmetrically & consistently analyze all the different reforms, & need to take note of the power, public, elite, implementation, & non reformist reform issues
And this is something in which, in my experience, leftists, progressives, socialists, MLs, SocDems etc—with two exceptions, those in academia & those with a background in urban justice policy—are severely deficient.
Anarchists, certain kinds of LeftComs, certain Marxians, & post Leftists of any kind all get a pass on this, because they’re distinctly anti reformist, anti policy, & pro demand, which means they sidestep the issue altogether.
Social anarchists, however, don’t get a pass on this one, bc most of them still do think in social democratic reformist terms, & neither do the people who call themselves LeftComs but then say M4A isn’t capitalistic.
One of the humorous & ironic things about reality is that if the Libertarian Party genuinely got all its kooky demands fully genuinely implemented, revolution would be so much easier—there’d be open borders,prison & military would be gutted, but there’s actually another thing too
because what it would also do is end all subsidies, supports, protectionism, industry written regulations, regulatory capture, lobbying, tax breaks, credits, eminent domain, & police force for agriculture, fossil fuels, airlines, big shipping, and road building
and the net result of this would be:
1. Food production would shift back to where it’s efficient
2. Fossil fuels would become costly & unprofitable & scaled out &
3. The rich would have to bear the cost of their absurd upwardly redistributive heavy infrastructure projects
But this would also mean that, unlike the current system, in the case of a global revolution, there wouldn’t be the mass supply chain disruptions resulting famines or lack of medicine, that many people worry about.
This is part of the logic of Marx’s essay on free trade—the immanent logic of capital means that protectionism & regulation wither just completely fail, or end up skewing everything for the capitalists
The point being that Marx accepted that the bourgeois political economists correctly analyzed the immanent logic of capitalism, and therefore one can’t really resist that immanent logic from within, one has to overthrow it.
This is one of the main reasons I am attracted to anarchism—instead of having to think of technocratic policy proposals, non reformist reforms & co opting the system, it says fuck, tear it all down, and sidestep the bullshit entirely.
And, furthermore, this is partly why I think insurrectionary tactics & thought are superior to mass revolutionary ones—bc mass movements are very easily Co opted, have to coordinate contradictory interests, & try to build contradictory dual power systems.
Anarchists don’t have to think about stupid things like incentive compatibility, implementation, public choice, market design, policy coordination, regulatory bureaucracy, and non reformist reforms.
Anarchists don’t rest with the delusion that we can somehow have a reformed humane carceral system, or that we can somehow tame fossil fuels with regulations, and/or nationalization.
And anarchists don’t make policy proposals—except for social anarchists like SocDems, most of the thoughtful anarchists can see the double game I am playing with threads like these.
I do threads like these for two reasons & audiences:
1. By speaking the language of policy, technocracy, reform, & academic economics & poli Sci, Its easier to translate to & convert liberals, moderates, non radical academic-y types etc, & hard for conservatives to argue back
But also
2. To leftists who still have hopes of reform, it is my aim to demonstrate the absurdity of it—my goal is to coax people into thinking about their theoretical framework symmetrically, coherently & consistently & realize the contradictions
It’s basically a reductio ad absurdum—if the only alternative reform within the current system to the carceral system is a mix of insurance & Flogging, its a pretty good way of demonstrating that the carceral system needs to be abolished entirely.
If the logical endpoint of technocratic non reformist reforms implemented by a mass movement, that can make it through the system, satisfy the public, improve welfare, & lay further groundwork, is a wonky mix of taxes & deregulation, perhaps people will start to rethink them
The insurrectionary can laugh at the absurdity of an anarchist discussing technocratic policy proposals bc they ostensibly get I am winking at the audience, because basically those are the two options
1. Either you can don a black suit & tie, professional class socialism focused on reforms, technocracy, neutered mass movements & non reformist reforms
2. Or you can mask up in all black, say fuck You to the lawyers, laugh at liberals, and tear shit up
Basically, in sum, I think there are really only two consistent left wing positions:

Asinine argument or anonymous Arson

Black tie or black bloc

Corporate capture or collab’d chaos

Door knocking or door smashing

Insurance or insurrection
Although I love ending on an alliterative & aspirational note, I do feel the need to emphasize I mean left wing in purely associational & genealogical terms, not as a sappy sentimental thought terminating cliché
Part of the post left critique of leftism is precisely that it talks in the idiom of insurrection & iconoclasm but implements insurance policy & idol worship
You can follow @yungneocon.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled:

By continuing to use the site, you are consenting to the use of cookies as explained in our Cookie Policy to improve your experience.