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Sun Aug 18, 2013, 02:23 PM

Snowden leaks: the real take-home

Snowden leaks: the real take-home



The big government/civil service agencies are old. They're products of the 20th century, and they are used to running their human resources and internal security processes as if they're still living in the days of the "job for life" culture; potential spooks-to-be were tapped early (often while at school or university), vetted, then given a safe sinecure along with regular monitoring to ensure they stayed on the straight-and-narrow all the way to the gold watch and pension. Because that's how we all used to work, at least if we were civil servants or white collar paper pushers back in the 1950s.

But things don't work that way any more. A huge and unmentionable side-effect of the neoliberal backlash of the 1970s was the deregulation of labour markets and the deliberate destruction of the job for life culture, partly as a lever for dislodging unionism and the taproots of left-wing power in the west (yes, it was explicit class war by the rich against the workers), and partly because a liquid labour market made entrepreneurial innovation and corporate restructuring easier (I love these capitalist euphemisms: I swear they'd find a use for "final solution" as well, if only some naughty, bad people hadn't rendered that clause taboo two-thirds of a century ago).

Today, around 70% of the US intelligence budget is spent on outside contractors. And it's a big budget well over $50Bn a year. Some chunks go on heavy metal (the National Reconnaissance Office is probably the biggest high-spending agency you've never heard of: they build spy satellites the size of double-decker buses and have so many Hubble-class space telescopes cluttering up their attic that they donated a couple to NASA in 2012), but a lot goes on people. People to oil the machines. People who work for large contracting organizations. Organizations who increasingly rely on contractors rather than permanent labour, because of buzz-words like "flexibility" and "labour market liquidity".

Here's the problem: they're now running into outside contractors who grew up in Generation X or Generation Y

(more at link)


kinda interesting take on generational differences

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Reply Snowden leaks: the real take-home (Original post)
abelenkpe Aug 2013 OP
leveymg Aug 2013 #1

Response to abelenkpe (Original post)

Sun Aug 18, 2013, 02:37 PM

1. Excellent points! There is no loyalty anymore, in either direction. Machavelli warned a mercenary

in war will simply switch sides depending who pays him more, or might spare his life, so The Prince is advised never to rely upon them in battle.

The same appears to increasingly hold true for NSA contractors and US Army Privates. The old social relationships and loyalties within American institutions are no longer reliable, and that really randomizes predictable outcomes, making the system chaotic and prone to an unexpected crash.

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